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Ted Cruz jousts with CBS's Bob Schieffer on government shutdown

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas was interviewed on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on January 26, 2014. Much of the interview was taken up by the recent government shutdown, which many accused Cruz of causing. Cruz begged to disagree.

Senator Ted Cruz
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“Throughout the government shutdown, I opposed a government shutdown. I said we shouldn't shut down the government. I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall.

“The reason they did so is that President Obama dug in and said he wouldn't compromise and he wouldn't negotiate. In fact, I went to one of the most surreal meetings I've ever been at, where President Obama invited all the senate Republicans to go up to the White House. He sat us in a room. This is in the middle of the shutdown.

“And he said, ‘I invited you here to tell you I will not negotiate. I will not compromise on anything.’ That's why we had a shutdown. “

Cruz noted that Democrats boasted that the shutdown benefited them politically. Cruz’s desire to change the narrative of the shut down, particularly in the context of the meltdown of the Obamacare rollout, is crucial for the political fortunes of both the Republican Party and Cruz’s. If enough Americans believe that the Obama administration shut down the government to support the implementation of a law then they would be more inclined to punish Democrats. That Cruz would be seen as the hero of the fight to stop Obamacare would certainly be a plus should he decide to run for higher office.

On that subject, though, the junior senator from Texas was understandably coy two years before the commencement of the presidential campaigning season. He gave a standard non answer that was not Shermanesque to say the least.

“Well, look, my focus is on the challenges facing this country right now (UNINTEL) senate. My focus, for example, is on the abuse of power from the president.”

What the answer will be a year from now, particularly if the Republicans take the Senate, putting Cruz in the majority, remains to be seen.

Addendum: Video added that shows an unaired portion of the "Face the Nation" interview.

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