Meet the Press   |  October 06, 2013

2: Paul reacts to open-mic moment, politics of shutdown

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joins Meet the Press to discuss his view on the federal government shutdown and how it will end.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and we are back with a few more minutes with senator rand paul of kentucky. senator, earlier this week the wall street journal quoted a senior white house official who said, we don't care how long this shutdown lasts, we're winning. that infuriated speaker boehner. take a look.

>> we got the wall street journal out, and it says we don't care how long this lasts because we're winning. this isn't some damn game!

>> all right, and then here you are caught on an open mic with senator mitch mcconnell a little earlier this week. take a listen.

>> i think if we keep saying we wanted to defund it, we fought for that, but now we're willing to compromise on this, i think -- i know we don't want to be here, but we're going to win this, i think.

>> senator, i brought those two things up side by side for a reason. winning, losing, battle of the talking points , dueling cable appearances. do you in washington, do all of you have any idea how totally disgusted the american people are with these antics?

>> yeah, i think these are all legitimate concerns, and i think, really, we should point back to where the root of the problem is. the root of the problem here is that we are not passing appropriation bills like we should. we have 12 different appropriation bills . we should pass them one at a time. government should never shut down if we're doing our job appropriately, so really, what we need to be saying is why are we not passing spending bills the way we should do it.

>> do you take any responsibility for the tone, for your part in this?

>> well, i think that in order to have compromise, the other side has to negotiate. we've been willing to compromise and negotiate. the other thing is, we don't control the spending bills . the house has been putting forward spending bills and still continues to do so. it's the democrats in the senate who refuses to pass individual spending bills , and that's what you're supposed to do is pass individual spending bills .

>> you're someone who is an emerging figure, had you actually winning the preference poll among republicans. do you think this strategy, shutting down the government, which two-thirds of americans don't like as a tactic even if they don't like obama care, do you think that's potentially undercutting the republicans' chances of winning something beyond the house of representatives , either the senate or the white house ?

>> i think it's extremely bad for the president shutting down the government, and he's the one shutting it down because frankly, he's unwilling to compromise. we're willing to negotiate, we're willing to compromise. the president says his way or the highway, so ultimately i think it is bad for the president, i think it's bad for both parties, but the only way to get tie resolution is to negotiate. we're willing to negotiate. we're every day passing bills to reopen government and every day harry reid is vetoing every bill we send over. we've sent over six bills this week to reopen government, and he dismisses them out of hand. so we're the ones trying to open government and the democrats say keep it closed because they like it being closed. they think they can beat up on us politically.

>> if they like it being closed, why would you fall into that trap? if they think it's hurting you more, why are you allowing that to happen?

>> because they're important questions. obama care is going to cost $2.6 trillion. we have a $17 trillion debt. we think these things are important and worth fighting over because they're not inconsequential. some economists say we're losing a million jobs a year just because of the burden of our debt. is it worth standing up and saying the emperor has no clothes, we're out of money and that we should start to balance our budget and not spend money we don't have? yeah, it's absolutely important. so sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in.

>> very quickly before i let you go. as you well know, there is a debt ceiling vote on the horizon. will republicans let this country go into default?

>> i think it's irresponsible of the president and his men to even talk about default. there is no reason for us to default. we bring in $250 billion in taxes every month, our interest payment is 20 billion. tell me why we would ever default. we have legislation called the full faith and credit act and it tells the president, you must pay the interest on the debt. so this is a game. this is kind of like closing the world war ii memorial . they all get out on tv and they say, we're going to default. they're the ones scaring the marketplace. we should never default.

>> let's say you pay the interest on the debt and you don't have a technical default. wouldn't be there mathere be dramatic consequences on the economy, anyway, the spirit of it?

>> in 2011 , our credit was down downrated, but the reason they said was we had too much debt so they downgraded us. it's about the debt we're accumulating. it's not so much these deadlines the market is worrying about, the market is also worried about our $17 trillion debt and we're not acting fiscally responsible and we're spending more money than we're bringing in.

>> senator rand paul. always interesting talking to you. thank you for your time, sir.

>> thank you.

>>> coming up, has the roar of the government shutdown fight overshadowed the rocky rollout of obama care? joining us, republican strategist mike murphy , chair of the congressional black caucus marcia fudge, rich lowry and npr's steve insky. we're back in just a moment. we know