Pat Sullivan / AP
During the Republican primary campaign, Ted Cruz, center, is surrounded by supporters and media at a voting precinct Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in Houston.
Texas Republican Ted Cruz is a Tea Party star. But even he isn't confident in the "personalities" on the Republican ticket.
"If this presidential race focuses on issues, if it focuses on the economy, on President Obama's abysmal economic record, Republicans win," Texas' GOP Senate nominee said on Sunday's Meet The Press. "If it's a battle of personalities, Republicans will lose."
Cruz has been hailed as a rising star on the right since defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in last month's primary runoff. Dewhurst was backed by establishment figures like Gov. Rick Perry, while the long-shot Cruz won the support of Sarah Palin and a variety of Tea Party groups.
Now, as the GOP nominee in deep-red Texas, Cruz is considered a lock to win his Senate race, and has scored a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
On Sunday, Cruz supported Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, suggesting that the Republican budget guru will put the focus of the campaign back on the economy and other issues that Americans truly care about.
Fellow panel member Kasim Reed, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, countered that Ryan is hardly a serious, big-issues candidate, and has only recast himself as a deficit hawk in the last couple years after nearly a decade of backing massive congressional spending. "He wasn't serious under Bush," said Reed.
"Why wasn't he serious when we were fighting the war in Iraq? Why didn't he say America should pay for the war in Afghanistan? Why didn't he say that when we have a TARP program it needs to be available for people on Main Street? ... He has a budget that doesn't balance and claims he's a budget balancer." Cruz acknowledged that he didn't agree with all of Ryan's votes, but said that the Wisconsin Republican, unlike Obama, was "serious about the solutions."