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.
I'm all for health care reform. But it is one thing to say it Sen Cruz – its another to actually have an ideal of how and what you plan to reform.
Just got our BC/BS letter for 01/01/2014 ObamaCare increase of 400% per month increase in our health insurance premium!!!
Retaliers take note there will be VERY little Christmas buying in order to pay for our ObamaCare premium increase now & forever!
This ObamaCare premium incease has now become a 2nd mortage payment for our household budget and destroys more of our retirement plan.
Cam someone not stop this new Federal tax????
ted don't go again for a interview where they don't give u a chance to respond
Ted Cruz is nothing else but a FRAUD!! He has no end game !!
Ted Cruz is a selfish piece of Trash!! He could not care trashing and berating the American people with his ideologue!
Ted Cruz has even paid pollsters to prop up his poll numbers!! Shame on you Ted Cruz!
The republicans and Ted Cruz are putting their own political agenda ahead of what is good for the American people! Throwing the american people under the bus!
What other position could this arrogant man maintain?
I'd say this is the rantings of a crazy person, but I think "the rantings of a person acting as a crazy person" is more accurate. This guy knows what he's doing, he wants to be rich and famous and have a small crowd of mentally disturbed people that follow his touring bus around like Sarah Palin. I think big business is realizing that they put all their eggs into one very phony basket and theyre p***ed.
Just take the same law and quit calling it Obamacare. Start calling it the ACA and say it's Cruz's idea and he'd be all for it.
The poor little attention starved fool.
Cruz is for Cruz.
Ted Cruz and House Republicans need to stop this game! I am a Veteran! And I will not get a check next month. I do not and never will blame Democrats or President Barack Obama. And I will sleep in the streets before I go for their give a little here and there bills. I and all Vets I feel are giving people! What more is someone willing to give then their life. So do they think that Veterans are willing to get checks while the people they were willing to die for get nothing. It is all a game to try and make themselves look good.
I wouldn't trust Cruz with a paper route.
Cruz and his supporters have such a focused view(tunnel vision) that they are lost in the forest. What would happen to the rest of the government programs if the senate approved 11 of the 14 bills waiting for the Senate to vote on? This ideological tactic is self serving, discriminatory and unsustainable in the long run. I predict that the Republican party is digging a grave for itself. As an independent voter I find their actions unconscionable, immoral, deplorable and destructive to our people and the world economy at large. The US is losing its leadership position during this mess. I wish them good luck for the next elections.
It is obvious that Cruz is a lobbyist for the medical insurance giants. Cruz is spinning his arguments to the extreme of taking the government hostage. The GOP, and particularly Boehner take much of the blame to let this monster run wild, and it tells even more of the electorate in Texas who elected Cruz, and continue to support this wacko.
Cruz is a moron. Hopefully the Republican Party will kick out all the tea baggers so they can go back to making progress instead of just saying, "no" for the last 5 years.
He is the problem not the solution.
Why can't anyone offer a viable alternative?
Maybe he is one of those who don't like Obamacare but thinks the ACA is fine.
After 10 days of trying to get on the web site and many, many phone calls I finally got to speak to a representative today. Much to my surprise you have to 1-fill out an application first before they will talk about anything or 2-fill out an application online before getting any info. But here is the scary part, after you complete the umpteen questions the representative says " Within two weeks you should receive your information by mail to see which programs you qualify for". I thought we decided which one we wanted. According to this girl I spoke with this Obamacare is not anything like it was sold to us. Can't wait for the two week to see if this is a viable source of insurance or just another feed my rich friends. I hate this low class unethical government we have.
This guy is a joke. He led the republicans right off the cliff and the funny thing is he actually believes that he could be president, unbelievable, lol lol
Cruz may be a good debater, but he is a terrible lier.
i like cruz he don't just go along with the crowd he is his own man
The important take away: the Koch brothers spent hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the Republican party and just had an epic fail. Good news, no great news for the Republic. Let the Koch brothers serve as a wake up call to limit campaign contributions from corporations and let this send a message to all the other wanna-be Czars out there: spend your money on something tangible, like curing cancer. Hopefully the loyal Tea Party members will find another, a more worthy cause to support, they deserve better than Ted Cruz and his ambition.
Mr. Whitehouse, why do you and your minions (especially Obama) continue to lie to the American populace?!
Obamacare is train wreck, pure and simple. Actually, some Republicans are, in essence, trying to bail Democrats out.
Also, it is the Democrats that are being intransigent (especially Bobble Head Pelosi, Senile Reid and of course, América's Bully-in-Chief.