CNN "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees" - Transcript: Government Shutdown

Interview

By:  Pete King
Date: Oct. 15, 2013
Location: Unknown

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Congressman Peter King, a Republican, joins me now live.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: What you have seen today, how do you describe it?

KING: It makes absolutely no sense. I mean, you know, the game is over. We have to get this done. And John Boehner has tried everything he can and there are just some people in our party that no matter what he tries to do they won't go along. So hopefully we'll get some adult supervision from the Senate or something will happen.

But we're talking about a real disaster coming up and Boehner -- John, the speaker has tried everything he can. And no matter what he does, there's a certain group that's not going to go along with him.

COOPER: Well, the speaker could have, I mean, brought up a clean C.R. before. I mean, to say he's done everything, is that really true?

KING: Well, I say he's done everything -- he has two roles. One is to run the House, the other is to try to keep the party united. So he's tried to keep the party united and he's tried to move this forward. And it seems very difficult to keep the party united.

COOPER: What do you make of Dana Bash saying from a source, a Democratic source, that there seems to be perhaps some sort of a deal on the Senate side. Is that something you would support on -- if it came to the House?

KING: I would. Listen. I've said all along this was madness. It was madness to follow Ted Cruz. It was absolute madness to be saying we're going to shut down the government, to defund Obamacare. It never made sense and now we're -- we're down to apparently he's trying to pass a C.R. and take away health insurance from the congressional employees. That's why we shut the government for. It makes no sense.

COOPER: And you said all along that those who were promising their constituents, defunding or delaying Obamacare, that was a fraud.

KING: Yes. Ted Cruz is a total fraud from the start. It never could have succeeded. I can't imagine going into battle knowing you can't win and yet continuing to tell your people you are winning. It's just -- it's like a never, never land. Parallel universes, whatever you want to call it.

COOPER: What do you think would happen with this Senate bill assuming that it's under the same parameters that we've been hearing about since yesterday in terms of continuing the government, ending the shutdown and not really -- it's not defunding, it's not delaying Obamacare? Will -- could that pass in the House? KING: Yes, I'm certain as I can be of anything, I'm certain of that. If it comes to a vote on the House floor, you can probably get all the Democrats and certainly enough Republicans to get it through.

COOPER: And you're confident Speaker Boehner would allow it to come to the House?

KING: I'm -- I don't know what John would do. But I would think, though, if he's going to be involved in expediting the process at all, he probably then would allow it to come to a vote in the House floor. It's getting too close to the wire.

COOPER: Have you ever seen anything like this?

KING: No. Noting this bad. No. Because -- again, I've seen some tough battles. Back in 1995 and '95 you can argue whether or not there should have been a government shutdown. That was over two competing budgets. It was a real philosophical difference and both sides were negotiating throughout.

This is just -- we shut down the government which is really a dramatic thing to do for a goal that we never had a chance of obtaining based on one guy from Texas who somehow convinced 40 House members that this was a crusade they had to carry out.

COOPER: Do you think this has hurt Ted Cruz or do you think this has benefited him among his constituents?

KING: It may have helped him among his constituents but nationally it has to have hurt him. And I just wish that more national leaders in the Republican Party, rather than just criticize Congress generally, which is easy to do, target Ted Cruz. This would not have happened.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Why aren't people naming names? You're one of the few who's -- you know, comes right out --

KING: Just very afraid of primaries or afraid of offending someone or they want to somehow stay above the battle and then come in later on and say it was handled badly. The fact is, we're going to be backed no matter what happens. We're going to be doing this again in three or four moments. He's going to try to rewrite history. He's going to say we were on the verge of winning back in October and Republicans panicked, they quit so soon. We're going to win this time.

That, I can just see that nonsense coming from him that we have to really go out of our way to target him now and show that he's a false prophet and a phony.

COOPER: And to those who say it wouldn't be that bad if the deadline passed, if we didn't raise the debt.

KING: I can't imagine any crazier than that. You know, that's what you expect radical Democrats in the 1960s to say, not conservative Republicans.

COOPER: All right. Appreciate your time. Thank you, Congressman.

KING: Anderson, thank you.

COOPER: Congressman King.

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