Cruz to Reporters Focusing Solely on Politics of Obamacare Debate: ‘You Are Taking Sides’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 25, 2013 | 7:16 AM EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas)

( - Sixteen hours after he first stood up on the Senate floor to speak out against Obamacare—and vowed to keep speaking as long as he could stand—Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas took a moment to reprimand reporters who are covering the debate over Obamacare and only focusing on the politics and personalities involved rather than on the substance of the public policy and its impact on Americans.

“I want to say if you just report on the personalities and the political game, you are taking sides in this issue,” said Cruz.

“I am going to suggest that is not responsible reporting,” he said.

Cruz’s criticism of the press for its coverage of Obamacare came shortly before 7:00 a.m. this morning after Sen. Marco Rubio—to whom Cruz had yielded for a question—observed that the press was focusing on the politics of the Obamacare debate not the substance.

“Senator Rubio talked about how the political reporters have been focusing predominantly on the game, on the political process,” said Cruz. “He’s right. I haven’t seen any of the news coverage. We’ve been here on the Senate floor. So, I don’t know what the coverage is. Now, that doesn’t surprise me what the senator reports because that is the nature of political reporting in Washington.

“So, I am going to make a request directly to those reporters who are covering this proceeding, those reporters who are reporting on this proceeding, to endeavor to have at least half of what you say be focused on the actual substance of this debate, on the fact that Obamacare is a train wreck, that is killing jobs, that is forcing more and more Americans into part-time work, that is driving up their health insurance premiums, that is causing more and more Americans who are struggling to lose their health insurance.

“Now, my real request would be to make all of your coverage be on that, but I know that is too much to ask,” said Cruz.

“But I am going to suggest” said Cruz, “that if all of your coverage or most of your coverage is on the political process, on this personality or that personality, on who’s up and who’s down, or how this impacts the 2042 presidential election--I am going to suggest two things: Number one, that is not doing the job that you have stepped forward to serve and do. Look, all of us have a job. Those of us in this body elected to serve have a job to listen to the people and to fight for the men and women of America, but those of you who serve in the media have a job to report to the men and women in America what is happening and not just on the political game.

“But secondly,” said Cruz, “I want to say if you just report on the personalities and the political game, you are taking sides in this issue.

“Why is that? Because those who want to keep Obamacare funded, those who want on Friday or Saturday when cloture comes up for a vote for members of this body to vote for cloture, to give Harry Reid the ability to defund Obamacare with 51 partisan Democrat votes, they want all of the coverage to be about the personalities, about the politics, about anything, anything, anything other than the substance,” said Cruz.

“So, if you choose to cover just the personality and the politics, you are doing exactly what some partisans in this body would like,” Cruz said. “And that’s, I am going to suggest, not responsible reporting. I know each of you wants to be a responsible steward of informing the public, and it would strike me that the debate we have had here impacts people lives in a way that nobody gives a flip about the politicians involved.”