Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, went on the “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday and told Colbert that “Running for president is real simple: you just have to surgically disconnect your shame sensor, because you spend every waking moment asking people for money. … That is politics in a nutshell.”
This was on the one hand admirably honest of Cruz: Even lowly members of Congress may spend half of every day fundraising, and Cruz’s presidential campaign has received $14.3 million in donations from 175,000 individuals.
On the other hand, Cruz could plausibly have raised most of the money supporting him at one small dinner party. The four affiliated Super PACs boosting his candidacy have taken in $37.8 million, or more than two-and-a-half times the money raised by his campaign in small chunks. And the Super PAC money has come almost completely from just six people: hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, investor Toby Neugebauer, and fracking billionaire brothers Farris and Dan Wilks and their wives.
Cruz has spoken bluntly about money and politics before; in a speech last June he said that “Career politicians’ ears and wallets are open to the highest bidder. Corrupt backroom deals result in one interest group getting preferences over the other, although you give the other a chance to outbid them.” Of course, his proposed solution is to remove the current $2,700 cap on individual donations to politicians and require that the donations be immediately disclosed.
Cruz went on to tell Colbert that running for president is “invigorating” and “I’m like a kid in a candy store.” When Colbert asked, “Who’s paying for the candy?” Cruz chuckled uncomfortably for a long time, and then brought up the large number of individual donors to his campaign.
CRUZ: I’ve joked with my daughter Caroline, who’s seven — Caroline’s seven, Katherine’s four — I’ve said, running for president is real simple: You just have to surgically disconnect your shame sensor, because you spend every waking moment asking people for money. You walk up to total strangers and say: “Hi, how’re you doing, can I have money?” “That’s a lovely tie, please give me money.” That is politics in a nutshell. … [Running for president] is relentless, but I’ll tell you, it is invigorating. I mean, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I am having so much fun because —
COLBERT: Who’s paying for the candy?
CRUZ: [chuckles uncomfortably]
(Thanks to Every Voice for pointing out Cruz’s statement.)