In an interview that aired yesterday on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stood by the “defund Obamacare” strategy and blamed President Barack Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for the impasse that led to the government shutdown in October.
Much of the interview focused on the unusual way in which Cruz has been able to gain influence and his relationship with House conservatives. But the key comments came when ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who conducted the interview, asked the Texas senator if he thought that his tactics were a mistake in hindsight.
“I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” Cruz said, adding later the media was largely responsible for the belief that Republicans shutdown the federal government.”
Karl was openly contemptuous of Cruz’s comments, telling him that the “only reason why this happened is because you insisted.” But the Texas conservative, who was in contention for Time’s Person of the Year, wouldn’t waiver, despite criticism from his fellow Republicans and political pundits.
“You’ve got conservatives who stood strong and said let’s stop the train wreck that is Obamacare, and you’ve got Democrats in the middle of the shutdown, President Obama called every Senate Republican to the White House, sat us in a room and said I called you to tell you, we’re not going to negotiate, we’re not going to compromise on anything,” Cruz told Karl.
“Repeatedly Republicans were compromising, trying to find a middle ground. And repeatedly Democrats said, no compromise, shut it down,” he added.
Republicans took a big hit in the polls during the government shutdown. The party’s favorability plunged and Democrats gained ground in the generic congressional ballot. Two months and a botched Obamacare rollout later, Republicans have gained back ground heading into an election year and Cruz’s warnings about the law look eerily prescient.