Texas Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzHealthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Overnight Healthcare: GOP infighting erupts over bill | How Republican governors could bring down ObamaCare repeal | Schumer asks Trump to meet with Dems GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill MORE (R) offered mild praise for President Obama, calling him an “extraordinary politician,” who provided the model for his own Senate campaign but warned that his ideas are “profoundly dangerous” in an interview with Time.

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“I think Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObama ethics czar: Trump fundraiser at his DC hotel ‘illegal’ Trump greeted by protesters at campaign fundraiser Six easy wins to improve transparency on Capitol Hill  MORE is an extraordinary politician. And I respect Barack Obama a great deal,” Cruz told the magazine in an article published Thursday. “I think he is committed to his principles, which is rare in politics. Now I also think, and please don’t leave this part out, that the principles he believes in are profoundly dangerous.

“I respect that he believes, I think genuinely, with all of his heart, that government control of economy and redistribution of wealth betters the world,” the Texas senator added. “I think moving in that direction has wreaked havoc to the American economy. The people who suffer in the Obama economy have been young people, African-Americans, Hispanics, single moms.”

Cruz said that Obama and fellow Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioCapitol Police arrest 40 during healthcare protests New Alexandra Pelosi documentary brings together GOP, Dem members Senators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan MORE’s (R-Fla.) campaigns had provided the model for his own winning bid.

“If you look at that 2008 Democratic primary, there was no more formidable, unstoppable candidate — other than an incumbent president — in modern times than Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonJeff Bridges: ‘I’m rooting’ for Trump as a human being Leading Pelosi critic Moulton once penned effusive praise for her: report Dems land top recruit for Ros-Lehtinen's Florida district MORE. And Barack Obama ran a guerrilla campaign that empowered the people,” Cruz said.

He said that for Christmas, he gave some of his campaign staffers The Audacity to Win, the book by Obama's 2008 campaign manager, David Plouffe.

“I think there is no more potent force in politics than the grassroots, mobilized and standing up,” Cruz added.

The Tea Party favorite spoke to Time on Aug. 2 in New Orleans, where he delivered a speech to a gathering of conservative activists.

Cruz has made several trips to early-primary states and has addressed conservative gatherings across the country over the past few months, fueling rumors that he is weighing a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

The Tea Party favorite dodged questions about whether he has made a decision saying that he is focused on his Senate job. But Cruz said Republicans need to nominate a strong conservative candidate to win the White House.

Cruz also accused the media of depicting conservatives as “stupid or evil.”

“Those are the two categories that every conservative gets put in by Democrats and the media,” Cruz said.

“A conservative is either stupid — too dumb to know the right answer — and even worse, if they actually know the right answer, then they're evil,” he added.

Cruz said he is mildly flattered that the media recently invented a third category: “crazy.”