POSTED: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 10:30am
UPDATED: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 10:34am
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — Ted Cruz of Texas, who won his state's GOP Senate nomination this week in a major upset, said Sunday that he's willing to work with anyone in Washington - or outer space, for that matter.
"I am perfectly happy to compromise and work with anybody, Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, I'll work with Martians, if - and the "if" is critical - they are willing to cut spending and reduce the debt," Cruz said on "Fox News Sunday."
A tea party favorite, Cruz ran a successful conservative grass-roots campaign against establishment-friendly Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the state's runoff this summer.
Cruz trumpeted himself as a reformer, someone who was ready to roll up his sleeves and change Washington. In May, he said of the Senate: "We need to kick in the doors of the club, rip down the shades and auction off the silverware."
Dewhurst attacked Cruz during the race for not supporting Sen. John Cornyn of Texas early in the year when he was up for a Senate leadership position. Cruz maintained he did not feel comfortable making a decision until he was elected, but critics painted it as an attempt not to be aligned with an incumbent.
Asked by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace if that kind of language would only lead to more "gridlock" in Congress, he asserted his take on the word "compromise."
"Well, my view on compromise is exactly the same as Ronald Reagan's. President Reagan said, what do you do if they offer you half a loaf? Answer: You take it, and then you come back for more," Cruz said.
His victory this week marked the latest in a series of conservative underdogs winning Senate Republican primaries this year. Among those was state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who defeated longtime incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana in a campaign known for Mourdock's vow not to compromise should he be elected.
In Texas, Cruz beat Dewhurst by 14 percentage points, according to unofficial results on the secretary of state's website. While Cruz will go on to face the Democratic nominee in the general election, political handicappers rate the Senate seat as safe for Republicans.