Cruz: Women hurting under president's economic agenda

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 8, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Leaving aside whether there really is a gender gap, for now, let's just connect these dots, fair pay for women, overtime pay for all, a hike in the minimum wage, help for kids paying off student loans.

You -- you see a pattern here?

Well, Republican Senator Ted Cruz sure does, and he doesn't like what the president's really up to here.

Senator, very good to have you. Even Charles is charged about that.


CAVUTO: But, Senator, what do you make of this and why does it concern you?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: Well, Neil, it's -- it's great to be with you.

Unfortunately, President Obama and the Senate Democrats, they are just engaged in politics all the time. They held a press conference a few weeks ago where they talked about their agenda for the rest of the year, are a bunch of political show votes that they know are not going to accomplish anything, but they think they poll well and will help them at the polls.

The -- the reality are, women are hurting and they are hurting under President Obama's economic agenda. Under President Obama, 3.7 million women have moved into poverty. Under President Obama, the median income for women has dropped over $700.

The Obama economy is a disaster. And the people who are hurt the most are the most vulnerable among us. They're young people. They're Hispanics. They're African-Americans. They are single moms. And all of the smoke and mirrors that the White House has designed to distract from the failures of the Obama economy and the people who are hurting, and no one is being hurt more than women by the Obama economy.

CAVUTO: Senator, do you think that the Democrats, though, are tempting you and tempting Republicans to go ahead and vote against these various measures that, as you pointed out, sir, do at least test well in these polls, and that...

CRUZ: Well...

CAVUTO: ... they want it on record that Republicans were against hiking the minimum wage, against making things fair for women and all these things that you can question the math, but you know the strategy?

CRUZ: Right.

CAVUTO: What do you say?

CRUZ: Well, it's not even tempting. They are very explicit.

They have written these bills because they know that they won't pass. And they are doing it just to score political points. And they have got great names. You stick a wonderful name on a bill, but this has nothing to do with equal pay for equal work. That's been the law for decades.

And, listen, as someone who is married to a strong professional women -- woman, as the father of two daughters, I'm very concerned about up ensuring that women are protected in the workplace and treated fairly.

CAVUTO: Do you think they are? Senator, right now, do you think they are?

CRUZ: Oh, we have a long way to go. I -- I think women face a very difficult circumstance in the workplace.

I have certainly seen that. I have been blessed to work with a lot of strong women, but the answer is not to pass a trial lawyer bonanza. This has nothing to do with actually improving the situation of women in the workplace.

This has everything to do with a political show vote for the Democrats and paying off the trial lawyers, who are among the biggest funders of the Democratic Party. And -- and they are using women to hide what they are really trying to do.

CAVUTO: Senator, you're not hiding what you want to do about Iran intending to send one of the original hostage takers as an ambassador to the United Nations. You want to put a stop to this sort of stuff.

CRUZ: Yes.


CAVUTO: But your critics immediately seize on that, to be careful what Senator Cruz wishes for, because then you could have other nations picking apart who we should have representing us at the U.N.

What do you say?

CRUZ: Well -- well, let me tell you that this is a moment of unity on Iran. And we have seen a moment of clarity on Iran.

Iran made a decision to name as their U.N. ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi, who participated in holding Americans hostages for 444 days. That was designed to be a slap in the face.

And -- and yet I'm proud yesterday the United States Senate in a bipartisan fashion passed legislation that I introduced. It passed 100-0. We had the support of Democrats like Chuck Schumer, like Pat Leahy, like Bob Menendez. We came together in a bipartisan matter, 100-0, and said we're not going to tolerate this insult from Iran. And we are not going to allow an acknowledged terrorist to move to New York and have diplomatic immunity. I'm encouraged...

CAVUTO: What if he does anyway, though, Senator? What if he does anyway? He comes here and he -- he is an ambassador?

CRUZ: Well, I -- I don't believe that's going to happen.

The House moved with laser speed, with bipartisan unanimity -- the -- the Senate, rather. And I'm encouraged that -- that indications are from the House that it's likely they're going to move quickly. And I hope and believe the president will sign this bill, which will give the legal authority to bar him and to say to any nation, look, under existing law, if the Taliban had nominated Usama bin Laden to be their ambassador at the U.N., we would be required to accept him.

That makes no sense. Anyone who is an acknowledged terrorist, the administration should have the authority to exclude. And with this bipartisan legislation, that's exactly what we have done. It's a great moment of clarity and unity from the United States Senate on the question of Iran and their virulent anti-Americanism.

CAVUTO: Will you're here, Senator, I'm -- I'm sure you have heard of the latest interest in Jeb Bush. Will he or won't he run for president in 2016?

And he made some comments regarding illegal immigration and that the - - the party -- that is, Republicans in general -- should -- should be talking more of love than of -- than of alienating them. I'm -- I'm paraphrasing, but I think you got the gist of that.

You did not agree with that sentiment. Explain.

CRUZ: Well, listen, I like Jeb Bush. I'm a big fan of Jeb Bush's.

And my view on immigration is that we should, of course, remain a nation that welcomes and celebrates legal immigrants. I'm the son of a legal immigrant who fled Cuba with nothing and came here seeking the American dream.

But, at the same time, Neil, rule of law matters. It matters if you break our laws. The first thing any sovereign nation does is secure its borders. And we need to honor and respect rule of law, while at the same time welcoming and celebrating legal immigrants coming to America.

CAVUTO: So when he says they really haven't done great harm to the country, they are just trying to find opportunities in this country, how do you differentiate?

CRUZ: Well, listen -- listen, there -- there are people all around the world who -- who -- who desire to live free in America.

And -- and that is a wonderful thing. We obviously don't have the capacity to take every one from throughout the world who wants to be here. We need a functioning legal immigration system that lets people come who want to come here, not to be dependent on government, but to work hard and provide for their families, to work towards the American dream.

And our current system is -- is the opposite of humane. I will tell you, I have invited Senate Democrats, come down to Texas. See the border. See the pictures of the bodies of women and children left to die in the desert who -- who entrust themselves to transnational global criminal cartels, who physically abuse them, who sexually abuse them, who -- who leave them to die.

This is not a humane system. The humane approach would be to secure the border, to honor the rule of law and then to improve and streamline our legal immigration system, so we can bring in and allow people to come here legally to -- to work towards and achieve the American dream.

CAVUTO: That slight distinction from Jeb Bush notwithstanding, if he were to run for president and if he were to become the Republican nominee, could you, would you support him?

CRUZ: Oh, listen, regardless of what happens, I'm going to support the Republican nominee in 2016.

And the -- and the question of who is going to be the Republican nominee, who is the best candidate to lead Republicans in 2016, I think it really comes down to, who is standing up and leading, who is standing up and leading, making the case for free market principles, making the case for constitutional liberties? Rather than worry about the politics of 2014 or 2016, we need to focus...


CAVUTO: So, you don't have any dynasty issues with him, Senator, the idea that...

CRUZ: Oh, look, I...

CAVUTO: Right?

CRUZ: I think we need to focus on the urgency of now.


CRUZ: I would encourage every candidate, of the dozen or so that seem to be thinking about it, I would encourage every one of them, stand up and lead, make the case that the Obama economic agenda is not working and we got to get back to the principles that made America great in the first place.

CAVUTO: And you are among those dozen, right?

CRUZ: Well, time will tell.


CAVUTO: All right. Senator, it's always a pleasure. Thank you very, very much, Senator Ted Cruz of the fine state of Texas.

CRUZ: Thank you, my friend.

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