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Cruz: I'm 'happy to work with anyone'

Ted Cruz wants to talk about coalition building.

 Ted Cruz wants to talk about coalition building.

The controversial Republican and tea party figure – who regularly infuriates his own party with the kind of hard-line politics that prompted a government shutdown in 2013 – appeared on NBC News’ "TODAY" and spoke about wanting to be welcoming and broad in his presidential bid.

“You’re exactly right,” Cruz said when host Matt Lauer asked how he could run for president while calling his own party "squishes." "We need to bring together the old Reagan coalition of conservatives, the evangelicals, and libertarians and Republican women and young people and Hispanics and Reagan Democrats. You've got to bring everyone together.” Cruz was joined by his wife, Heidi, in the exclusive interview.

Cruz announced his presidential bid Monday at Virginia’s evangelical Liberty University – a signal that Cruz will appeal particularly to the Christian right in this campaign. But on Tuesday, Cruz aimed to appeal to the broader party saying he welcomes a broad coalition – as long as they respect his principles.

“I’m perfectly happy to work with anyone — Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Republican — if they’re shrinking the size and power of the federal government, if they’re turning around the debt, if they’re expanding liberty," he said.