Ted Cruz: Trump Had the Upper Hand in Last Night's Debate

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Tuesday that Donald Trump had the upper hand over Hillary Clinton in last night's debate and that it was his strongest debate performance so far. He also said the media's focus on the birther issue is "amusing" because American voters don't "give a flying flip about" it.

The Texas senator joined conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning to discuss the debate and his recent, long-awaited endorsement of Trump for president.

"I thought Hillary did not have a good performance," Cruz told Hewitt. "I think throughout the night, she was tired, she was formulaic. The entire debate from Hillary was more Washington as usual. And every proposal she advanced was another big-government solution that isn’t working, that is failing. And I thought Donald had the strongest debate performance he’s had in this election cycle. I think he really went after Hillary, which was a good thing. And I think he drew strong contrast, particularly on taxes, and on regulation and on law and order, and on the disastrous Iran deal. And so I thought it was a good debate night."

Hewitt offered his own analysis of how the debate went. "Now the conventional wisdom is that she trounced him because of the birther issue and because of fading energy on the part of Donald Trump," Hewitt began. "There is a dissenting view – Nicole Wallace, Mike Brzezinski, Hugh Hewitt believe the first 35 minutes to 40 minutes were all his for the reasons you just stated, and that he kept name-checking Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan to the great advantage of his primary-state efforts there."

He asked Cruz if he agreed with him that there is "confirmation bias underway in elite media," because he thought Trump had done an effective job.

"Well, sure," he answered. "You know, anyone who is swooning at Hillary’s performance last night, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re a card-carrying member of the liberal media, especially in the first half hour. I think Donald very much had the upper hand over Hillary. Hillary was tentative and had no real answers. She was on the defensive the entire time. And the biggest thing is her answers, they sounded old and tired, and I don’t mean that in a comment on her health. I mean it on a comment on her ideas. Her ideas are rehashed 1960s Great Society, big-government programs. And to me, they did not rise to the occasion remotely. Now of course, the media is going to hyperventilate at how terrific she is, because that’s what they do. You know, the idea that they focus on the birther issue, I find thoroughly amusing, because unless you are in a college faculty hall, or the newsroom of a major newspaper, I don’t think there are a whole lot of voters in this country that give a flying flip about the birther issue. And so if the media thinks that was the takeaway from last night, I think that shows just how disconnected they are from working men and women who’ve been hammered for seven years under the Obama economy and are looking for something different. And if all Hillary cares about is screaming 'you’re a racist, you’re a racist' rather than actually providing real solutions to the challenges facing working men and women, I don’t think that’s a good debate night for her."