POLITICS

John Cornyn: 'The Effort To Defund Obamacare Was Not Achievable'

12/10/2013 11:16 am ET
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Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the effort to defund Obamacare "was not achievable" in an interview with Texas Monthly, where he also opened up about his relationship with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

"I have to give Ted a lot of credit for capturing the imagination of people who are angry at Washington. We did have a disagreement about tactics, but it wasn’t about policy," Cornyn told Brian D. Sweany of Texas Monthly. "I think we have different styles, and that may be because I was a judge for thirteen years, so my style of discourse is more suited for the courtroom. I’ve had a fair amount of success in the Senate, which has been good for Texas, and I’m number two in the leadership, which is good for advancing the Texas model in Washington, D.C. But I don’t think there is any daylight in terms of our philosophy."

Sweany asked Cornyn about his hope "that the people who advocated a government shutdown" -- which includes Cruz, who led the fight to defund Obamacare -- "had learned a lesson." Cornyn called the fight against Obamacare "not achievable":

I would say that I hope we’ll be less confrontational. It’s a difference of opinion within the family about the tactics of achieving a goal, not the goal itself. But you’re right, I thought the effort to defund Obamacare was not achievable, and I think the facts bear that out. I’ve made mistakes in how I’ve approached certain things, and I’ve learned from every one of them. That’s part of being a rational human being. I’ve read that a number of the folks who were proponents of the defund Obamacare on the continuing resolution are not going to pursue that tactic again, and I think that’s good. The shutdown did not help our cause. What did help our cause was the president’s implementation of Obamacare, which has overwhelmed everything else. I don’t hear anyone thinking that another government shutdown is the way to achieve our goals.

Cornyn's criticism of Cruz has him in hot water ahead of the 2014 elections. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) announced Monday he'll challenge Cornyn, citing the way the senator "treated his fellow congressmen" as his main reason for joining the race.

“We are extremely disappointed in the way [Cornyn] treated his fellow congressmen and broke the 11th commandment and undermined Ted Cruz’s fight to stop Obamacare," Stockman said Monday. "We think he needs to be held accountable for his decisions."

Read Texas Monthly's entire interview with Cornyn here.

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