Cruz: Obama was a 'backbencher' in Senate

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Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzHouse approves stopgap funding, averting costly shutdown Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Could Snapchat be the digital bridge to younger voters? MORE (R-Texas) is balking at comparisons to President Obama, who both launched presidential bids during their first term in the Senate, criticizing the president as a "backbencher" during his time in Congress.

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"He was a backbencher. He did not engage in a whole lot of issues of consequence," Cruz said Tuesday morning on "The Glenn Beck Radio Program."

"In the time I've been there, on issue after issue after issue, I've been leading the fight on conservative principles, leading the fight to stop ObamaCare, to stop amnesty, to stop the debt that is crushing our kids and grandkids to defend our constitutional rights."

Cruz has blanketed the airwaves after he became the first person to announce a bid for president on Monday, capitalizing on the media that comes with being the only declared candidate in the field. He added that he has a much stronger resume than Obama had ahead of his presidential bid.

"Unlike Barack Obama, I wasn't a community organizer. I spent five and a half years as solicitor general of Texas, representing Texas in front of the Supreme Court, and we won some of the biggest victories in the country defending conservative principles."

As solicitor general, Cruz won five cases in front of the Supreme Court, most notably arguing against the D.C. handgun ban and to allow Texas to display a statue of the Ten Commandments on the state Capitol grounds.

Obama worked as a community organizer after college, before he began teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He also served for six years in the Illinois state Senate, ahead of his U.S. Senate career.

Cruz has positioned himself as an anti-establishment candidate, based off of his reputation in the Senate as a conservative firebrand. He received both praise and vitriol for calling for a government shutdown over ObamaCare funding and raised his national recognition with an almost daylong talking filibuster on the healthcare law.

He told Beck that criticism from establishment figures on both sides of the aisle only bolsters his message.

"I think it was very interesting that The New York Times yesterday said, 'Cruz cannot possibly be the candidate because the Washington political elites hate him,' " he said.

"My immediate reaction was, 'Gosh, do I have to declare that to the FEC as an in-kind contribution?' I can't summarize what we are trying to do better than that: If you want a candidate embraced by the Washington political elites, I'm not your guy.”

While Cruz is polling outside the top echelon of hypothetical GOP presidential candidates, he drew parallels between his underdog bid for president and his odds during his successful Senate race in 2012. Despite running against the heavily favored Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Cruz pushed him to a runoff and ultimately won the Republican primary in a safe Republican state.

Cruz called that experience a "very significant factor" in his decision to seek the presidency.

"It demonstrated the overwhelming power of the grassroots, and that's what a lot of the Washington political establishment doesn't understand," he said.

"When we launched the campaign beginning of 2011, when we started, I was literally at 2 percent in the polls. As I've often joked, the margin of error was 3 percent."