Noted progressive activist and former Obama administration czar Van Jones went head-to-head with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on CNN’s “Crossfire” Thursday night as the pair battled over Obamacare and the Republican party.
Jones began by noting that polling shows the GOP is extremely unpopular, which he attributed to Cruz’s “leadership” and his plan to defund Obamacare.
“Do you feel like you owe your party an apology? Listen, you have people who believed in you, they believed that you were somehow going to be able to defund Obamacare, they believed the strategy of shutdown might have a chance,” Jones said. “They followed you into a ditch. And now, there’s obviously there’s no chance Obamacare will be defunded and we’re on the brink of a horrific default.”
“Do you think that in the reflection of your own heart, you might say, ‘You know what? I’m a new kid here, I think I owe you an apology?’” he added.
Chuckling at Jones’s premise, Cruz responded: “Van, I know you desperately want to change the topic from Obamacare.”
“Democrats in this town do not want to discuss Obamacare,” the Texas Republican explained. “Why? Because it isn’t working.”
Cruz then argued that it’s not just Republicans who are polling poorly, pointing out that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has fallen to 37 percent and Democrats have the lowest support among the middle class they’ve had the 40 years of polling.
That’s because the Democrats have refused to negotiate in regards to the debt ceiling and the federal budget, turning down GOP proposals to fund vital parts of the government during the shutdown, Cruz said. Obama and the Democrats are also losing support because millions of Americans don’t want Obamacare, he added.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) jumped in, saying that the idea Obamacare is a “failure” is the “product of right-wing histrionics.” He told an isolated story, which he claims proves how great the health care exchanges are going so far.
“The Republican Party decided that Obamacare was going to be a failure early on, before Obamacare was even decided. It was a political choice to pull all support for anything this president wanted to do,” Whitehouse said as Cruz looked on skeptically. “Now they have to live with it, so they have to maintain the story line. But I have to tell you Senator Cruz, I don’t see it at home, I don’t believe it.”
However, Cruz was ready to respond to Whitehouse’s “right-wing histrionics” comment.
“I’m curious if you think it was right-wing histrionics when James Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters, said that Obamacare is destroying the health care of millions hardworking men and women in this county?” Cruz asked.
After first accusing Cruz of taking the quote “out of context,” Whitehouse replied, “I’m not Mr. Hoffa” before Jones changed the topic.
Watch the Crossfire segment below via CNN: