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Ted Cruz has some advice for his potential GOP 2016 challengers

The Texas Senator talked 2016 primaries, foreign policy, and more during a Sunday interview.
US Senator Ted Cruz smiles as he departs the Senate floor after it passed at $1.1 trillion spending bill at the US Capitol in Washington, Dec. 13, 2014. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
US Senator Ted Cruz smiles as he departs the Senate floor after it passed at $1.1 trillion spending bill at the US Capitol in Washington, Dec. 13, 2014.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Sunday seemed eager to enter the 2016 battlefield, offering advice to his fellow potential challengers and saying he looks forward to debating Jeb Bush on the issues.  

During an interview with ABC's “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos asked the Republican to weigh in on the 2016 buzz around the GOP primaries and around former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who has said he is exploring the possibility of running for president in 2016. Cruz, also a potential 2016 contender, said he looks forward to a debate.

“Look, Jeb Bush is a good man, he’s a good governor, I respect him,” Cruz said. “If he chooses to run, and it certainly looks like he’s going to, he’s going to have to make the case to Republican primary voters concerning his record, concerning certainly his support for Common Core, concerning his policies on immigration. And I think we’ll have a debate on that.”

“But at the end of the day, I think Republicans are looking for a leader,” Cruz continued. “What I would urge every Republican thinking about running to do, and this is true of senators, of governors -- stand up and lead. I’d be thrilled if six months from now we have a half dozen Republicans standing and leading and making the case that there is a better way we can get back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country and made this country a shining city on a hill.”

The Bushes have political ties to Cruz's state; Texas is Jeb's hometown, and where his brother George W. Bush was governor before being elected president in 2001. 

Related: Ted Cruz coughs up to smoking pot

Senator Cruz also weighed in on the fight against ISIS, a common theme for potential presidential hopefuls looking to boost their foreign policy credentials. Cruz said he supports standing with the Kurds in their fight against the Islamic State, but emphasized that he does not believe there is a need for U.S. boots on the ground at this time.”

“I don’t believe right now we need American boots on the ground, and the reason is we have boots on the ground already with the Kurds,” Cruz said. “Just today, I met with the president of Kurdistan and he made clear that the Peshmurga are ready to fight. They are fighting ISIS.”

Cruz is one of many in a wide field of potential GOP contenders for 2016. Jeb Bush, who recently said he was exploring the possibility of running, has emerged as an early frontrunner since late January, when former presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced he would not be running again. A new Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire poll also shows Jeb Bush holding a slight lead over the pack of GOP candidates in the early primary state of New Hampshire, including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.