John McCain still says fellow GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was on a "fool's errand" when he led an effort to defund Obamcare that shut down the government for 16 days, but he says it is now time to move to a positive agenda.
"The fiasco of [the Obamacare] rollout has been obscured because of this internecine strife that's been going on in the Republican Party," McCain said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
"Keep up the fight against Obamacare, but don't shut down the government and have so much collateral damage to innocent Americans."
The intraparty battle has hurt the GOP, which is at record-low approval ratings
, the Arizona Republican said. The question, Sen. McCain said, is how deep is the damage and how long will it last?
Republicans hope to regain control of the Senate and hold onto the House in the 2014 midterm elections, but McCain said the GOP brand is so low right now, even his 101-year-old mother is angry at them.
Cruz, R-Texas, has not ruled out another government shutdown
when the new deadline of January 15 rolls around, but McCain said "it will not happen. … I am very confident the American people will not stand for another repetition of this disaster."
If not for the shutdown, the news would have focused on the disastrous rollout of Obamacare on Oct. 1, McCain said. The system has been rife with glitches. People have been unable to log in, and some supporters of the Affordable Care Act have expressed surprise that rates have increased for some who expected them to go down.
"Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with some smart people, bring them back to Washington and fix this problem. It's ridiculous and everybody knows that," McCain said.
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