In an interview with Time released on Thursday, Cruz lauded Obama as an "extraordinary politician" who he respects a great deal. He added that his 2012 campaign was modeled after two victories: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in 2010 and Obama in 2008.
"If you look at that 2008 Democratic primary, there was no more formidable, unstoppable candidate — other than an incumbent President — in modern times than Hillary Clinton," Cruz said. "And Barack Obama ran a guerrilla campaign that empowered the people. So for Christmas I gave a number of campaign staffers David Plouffe’s book, The Audacity to Win."
While following some campaign tactics from Obama, Cruz stressed to Time that he still does not see eye-to-eye with the president on policy.
"I think he is committed to his principles, which is rare in politics," Cruz said. "Now I also think, and please don’t leave this part out, that the principles he believes in are profoundly dangerous."
Despite headlining the Iowa Republican Party 2013 summer picnic, Cruz has dismissed speculation surrounding a 2016 presidential run. In a late July interview with ABC's "This Week" from the Hawkeye State, Cruz said he was there to participate in the "national debate" on America's direction.
"I’m not focused on the politics," Cruz told ABC. "I’ve been in the office all but seven months. The last office I was elected to was student council. So this has been a bit of a whirlwind.”
While Cruz has been mum on his political future, some conservatives have made it clear that he is their choice. Cruz cruised to victory in the Western Conservative Summit's 2016 straw poll, earning 45 percent of the 504 votes cast at the late July event.
Standing more than three years away from Election Day 2016, Cruz reiterated that his current focus was serving in the Senate.
“At this point, 100 percent of my focus is on the U.S. Senate," he told the Washington Times. "And the reason is simple: The Senate’s the battlefield.