Former White House advisor Van Jones asked Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Crossfire Thursday if he thought he owed his party an apology because now "obviously there’s no chance Obamacare will be defunded.”
Jones cited an op-ed Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wrote for the Wall Street Journal proposing how to end the shutdown without mentioning any changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Jones asked if Cruz would support Ryan raising the debt ceiling to avoid a “horrific” default “without your Obamacare obsession in it.”
“An awful lot of Washington would like to change the subject,” Cruz admitted. “But you know who hasn’t stopped focusing on Obamacare is the American people.”
Jones noted that the popularity of the Republican Party is now lower than it has ever been in history.
“Do you feel like you owe your party an apology?” Jones asked.
“Listen,” Jones continued, “you have people who believed in you, they believed that you were somehow going to be able to defund Obamacare, they believed the strategy of shutdown might have a chance. They followed you into a ditch. And now, there’s obviously there’s no chance Obamacare will be defunded, and we’re on the brink of a horrific default. Do you think that in the reflection of your own heart, you might say, ‘You know what? I’m a new kid here, I think I owe you an apology’?”
“You know, Van, I know you desperately want to change the topic from Obamacare,” Cruz responded without answering the question. “Democrats in this town do not want to discuss Obamacare. Why? Because it isn’t working.”
He added that House Republicans are standing firm because they are “listening to the millions of Americans who are losing their jobs, who are being pushed into part-time work, who are facing skyrocketing health care.”
Panel member Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., responded that the “notion that Obamacare is a failure, I think, is a product of right-wing histrionics.”
Whitehouse said he’s hearing increasingly positive stories about the health care exchanges in his state.
“The Republican Party decided that Obamacare was going to be a failure early on, before Obamacare was even decided,” Whitehouse said. “It was a political choice to pull all support for anything this president wanted to do. Now they have to live with it, so they have to maintain the story line. But I have to tell you Senator Cruz, I don’t see it at home, I don’t believe it.”