Washington (CNN) – Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a tea party firebrand, said Thursday the fight that led to a government shutdown was worth it, but he acknowledged the GOP's messaging wasn't as effective.
"Anytime you fight for something you really believe in and something you think is important, then the fight is going to be worth it," the South Carolina Republican said on CNN's "New Day."
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Mulvaney was part of a group of House conservatives that tried to tie anti-Obamacare provisions to must-pass legislation in a strategy spearheaded by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Senate Democrats and the White House, however, didn't budge, and the stalemate resulted in the government shutdown that lasted 16 days.
Multiple polls showed that both major political parties suffered in public opinion, but Republicans, including tea party conservatives, lost slightly more support than Democrats. A Pew Research Center poll conducted October 9 through Sunday indicated 49% of Americans said they have a negative view of the tea party, a slight rise of four percentage points from June.
Three in 10 questioned said they see the tea party in a positive light, down seven points from June.
But Mulvaney argued their message simply "didn't get out as effectively as we wanted it to."
"We fought for fairness. We wanted our families to be treated the same as large corporations under Obamacare," he told CNN's Kate Bolduan. "In hindsight, yes, if you stand up for what you believe in, I think you'll always end up on the right side of things."
Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, said the recent showdown was "unnecessary."
"Everybody's feeling good this morning, but it's like the kid who beat his head against the tree and somebody said, 'Why are you doing that?' He said, 'Because it feels so good when I stop.' This has been a brutal couple of weeks and pretty much unnecessary," King said on "New Day."
The deal passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama late Wednesday night keeps the federal government running through January 15 and raises the amount the country can borrow through February 7.
King expressed frustration that the deal simply kicks the can down the road, but added the stakes are high as members from the House and Senate work to find a long-term budget agreement in conference by some point in December.
"The center piece of the deal, really, is the conference. Basically they hit pause, we're going to go back to work. We're not going to break the debt ceiling. But those dates are looming out there in January, and I think people understand we shouldn't be putting the country through this."
- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.