Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) channeled his inner-maverick Friday during an appearance on Fox News Channel, repeatedly reminding the conservative network that the government shutdown was brought about by the quixotic effort to halt the Affordable Care Act.
When anchor Martha MacCallum asked him about the White House’s handling of the suspension of death benefits to military families, McCain said that while the administration deserves blame it was a GOP-induced shutdown that caused the problem in the first place.
“Let’s have a little straight talk, Martha,” McCain said. “[The administration] wouldn’t have had the opportunity to handle it that way if we had not shut down the government on a fool’s errand that we were not going to accomplish. The whole premise of shutting down the government was the repeal of Obamacare. I fought against Obamacare harder than any of the people who wanted to shut down the government.”
McCain’s appearance on Fox came shortly after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the leader of the movement to defund the health care law, spoke at the Values Voter Summit. MacCallum asked McCain how he felt about Cruz “representing” Republicans at a meeting scheduled for Friday at the White House.
“First of all, Martha, please, he’s not representing us there,” McCain said, adding that he thinks it’s “unconscionable” that President Obama hasn’t negotiated with Republicans.
The interview closed with McCain rattling off a number of proposals that are “achievable” for Republicans.
“Defunding Obamacare is not one of them,” he said emphatically.
“Well, we’ll see,” MacCallum said, prompting sarcastic laughter from the senator.
“I guarantee it,” McCain said. “Not only will you see, I guarantee it.”