Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few ready to vote against it Anti-gay marriage county clerk Kim Davis to seek reelection in Kentucky MORE (R-Texas) on Sunday defended the decision to force a government shutdown unless ObamaCare was defunded, despite the strategy's lack of success.

“You’ve got conservatives that stood strong and said 'let's stop the train wreck that is ObamaCare,' ” Cruz said on ABC’s “This Week.”

He blamed Democrats for not negotiating before or during the shutdown. “I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” Cruz said.

Democrats said they would not negotiate in a situation they described as akin to a hostage situation.

Cruz was the main architect of the strategy that led to the October shutdown, which ended in the government being reopened with no concessions to Republicans.

Asked about his now-famous meeting at the Capitol Hill restaurant Tortilla Coast with House Republicans during the shutdown, Cruz downplayed his influence over the lower chamber, which has been a source of frustration for the House leadership.

“This is something that a lot of people came forward and agreed with and at the end of the day, the conservatives who met here at Tortilla Coast, who met repeatedly and continue to have conversations, what we were trying to do is listen to the American people,” Cruz said.

Despite downplaying the role he played, Cruz has risen to a prominence unusual for a freshman senator. Time magazine listed him as a candidate for its person of the year.

“That was a very strange thing,” Cruz said.