Ted Cruz: We Were Right to Fight for Obamacare Defunding

Sunday, 26 Jan 2014 11:00 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insisted Sunday that last year's government shutdown was not his or the Republican Party's fault — and skillfully sidestepped questions about his presidential aspirations.

Many key Republicans have blamed Cruz for leading the shutdown, but in an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation," he placed the blame squarely on President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

"I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall," Cruz told host Bob Schieffer. "The reason they did so is that President Obama dug in and said he wouldn't compromise and he wouldn't negotiate."

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When Schieffer pushed, asking if Cruz would back another shutdown, he said he "didn't threaten to shut down the government the last time. I don't think we should ever shut down the government."

Last fall, Cruz and fellow tea party conservatives said they would refuse to approve government spending unless the bill eliminated funding for Obamacare. But after the government had been shut down for two weeks, Republicans approved a bill that did not change Obamacare-related spending.

Meanwhile, the Texas senator says that the fight against Obamacare was the right one. He said Obama should use this week's State of the Union address not just to say he's sorry about the healthcare reform program's problems, but do something about it.

"If you're really sorry, you do something to fix the problem," said Cruz. "He says he's sorry, but he doesn't fix the problems."

Cruz also discussed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, saying he likes the governor, and finds him "brash and outspoken," and that he thinks it's unfortunate he's found himself in "this mess" as a result of the George Washington Bridge closure scandal.

But at the same time, he deftly dodged questions about Christie's potential presidential future and his own.

"My focus is on the challenges facing the country right now," Cruz said. "My focus is standing and fighting right now in the Senate."

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