Glenn Beck has made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the Republican "establishment" in recent months, openly urging men like historian David Barton and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert to challenge Sen. John Cornyn for his U.S. Senate seat in 2014.
Somewhat to Beck's surprise, Cornyn actually agreed to call in to Beck's radio program for an interview Monday. Oftentimes, Beck noted, politicians who know they may be challenged tend to find a reason to decline the invitation.
"I really don't want this to be a hostile interview, so I hope you aren't approaching it that you are in hostile territory, but I do want it to be a frank conversation," Beck said at the outset. Shortly thereafter, he asked Cornyn about a comment he made about FreedomWorks being an organization that "uses Republican-on-Republican violence, so to speak, to raise money."
"It's no secret that I disagreed with the tactic to try to defund Obamacare on the continuing resolution," Cornyn responded, "not because I support Obamacare - my record is clear that I have taken every reasonable opportunity to try to stop it, to repeal it, to block it. But I didn't think the shutdown, which I thought was an inevitable part of that strategy, was the right tactic to use. And I would classify this as a ... disagreement on tactics among the family. What I think happened ... was Republicans and conservatives got divided, and then we minimized the strength we would otherwise have by being unified."
"So - just a second," Beck responded. "So by Ted Cruz standing up ... and John McCain, Lindsey Graham and others going on television repeatedly bashing him, you believe that it was Ted Cruz and FreedomWorks and people like us that were involved in the (Republican-on-Republican) violence?"
"No, I'm talking about the people who raise money by dividing Republicans," Cornyn said. "I'm not talking about an honest difference of opinions on tactics, and I've tried to make clear the difference between the two."
Cornyn later said that while he may have disagreements with FreedomWorks, he thinks the Tea Party is "the best thing that's happened to the conservative movement in recent years."
"My simple position is, we need the Tea Party and their enthusiasm and their votes as part of the Republican coalition so we can win the election in 2014..." Cornyn said. "I think we need all aspects of the Republican coalition, from libertarians to traditional Republicans to Tea Party to social conservatives, you name it."
Switching topics, Beck saluted Cornyn for his bold questioning of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and asked the senator how the U.S. went from a country that "understood" small government to "where we are today."
"I think it was the old frog on the stove top, where the heat was turned up incrementally and not all of the sudden, or else the frog would've jumped out," Cornyn said. "But I think the president, in an ironic sort of way, has done us a backhanded favor by demonstrating that his big government scheme -- command and control out of Washington, one-size fits all -- doesn't work, and Obamacare is exhibit A."
"But again," he added, "this is part of what I hope has become a restoration movement by folks who affiliate with the Tea Party, and I agree with the principles - and I think most conservatives do - that the Tea Party has brought forward, and reminded the traditional Republicans that making deals, bad deals, with the Democrats and liberals has gradually eroded our principles that we all should believe in."
The two also discussed topics like the "nuclear option" and the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare, which you can watch in the clip below:
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