Sen. Ted Cruz: 'Focus Should Be Taking Out ISIS'

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz weighs in on President Obama's strategy on ISIS and the GOP divide on foreign policy.
3:01 | 09/07/14

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Transcript for Sen. Ted Cruz: 'Focus Should Be Taking Out ISIS'
Critics pounced a few weeks ago when the president said he didn't have a strategy against Isis. Now the new threat is scrambling republican ranks, too. Jeff Zeleny is on the trail with Ted Cruz. He joins us from Manchester now. Good morning, Jeff. Reporter: Good morning, George. As the white house focused its scope on Isis, foreign policy is back on the front burner of domestic politics. Republicans are unified in the criticism of the president, but divided on solutions. Last night in New Hampshire, senator Ted Cruz sounded the alarm. This nation feeters at the precipice. And offered a scolding assessment of how the U.S. Is confronting the threat from Isis. After bringing gop activists to their feet, we asked him what to do. We ought to have a direct, overwhelming air campaign to take them out. Reporter: In Iraq and Syria? The focus should be Iraq. But the real focus should be taking out Isis. Within Syria, it should not be our objective to try to resolve the civil war in Syria. Reporter: You said the U.S. Should bomb Isis back into the stone age. Should that take congressional approval? Or does the president have the authority to do it on his own? It should absolutely take congressional approval. Reporter: But not all republicans agree. On Friday, senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to the white house, saying the president should act swiftly on his own. Early divisions are becoming clear. Senator Rand Paul says he would destroy Isis militarily. His tough talk is at odds with his earlier views, prompting him to write an essay in "Time" magazine this week. Titled "I'm not an isolationist." We asked Cruz whether he agreed. I'm going to let Rand characterize his own views. What I can tell you. Reporter: He's been trying, though. How do you characterize them? I'll leave that to Rand and to the American people to make their own judgments. Reporter: Among some grass roots republicans, there are growing libertarian views, with deep resistance to another war. Louisiana governor bobby jindal, also visiting New Hampshire, said it was a fine and dangerous line for the party to walk. The country and the world needs America to be strong and predictable. The world is more dangerous, less predictable because of a lack of American leadership. Reporter: Isis and a long list of foreign policy challenges are front and center in the warmup to the 2016 campaign. Positions staked out now likely to become a lasting part of a candidate's record. So republicans are trying to keep their comments focusing on criticizing the president, as he prepares to give a speech this week on Isis. What would you like to hear from him? How urgent is this? I think it's an urgent concern to strike while Isis is vulnerable. Reporter: If the president decides to seek krong nal approval and explanned the military come pain, he'll be seeking support from some of his biggest critics. He just might get it. There's a rising hawkish tone in the republican party.

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