Yes, my friends, that is a direct quote. But here’s a bit of context before your collective imaginations start running wild (via Politico):
Sen.-elect Ted Cruz believes Mitt Romney got a little too close to Barack Obama in the third presidential debate.
“I’m pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama,” Cruz said in a speech at the Federalist Society’s annual conference Friday.
Cruz said that conservatives failed to make their case to the American people, leaving Romney no choice but to move toward the president. “We didn’t win the argument, we didn’t even make the argument” throughout much of 2012, Cruz said.
But all that changed, he argued, during the first presidential debate:
“It was the one time we actually contested ideas, presented two viewpoints and directions for the country,” he said. “And then inevitably, there are these mandarins of politics, who give the voice: ‘Don’t show any contrasts. Don’t rock the boat.’ So by the third debate, I’m pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama.
“I have no doubt that there is a focus group somewhere of undecided Ohio voters who have been living in a cave for the last 30 years, who decided they liked that,” Cruz continued. “‘Don’t show any disagreement whatsoever with the president. Don’t rock the boat. Just be a nice guy.’”
The Texas Republican speech amounted to something of an alternative history of the 2012 election, in which Romney’s chances peaked after the first debate because he presented strong contrasts with Obama. Most observers have pinpointed the first debate as a moment where Romney moderated his rhetoric and policy proposals, claiming the political center.
Cruz said centrist strategies were doomed to fail Republicans, who should instead focus on a simple motto: “Our ideas work. Theirs don’t.”
Senator-elect Cruz hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet and he’s already causing quite the stir. The next six years are going to be interesting, to say the least.