Priebus Unlikely to Support Another Shutdown

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Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 06:28 AM

By Greg Richter

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus says he probably won't support another government shutdown in January, but he's more curious if Democrats are actually going to run in the 2014 midterms on the dubious achievements of Obamacare.

Priebus appeared Tuesday on CNN's "Crossfire" along with his Democratic counterpart Debbie Wasserman Schultz in what was billed as a rare appearance between the two parties' leadership.

Hosts Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter were hardly able to get a word in edgewise as the RNC and DNC chairs traded jabs and tried to make their points. But that was fine with Gingrich, who was forced to relive his days as House speaker as he used his fist to gavel the proceedings to a close at the end of the 30-minute program.

"You will both be invited back," Gingrich said.

Priebus said the GOP is doing well in midterms, but struggles in presidential elections, having lost the last two to President Barack Obama.

He conceded it is "very important" to win presidential elections, but noted that his party isn't in as much trouble as Wasserman Schultz tried to portray. Republicans control 29 governorships and 24 state legislatures, he said.

Wasserman Schultz said Republicans can't win the White House because "they're dramatically out of touch with most Americans in the country." A rebrand of the party didn't work, she said, because it has done things to alienate blacks, Hispanics, Jews, and non-Christians.

Democrats, on the other hand, are reaching out to expand their party, she said.

"We've turned red states to purple to blue," she said, while no blue states are anywhere near being turned to red.

Priebus repeatedly pressed Wasserman Shultz on whether Democrats will run on Obamacare in 2014. She said they would, predicting that their message of allowing people to have affordable healthcare, combined with the government shutdown in October, would ensure their wins.

“You still haven’t answered the question: who’s running on Obamacare?” Priebus asked Wasserman Schultz, commenting on the ACA’s troubled implementation.

“I did answer,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Any of our candidates will be able to run on Obamacare.”

Priebus was unconvinced, predicting huge GOP gains if Democrats use a pro-Obamcare strategy.

Individual Democrats in contested races haven't been as optimistic as Wasserman Schultz. They have distanced themselves from Obama and his health insurance law that has had a shaky start-up with a malfunctioning website and broken promises of allowing people to keep insurance and doctors they like.

The Obamacare foul-ups have given a reprieve to the GOP, which suffered heavily in the polls after tea party Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah led an effort to repeal Obamacare that ended up partially shutting down the government for 16 days.

A temporary budget agreement postponed talks until mid-January, but party leadership has indicated there will not be another shutdown over the issue.

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