Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz -- on a host of short-lists for top 2013 news makers -- on Sunday defended himself and his push to defund ObamaCare despite it resulting in a partial government shutdown.
“If you’re trying to change Washington, that’s the Washington establishment pushing back,” the Tea Party-backed Cruz told ABC’s “This Week."
In October, after barnstorming the country to garner public support for the defunding effort, Cruz helped convinced Republicans not to fund the federal government unless the deal was tied to big changes for President Obama’s signature health care law.
“You’ve got conservatives that stood strong and said 'Let's stop the train wreck that is ObamaCare,’ ” said the first-term senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate.
He also put the blame on Democrats by saying they wouldn’t negotiate.
“I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” Cruz added.
The federal government partially shutdown for 16 days, then reopened with a deal that included no concessions for Republicans.
Cruz, who was a candidate for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, also grabbed the national spotlight this year when he spoke for 21 hours on the Senate floor in a filibuster-like monologue to try to stop funding for ObamaCare in the Democrat-controlled upper chamber.
He dismissed repeated questions Sunday about whether his firebrand style is too alienating to work in Washington.
“I want to do my job,” he said. “That’s really my focus.”