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CNN "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees" - Transcript: Ted Cruz and ACA


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COOPER: Pretty blunt stuff especially there from Representative Peter King. He joins me tonight.

You've used some harsh words to describe this senator, Congressman. Why do you say Senator Cruz is a fraud?

KING: Because he is selling a strategy which he knows cannot work. He knows it's doomed to failure. He knew that all summer when he was making appearances around the country and doing TV ads and robocalls, advancing a policy saying that we could just defund Obama and that would work.

It cannot work. The Senate is controlled by Democrats. The president would veto it. He knows that. This is the president's crowning achievement. There's no way in the world that he's going to agree to have Obamacare defunded.

COOPER: So is this just about his own ego?

KING: I'm not a psychiatrist. But I assume he's enjoying the publicity. I assume he's building up a good mailing list. I assume he's putting himself in a position whether he's going to run for president or just become a folk hero to certain people.

COOPER: The people on Twitter like Sarah Palin and others, a lot of conservatives who say -- who support him are saying, look, he's standing on principle. He's trying to make Washington listen.

KING: Now to me this is like the Charge of the Light Brigade or it's like Gallipoli, or Kamikaze pilot. And he's not standing on principle. First, I don't know what he's standing on. But he's standing for a strategy that can't work. It's going to personally help him as far as his political status but it's going to be bad for the country and bad for the Republican Party.

COOPER: The senator made a wage, all the money in his bank account on how constituents, Republican members, would want them to vote. I just want to play that, what he said.


CRUZ: If you grab 100 of your constituents, wouldn't be a 50-50 proposition. I don't even think it'd be a 60-40 proposition. Your constituents overwhelmingly would say no. Don't vote to give Harry Reid the ability to fund Obamacare without fixing this train wreck, without stopping this nightmare.


COOPER: So Congressman, what do you say to that? Would your constituents want you to vote to defund Obamacare even if it meant a government shutdown?

KING: No, they would not at all. And if I ask my constituents, those I've spoken to think he's crazy. They know what's real and what's not, and they know a guy who's being basically almost like a medicine man there selling goods that he knows are phony goods and really taking a good cause, the cause of trying to dismantle Obamacare and trying to repeal it and using it for his own purposes in a way that's going to hurt us and it's only going to help the president.

COOPER: Do you believe the Republicans will get the blame if the government shuts down?

KING: All of the polling shows that and quite frankly I think we should if it's done under this basis. Now I'm -- the debt ceiling is a whole separate issue where we have legitimate issues there and the president should negotiate with us. If he can, you know, negotiate with Putin and he's certainly going to be able to sit down with John Boehner.

But as far as this particular issue of defunding Obamacare, yes, we will be blamed.

COOPER: This is unusual for a member of Congress to be so tough on a member of his own party. I mean, saying that he's a fraud. Saying what he's doing is -- you know, is about basically his own fundraising and his own mailing list. Why are you speaking out like this?

KING: Well, I don't think we owe any loyalty to Ted Cruz. He spent, you know, the last -- last months of his summer trying to put Republicans on the spot, trying to force and basically intimidate Republican members of Congress to vote his way with the implicit threats of primaries. He had no regard or respect for us so why should we be concerned about him at all?

I mean, I've never seen anyone as unpopular in Republican circles as Ted Cruz. And it's not just personality, it's the way he did what he did, what he's trying to do, and what he continues to do and it's just creating real -- again, real problems for the Republican Party.

That's our problem. You asked me why I attacked him, it's for that reason for political purposes. From a governmental purpose it's also wrong. We cannot go down this path of attempting to shut down the government over an issue where we lost. We disagreed. We can continue to fight but not by threatening to shut the government down.

COOPER: So we're five days away from a government shutdown. How does this end?

KING: Hopefully it's going to end over the weekend. I know that John Boehner wants to make it work. I know Eric Cantor wants to make it work. No one wants -- none of us certainly want the government to shut down. The government should not be allowed to shut down at all. Because we know it's not going to happen. It's not going to last long if it does happen over this issue.

But doing it this way, you know, I think enough of us realize and hopefully enough pressure will be brought that we have to resolve this by the weekend or by Monday at the latest.

COOPER: Congressman King, appreciate your time. Thanks.

KING: Anderson, thank you.


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