Ted Cruz: Democrats caused the shutdown

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) argued forcefully Sunday that the government shutdown late last year was not the Republican Party's fault, but was in fact the Democrats' doing -- a contention that even members of Cruz's own party disagree with.

"I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall," Cruz said on CBS's "Face the Nation," according to a transcript. "The reason they did so is that President Obama dug in and said he wouldn't compromise and he wouldn't negotiate."

Cruz said it was actually President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) who threatened and caused the shutdown.

"I didn't threaten to shut down the government the last time," Cruz said. "I don't think we should ever shut down the government."

During the shutdown, Cruz and other tea party conservatives said they wouldn't vote to fund the government unless the agreement eliminated funding for Obamacare. The White House and Democrats, meanwhile, balked at any changes to Obamacare.

Eventually, after more than two weeks of a shutdown, GOP leaders like House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) gave in and passed a bill without Obamacare changes -- over the objections of Cruz and others.

Boehner has since acknowledged that attempting to defund Obamacare was a failed strategy. And he said last week on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" that the GOP was indeed responsible for the shutdown.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · January 26