The Tea Party’s Batman and Robin: Mike Lee on his political partnership with Ted Cruz

Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

The Fine Print

If Ted Cruz were Batman, Mike Lee would be his Robin.

That’s the description some have used to characterize the political partnership between Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Asked about the comparison during a recent visit to Iowa, Lee told “The Fine Print” that Cruz is a political “kindred spirit.”

“I told him, ‘If you do decide to run, I'll of course have to endorse you, because I think you and I are, politically speaking, kindred spirits, and I'd love to have you as a colleague,’” Lee recalled from his first meeting with Cruz in 2010, when the Texan was considering a run for the Senate.

The Tea Party duo stood side-by-side this fall in pushing a hard-line stance against the president’s health care law that resulted in the government shutdown, and infuriated many of their Republican colleagues along the way.

Lee confirmed that he and Cruz have come under attack from the Republican establishment in recent months but said there were “legitimate differences of opinion” within the party that “need to be expressed.”

“The differences themselves are needed,” Lee said. “You don't get to be $17 trillion in debt without a lot of people agreeing.”

“I think it's an ongoing struggle, it's an ongoing dialogue -- one that we need to have, one that we shouldn't shy away from,” Lee said. “And I think it's high time for us to have these debates in public for the whole world to see, for our voters to participate in.”

Asked what he most enjoys about being in the Senate that he was not anticipating before he came to Washington, Lee said it is the “congeniality that occurs across party lines.”

Lee said he particularly enjoyed working with Sen. Al Franken, D- Minn., among others.

“He's a really smart guy and a really funny guy,” said Lee of Franken. “We disagree on a lot of issues. We happen to agree on some. And, in any event, we enjoy working together.”

To find out why Lee calls Sen. Harry Reid “a real prankster,” and to hear more about what he has to say about the infighting within the GOP, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis and Gary Westphalen contributed to this episode.

Larry Falk, Jay Enyart, Richard Bowring and John Hansen assisted in production.