President Barack Obama told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview on Friday that he doesn’t believe Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have followed his example as a U.S. senator.
Obama said when he reached office, his philosophy was to “keep a pretty low profile in the Senate and just do the work.”
He admitted the media tried to keep him from doing that.
“But I didn’t go around courting the media, and I certainly didn’t go around try to shut down the government,” the president said.
“I recognize that in today’s media age, being controversial, taking controversial positions, rallying the most extreme parts of your base, whether it’s left or right, is a lot of times the fastest way to get attention and raise money,” he added. “But it’s not good for government.”
He said Congress needs to remember “these are real folks that are being impacted.”
“I’ve got staff here who may be expecting their first child and right now they’re not sure if they’re going to be able to meet expenses,” he noted. “I’ve got young staff who could have a car accident, who may have $1,000 deductible on their car insurance … if they don’t get a paycheck, they may be broke.”
“There is no reason government should be shutdown,” he said, noting that Democrats even tried to agree to Republican spending levels for two months so the government can reopen without a deal being struck.
"I mean, essentially what’s happened here is Democrats are saying they are prepared to pass a Republican budget for two months while negotiations continue,” Obama said. “We just can’t have a whole bunch of other extraneous stuff in it, and the obsession with the Affordable Care Act, with Obamacare, has to stop; that that is not something that should be a price for keeping the government open.”