Rubio: Cruz lost battle, but winning war

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) marathon floor speech would help turn the tide for Republicans in the fight against ObamaCare, even if they fail to stop funding for the law this week.

“Ultimately there’s going to be a vote here, and my prediction is, unfortunately, that we may not prevail on the votes,” Rubio said to Fox News. “But I tell you what — people across this country are going to know where their individual senators stand, and particularly those senators that come from states that Barack Obama didn’t win.”

Rubio was pressed on whether he was “conceding” defeat on the strategy to force a government shutdown if the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama refuse to defund the healthcare law.

“If the Democrats do what they’re threatening to do, which is lockstep vote against this thing, then yeah, we’re not going to win in the short term," Rubio said.

"But I think in the long term, we’ve made tremendous progress because when you look across this country, there are now millions and millions of people that maybe were not paying attention to this debate that now recognize that ObamaCare is upon us and all of the terrible harm it’s going to inflict upon the American dream and all the people who are trying to make it.”

The Senate will likely pass a spending bill that reinstates money for the healthcare law later this week, sending the fight back to Republicans in the House.

Many in Cruz’s own party have been critical of his strategy from the beginning, arguing that he put all the pressure on House Republicans by promising that defunding ObamaCare was a real possibility, even though there was never a chance that such a spending bill would pass the Senate or be signed by the president.

Rubio has kept a low profile throughout the debate, but lauded Cruz’s efforts Thursday.

“We can all know for sure that the American people today are a lot more familiar about the dangers and failings of ObamaCare, and the stakes, than they just a day were before,” he said.

Rubio vowed Republicans would continue the fight.

“The strategy is to use every opportunity at our disposal to try and get rid of this law,” he said.