Eyes Roll as Ted Cruz Denies Role in 2013 Government Shutdown; ‘Speechless' Says One Senator

WASHINGTON -- To hear Sen. Ted Cruz tell it, he deserves no blame for the 2013 government shutdown that cost the U.S. economy $24 billion."I have consistently opposed shutdowns," he insisted Monday in a testy exchange with journalists, hours before Congress voted to end a far less damaging three-day shutdown.The assertion doesn't match the historical record."You've left me speechless," New Hampshire Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who seethed at Cruz throughout the 2013 episode, told reporters when asked about her Texas colleague's stance.But while Cruz's stance caused dismay and allegations of revisionism, he has always maintained that Democrats bore responsibility for the 16-day shutdown -- along with GOP congressional leaders who lacked the backbone to back him up in the crusade to defund Obamacare.The episode remains a key moment in Cruz's five-year Senate career, elevating his status among tea partiers and propelling his 2016 presidential bid. He alluded to it often during the primaries, reminding voters that none of his White House rivals had fought as hard in Washington for their agenda.Yet he has always denied responsibility for the shutdown, even in the run-up, at its height, and in the days afterward, as other Republicans openly fumed at him for pushing the tactic. Cruz spent the summer of 2013 promoting the idea that the fight to defund Obamacare was worth the risk of shutdown, and stirring public pressure on GOP leaders."A lot of Republicans are scared about being beaten up by President Obama for wanting to shut down the government," he told a hotel ballroom of young conservatives that July.It was one of many times he publicly promoted the threat of a shutdown in the crusade against Obamacare.  Continue reading...

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