Cruz, Schieffer Spar Over Gov't Shutdown

He said, he said.

Things got a little testy between CBS host Bob Schieffer and Senator Ted Cruz on Sunday's Face the Nation. Schieffer indicted Cruz for the government shutdown last year and insisted on knowing whether his future plans would include another shutdown. Cruz instead blamed President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid for the shutdown, something Schieffer would not accept. 

Schieffer said Cruz became a "celebrity" by leading the government shutdown over Obamacare. Then he asked if Cruz had plans to do this again. Cruz responded:

Well Bob, with all due respect, I don't agree with the premise of your question. Throughout the government shutdown, I opposed a government shutdown… I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall.

Schieffer was not satisfied. Here is a transcript of the rest of the conversation:

Schieffer: The question I asked you was, would you ever conceive of threatening to shut down the government again?

Cruz: Well, as I said, I didn't threaten to shut down the government the last time. I don't think we should ever shut down the government. I repeatedly voted…[crosstalk]

Schieffer: Well, Senator, if you didn't threaten to the shut down the government, who was it that did? I mean, but we'll go on to something else.

Cruz: It was Harry Reid and President Obama. Bob, look, I understand that the White House said over and over again the shut down is the Republican's fault, and I understand, that's what you're repeating. But the reality is, I voted over and over again to fund the Federal Government and the reason we had a shut down -- look, the Democrats were very candid. I know they told you we think the shut down benefits us politically. Right now the democrats are telling you that they want another shut down because they think it benefits them politically. It's hard to understand that they forced the shut down when they think it benefits them politically.

Schieffer: Senator, I know what Republicans were telling me like John Boehner who said this was a disaster and never again. But let me ask you one more question here. The government is -- 

Cruz: Let me ask you a question -- 

Schieffer: Well now, just a minute. The government is approaching another deadline, February 7th, when it will run out of money unless Congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling. Will you agree to raise the debt ceiling or will you demand something in return? 

Cruz: Look, of course we should do something. We shouldn't just write a blank check. Five years ago the national debt was $10 trillion. That took 43 presidents over 200 years to build up $10 trillion in debt. Today, it's over $17 trillion. It's grown 70% with one president in five years. And if you ask any American outside of Washington, should we just keep raising the debt ceiling while doing nothing to have fundamental structural controls on spending to get Washington's spending problem under control? It doesn't matter if you're talking to a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or Libertarian anyone outside of Washington says, of course…What the president is saying is, he just wants a blank credit card to keep growing and growing the debt. And I think that's irresponsible. I think it's irresponsible to our kids and grandkids to stick that debt on them because we can't live within our means.