Bennet Cruz 1

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, excoriates Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump for the partial government shutdown on the floor of the Senate shortly before lawmakers voted on two competing and ultimately unsuccessful measures to reopen the government on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a possible candidate for president, was introducing himself to Iowa Democrats in recent days -- and a fiery video clip was his warm-up act at one stop.

CNN reports that as the Colorado Democrat spoke to Iowans in Helen Varner's Dubuque home on Thursday, "frozen on the big screen TV of the living room was Bennet's recent viral speech lambasting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on the Senate floor" over his response to the government shutdown.

"I am glad you are not playing that now," Bennet told the small gathering, per CNN. "because I would say, 'God, I don't want to follow that guy.'"

He acknowledged that the viral video was likely how many people in Iowa had first heard about him.

Bennet was touring the early caucus state of Iowa as a potential candidate in recent days, making several stops for house parties into the weekend.

His former boss, ex-Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, was also in Iowa, testing the waters for a 2020 run. (Bennet was chief of staff for then-Denver Mayor Hickenlooper.)

The Des Moines Register reports that Bennet talked at his appearances about his background in education as Denver Public Schools superintendent.

He emphasized building coalitions to solve problems such as climate change.

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack introduced Bennet to the gathering in Waukee on Friday, the Register reported. Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary in the Obama administration, said he hadn't picked a candidate to support yet, but liked the idea of Bennet entering the race.

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