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Sen. Ted Cruz Knocks Romney, Bush As 2016 Contenders

Image: Conservatives Gather For Voter Values Summit

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Family Research Council (FRC) hosting its 9th annual Values Voter Summit inviting conservatives to participate in a straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Texas firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz, who is contemplating a run for the White House, took the gloves off and jabbed at fellow Republicans Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush for their recent proclamations they are considering jumping into the presidential race.

“There are some who believe that the path to Republican victory is to run to the mush middle,” Cruz told reporters after a speech at the conservative Heritage Action summit.

He did not mention Romney and Bush specifically but was responding to a question directly about the two prospective candidates who are perceived to be moderates. “I think recent history has shown us that is not a path to success. It doesn’t work. It’s a failed electoral strategy,” he said.

Cruz would not say if he would jump in the race to challenge the “mushy middle,” but said, “I intend to participate vigorously.”

Meanwhile, a top aid to Romney in 2012 told NBC News that Romney is serious about a third run for the White House. The aide said he talked to Romney since Friday when the 2012 Republican nominee told donors that he is considering another run.

Romney is thinking about running “for the same reasons he ran last time – only more so,” the aide said. Romney believes he can help the problems the country faces overseas and the economic challenges that still exist.

The presidential race is in the beginning stages of starting to take shape.

Cruz’ statement comes just moments after Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin and 2012 vice presidential candidate, told NBC News that he is not going to run for the White House.

Bush, the former Florida governor, has launched a political action committee and has announced his intentions to explore the presidency.

Cruz has built a reputation for bucking leaders in the Republican Party to promote his own beliefs and priorities, including supporting more conservative candidates in Republican primaries and pushing a government shutdown over Obamacare in 2013.

Even as the presidential race is upon us, Cruz signified he has no intention of changing his ways. During his speech to the conservative auditorium Monday afternoon, Cruz encouraged the Republican Party to lead with conviction and not to shirk from its principles.

“Let’s stand up and lead. Let’s lead with a big bold positive agenda,” he said.