Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz responded Tuesday night to an apparent jab President Barack Obama took at him in his final State of the Union address.
In his speech, Obama said the answer to defeating the Islamic State would not merely be "tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn't pass muster on the world stage."
The reference to carpet bombing appeared to be a slight jab at Cruz. The Texas senator had previously attracted attention for saying at campaign events he would "utterly destroy" the Islamic State and "carpet bomb them into oblivion."
After the president's address, "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lest Holt asked Cruz — who did not attend the speech — for his response.
"In the speech, I think we all agree that the president essentially called you out...what was your response to that?" he asked.
"Well listen, I will apologize to nobody for my commitment to kill the terrorists," Cruz replied. "And in this speech President Obama once again refused to even say the words 'radical Islamic terrorism' — much less demonstrate any clarity, any vision, any plan to destroy them."
[sharequote align="center"]"I will apologize to nobody for my commitment to kill the terrorists."[/sharequote]
"He diminished the threat of ISIS. I mean, let's just think about it. In this speech, he didn't say a word about the Paris attacks, he didn't say a word about San Bernardino, he didn't say a word about the Philadelphia police officer who was shot 13 times by a terrorist pledging allegiance to ISIS, " Cruz continued. "And I think the American people are tired of having a president who will not even acknowledge the evil that we are facing — much less do anything serious to stop it."
Cruz, who said Obama's speech was more of a "state of denial" than State of the Union," wove Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton into his response.
"I think Americans do not understand why President Obama and Hillary Clinton put their heads in the stand Ostriches rather than acknowledging the threat of jihadists who want to murder us," he said.
Cruz also commented on the detention of two U.S. ships and 10 sailors by Iran, saying it was notable the president didn't mention the situation in his address.
"It was striking in the State of the Union that President Obama did not acknowledge that Iran had captured two Navy ships and had 10 sailors apparently as hostages," he said. "And the fact that happened in the first place is a direct consequence of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy."
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