Bennett: McConnell Has ‘Isolated’ Cruz and the Tea Party

Former Sen. Bob Bennett says even though Republicans are set to take over Congress come January, don't expect Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee to set the agenda.

Bennett, speaking at a conference in Washington, says Sen. Mitch McConnell, who will be majority leader in the next Congress, has done a masterful job of "isolating" Ted Cruz.

"There is no cannier politician in Washington than Mitch McConnell," said Bennett. "Yes, Ted Cruz is an unsettling factor within the Republican conference. My sense of things is Mitch has very carefully, very methodically, very much under the radar isolated Ted Cruz. He's kind of sealed him off like a body puts a sac around some foreign matter it would prefer to expel but, if it can't, it can at least cut it off."

Bennett says McConnell's work has diluted the power of the Tea Party Caucus in the Senate.

"When the Tea Party Caucus was formed it was going to be so powerful. We heard all about it in Utah when Mike Lee was elected," said Bennett, who was ousted by Lee in 2010. "Lee said 'I'm going to have all these buddies and we're going to take over.' By the time McConnell was finished, the Tea Party Caucus was Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Jim DeMint, and DeMint left."

Bennett says at this point the power of the Tea Party in the next Congress will be more mythical than reality.

"Rand Paul didn't join and Marco Rubio didn't join. Cruz is going to look around and find that there are not going to be very many people with him."

Here's the video courtesy of C-SPAN.