Ted Cruz on winning over voters

GOP candidate shares strategy for overcoming a high unfavorability rating on 'The O'Reilly Factor'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 18, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: "Personal Story" segment tonight. New York State primary tomorrow. Polling has Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton out front with a new NBC News Wall Street Journal poll says most of the candidates are not popular with many voters. Trump 24 percent positive. Sixty five percent negatives. Cruz 26 percent positive. Forty nine negatives. Kasich 31 percent positive, 19 negatives which indicates the Governor is still not widely known. Hillary Clinton 32 positive, 56 negative. Bernie Sanders 45 positive, 36 negative.

With us now here now in New York City is, Senator Ted Cruz. What do you think accounts for all the negativity?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, look, it's the nature of political season when everyone is attacking everyone, it drives everyone's negatives up. But I think we are going to see in November a clear contrast. I think Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic nominee. Her agenda doesn't work.

O'REILLY: Well, if you are the nominee there will be a clear contrast. But here it seems Americans are more negative than usual. We compared against Romney and McCain and Obama. It's more negative this year than it has been in the past.

CRUZ: Well, this is been an unusual cycle. I think it's fair to say the candidates running the cycle are not typical. We have never had a full blown socialist, an admitted socialist at least in this --

O'REILLY: And he is popular.

CRUZ: And he is popular.

O'REILLY: And there is not a lot of difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on policy. So, they are both socialists. Just one admits it.


Well, Hillary doesn't practice socialism where Bernie kind of does. All right. So, you think it's the rough and tumble that have gotten through to the folks and they are tired of it but, if you run against Hillary Clinton. It's going to be rough and tumble. Really that's going to be a tough --

CRUZ: No doubt. But my response in the primary as insults and nasty personal attacks have flown. I haven't played that game. I haven't responded in kind. When people have insulted me, I don't insult them back.

O'REILLY: No, I mean, trump has called you lying Ted and you haven't really come back like Marco Rubio did. But it did not work for Rubio interestingly enough. It did not work.

CRUZ: My focus both in the primary and on the general is on substance. So, if Hillary engages on nasty attacks. I intend to go to the economy, to jobs and the people hurting that the Obama-Clinton economy doesn't work.

O'REILLY: It won't be her but her surrogates that come after you.

CRUZ: Oh, sure.

O'REILLY: Now, the "New York Times," front-page article on you today saying that you are the most conservative political candidate since Barry Goldwater. Is that fair?

CRUZ: Well, you know, it's funny. I think the times meant it to be a hit piece. I actually retweeted it and sent it around to people.

O'REILLY: You think that's okay.

CRUZ: Well, we're so tired of being lied to.

O'REILLY: You didn't hear my Talking Points memo because you just got here. The senators would enough to come in. That's exactly what I said.

CRUZ: Yes.

O'REILLY: We're just being lied to all the time. But the times' point was on abortion and some other issues you are so far out of the mainstream according to the polls that it might be hard for you to get the populous support and put you in the White House.

CRUZ: Well, I think it's fair to say, the times is not exactly a barometer for the mainstream.

O'REILLY: No, but they're going on the polling --

CRUZ: I have no idea what the mainstream is. What I will say that the "Times" says right is that I'm a consistent conservative. But I've been a conservative my whole life. Now, the values I'm fighting for are common sense values. I think this election comes down to three issues, jobs, freedom, and security. And not a one of those is the narrow 51 percent wedge issue. Those are all unifying, 50, 70, 80 percent issue that bring us together.

O'REILLY: Within the tent of those issues, you're going to have to deal with specifics. For example, they say, the "Times" says that you're against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Is that true?

CRUZ: It is true that I'm pro-life but, you know, Bill --

O'REILLY: No, no, no. Rape and incest?

CRUZ: Yes. It is true that I'm pro-life. But let me just give the flip side of that. Hillary Clinton's position on abortion.

O'REILLY: Anything goes.

CRUZ: Anything goes up to the moment of delivery. Partial birth.

O'REILLY: Let's stay on you.

CRUZ: But I want to underscore something for a second --

O'REILLY: Right.

CRUZ: Because the Times says, she is mainstream, do you know nine percent of Americans agree with Hillary Clinton on abortion? Ninety one percent disagree with radical and extreme.

O'REILLY: You are correct when you said "The New York Times" is not a mainstream publication.

CRUZ: Exactly.

O'REILLY: However, you will going to have some trouble will all due respect on the rape and incest abortion thing with women voters. And all the polls say it. Now, is there a strategy or are you just going to say, I'm staying with this.

CRUZ: You know, listen, I recognize that the media loves to focus on issues where they think they can hit Republicans over and over again. I'm talking about jobs. That is what I talked about. Every day over and over again. That's my focus.

O'REILLY: Right.

CRUZ: People want jobs and wages coming up. We want jobs coming back from Mexico. Back from China. We want manufacturing jobs back in America. And I'm the only candidate with a positive, concrete, serious plan to bring those jobs back.

O'REILLY: Okay. It's tax day. IRS.

CRUZ: Yes.

O'REILLY: You want to ban the IRS. Disband the whole operation.

CRUZ: Yes.

O'REILLY: I'm a simple man. Who is going to collect the taxes?

CRUZ: So, well, I'm running on a simple flat tax where everyone of us will pay 10 percent flat tax. Fill out our taxes on a postcard.

O'REILLY: Okay. But who going to collect the 10 percent?

CRUZ: You go to our website and see the postcard.

O'REILLY: All right.

CRUZ: When we abolish the mass that is the IRS code.


CRUZ: There are more words in the IRS code than there are on war and peace than there are in the Bible. The entity that exists is the IRS becomes largely unnecessary.

O'REILLY: But who is going to collect the money?

CRUZ: A small office in the Treasury Department. But my point is, this IRS is so corrupt, it's politicized, it's --

O'REILLY: So, you are going to establish the Treasury Department as the collector, right?

CRUZ: Sure.

O'REILLY: It's ziggy in Ohio says blank you, I'm not paying, does he go to jail?

CRUZ: Of course he does.

O'REILLY: Okay. So you have to have enforcement done out of the Treasury Department on taxes?

CRUZ: On a postcard. Yes. Somebody has got to collect the postcard and someone has to enforce that if you don't pay your taxes, the federal government comes after you. That's how taxes work.

O'REILLY: Okay. We have a lot more questions and not a lot of time. But it's likely that you are not going to do that well in New York. Okay?

CRUZ: Thanks for the vote of confidence.

O'REILLY: My job is to tell the truth.

CRUZ: I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

O'REILLY: It's not about you so much. It's about the state and what the state responds to. Is that going to reenergize the Trump campaign? And do you have anything that you are going to say on Wednesday to blunt it.

CRUZ: Listen. New York is Donald's home state.

O'REILLY: It is.

CRUZ: Of course he is going to do well in his home state. When we were in Texas my home state, we walloped him in Texas.

O'REILLY: Right.

CRUZ: Let me say one thing on taxes.

O'REILLY: Real quick.

CRUZ: Just because it is tax day.

O'REILLY: Right.

CRUZ: I've released nine years of tax returns.

O'REILLY: And you want Trump to release --

CRUZ: Donald needs to release his tax returns. He's claims he has been audited for a couple of years. So, release the other years.

O'REILLY: All right. Senator, thanks for coming in. We appreciate it.

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