Updated 10/10/2013 at 9:08pm
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz really does want healthcare reform, just not Obamacare, the Texas Republican said Thursday night.
The conservative firebrand and self-made arch-foe of the Affordable Care Act was on CNN’s “Crossfire” to defend the tactics he proposed that helped drive the United States to a government shutdown.
And those tactics seem to be working by Cruz’s standards.
Cruz: Use debt ceiling debate for leverage
“An awful lot of Washington would like to change the subject,” on fighting Obamacare, Cruz said. “Who hasn't stopped focusing on Obamacare is the American people.”
Cruz argued that he has gotten the grassroots outrage against the health care law he has always sought.
“Millions of Americans rose up and said this thing isn't working,” the freshman senator said. “That's what we need to stay focused on.”
It was Cruz who helped propose a government funding bill that attached language defunding President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
The defunding language was a rider that Democrats have long said was unacceptable and ultimately pushed the government into shutdown when a deal over spending could not be reached.
Back and forth between Democrats and Republicans over how to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling continue, with House Republicans passing multiple piecemeal funding bills that include Veteran’s Affairs and national parks.
Senate Democrats have refused to take up those bills, arguing that the entire government should be funded and calling anything else hostage negotiations made under duress.
Any Cruz is good news for Democrats
Cruz’s “Crossfire” opponent Thursday, Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, continued that charge repeatedly.
Funding only parts of the government, Whitehouse argued, is akin to a hostage taker who will “let the occasional hostage out while holding all the other hostages.”
Cruz, a nationally ranked debate champion, stuck to his talking points.
“Why is it a hostage negotiation on a straight-up funding on the VA?” Cruz asked. “Why can't we all come together and say our vets should all be above politics?”
Republicans have held up the funding of everything else, Whitehouse countered.
Cruz has drawn considerable fire for his anti-Obamacare tactics even within his own party, with fellow Republicans like Rep. Peter King of New York calling Cruz “a fraud” for promising that he could defund Obamacare when all along he could not.
When asked if he owed the GOP an apology for its dropping approval ratings, Cruz instead turned the question into an indictment of Democrats who “do not want to discuss Obamacare.”
On the other hand, “House Republicans are listening to the millions of Americans” Cruz says are suffering under Obamacare, losing their jobs, work hours and insurance.
Whitehouse did not say that Obamacare was untouchable; arguing only that any reform should come through the normal legislative process instead of by tying it to larger issues of government funding and the debt ceiling.
That said, Whitehouse still largely defended the law, citing constituents and the costs of Medicaid and Medicare that he says are going down.
“You've got to believe that Obamacare has something to do with those huge savings,” Whitehouse said.
Whitehouse argued that Republicans decided early on that Obamacare was going to be a failure.
It was “a political choice to pull all support from anything this president wanted to do,” Whitehouse said.
When accused of countering any positive health care reform, Cruz argued that “I am a big supporter of healthcare reform,” a cause he says he has long championed.
“Millions of Americans rose up and said this thing isn't working,” Cruz said. What Cruz fails to realize is that millions of people rose up and re-elected Obama. Matter a fact 5 million more people than Romney.
Cruz is full of it. While Teddy's approval rating tumbles, favorability for Obamacare is on the rise. Ted never had a plan for healthcare, merely the Koch talking points to discredit ACA because it would help so many people.
Obamacare can't work since it's socialism. Even if Obama keeps this government shutdown it still should not be funded.
Over $630 million spent on the Obamacare website and we can not get enrollment statistics?
And millions of Americans don't want Ted Cruz.
Cruz also said: Green eggs and ham, green eggs and ham, I do not like green eggs and ham. Which makes about as much sense as what he now saying.
Yeah, the American people are still focused on Obamacare, they want it. Actually, they REALLY want single payer and getting for-profit out of health care.
In related news, Republicans are for jobs, jobs, jobs, just not jobs bills.
Yeah, he's for health care reform, he just hasn't put forth a single idea for health care reform. I've look at the Republican's American Health Care Reform Act and it won't do squat. It won't lower costs, expand coverage or improve health care outcomes.
Obamacare – the biggest disaster in the history of the United States. They didn't read, they underfunded it, they spent 5 times what they estimated to set it up, and the dang thing is sitting in some alternative cyberspace recalculating...recalculating...recalculating....recalculating. Jobs are cut and reduced while premium costs explode, and our gov't leaders have the audacity to exclude themselves and their friends from all this – AT OUR EXPENSE!! We get to make up what they don't pay...cause ya know...we have to have enough contributors to make this thing work.
Cruz is right. Obamacare is manifestly a catastrophe. Try to spin it all you want, CNN, but people are living this mess.
Great edit there CNN @ the end. Cruz was about to pull out the Hoffa's letter and read it verbatim. Cruz 2016!
Mr Cruz in a country of 330 MILLION people you will CLEARLY SEE it doesnt matter because your outnumbered No one said all medicind tastes good FYI
Cruz is a scary looking dude. He has that patronizing smile that all zealots possess when being challenged. I know his record at Harvard and that he was brilliiant, etc, but Jeez, he's nuts.
And yet, he has nothing to offer, let alone intelligent or useful.
At this point, ACA lowers health care costs, while the GOP has absolutely nothing else (interesting that this approach was originally GOP ).
This guy Cruz sure looks shifty.
Their big idea "across state lines" c_ap. How is that supposed to work in reality. Who the heck is going to drive across state lines when you live in the middle of a state to get basic health care. Such BS. Single payer. Now.
It is too late. The US is over. The govt built programs to give things to people that they could have gotten on their own. The programs were built so politicians could buy votes get into office and retire with millions in the bank. The programs for medical care and retirement are on a trajectory to collapse within 20 years. The people suckered into these will have no job, no retirement, and no medical care.
The next Nation will learn from this be a land of opportunity not stealing from the producers to buy votes from the looters.
How does he feel about RomneyCare, the folks in Mass. seem to be happy after 7 years. Its one thing to be against something, but if you are. do you have a better idea. I have not seen it yet, Teddy. So far you are just a boil on America's backside.
who doesn't want affordable care?? most americans i know do absolutely want good health care and they think everyone should have it. thank goodness after so many years we have a president that had the gumption to persevere against big money interests that don't want us to have health care.
Cruz even looks like a thinner Joe McCarty. Coincidence? I don't think so.
What a nut job. What is he going to do when Texas turns into a blue state in a few years?
“Millions of Americans rose up and said this thing isn't working,” he said.
Do you mean the website Mr. Cruz? Could this guy be any dumber? It's like Sara Palin with an advanced degree.
Cruz is for Cruz. He is about as close to McCarthy as you can get.