By Cameron Joseph - 10/03/13 02:32 PM EDT
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus ridiculed ObamaCare's rollout Thursday morning, but admitted that the ongoing government shutdown might be distracting voters from focusing on its flaws.
"Barack Obama knows he's selling a lemon," he continued.
But Priebus acknowledged that the government shutdown might not be helping his party politically. Much media coverage has focused on the ongoing shutdown at the expense of more focus on the major struggles related to ObamaCare's rollout.
"Clearly, if I was just being purely political sure, why not let these exchanges go through, let these Democrats continue to vote for these unpopular things," he said when asked by The Hill why the GOP forced a shutdown debate rather than letting ObamaCare go through, confident it would fail on its own.
"Obviously doing what's politically right isn't always what's right of the American people," he said. "It's not fair; it's not working; people don't want it, so there's a serious obligation to put that ahead of politics."
Priebus later downplayed polling that showed more voters are blaming the GOP more than Democrats for the government shutdown.
"Governing by simply looking at daily tracking polls isn't probably the right way to govern. Most people believe that ObamaCare is wrong for America," he said shortly after citing a poll that showed nearly as many independents were blaming President Obama as the GOP for the shutdown.
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who's running against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), said the party had "put political considerations aside" in order to protect the American people from ObamaCare.
"Democrats have to live with those consequences already. Mark Pryor cast the deciding vote for this law," he said. "My responsibility is trying to reduce or eliminate as many of these effects going forward as possible."
Both blamed Democrats for the government shutdown, saying their refusal to negotiate on ObamaCare had led to the stalemate.
"Republicans have been offering deal after deal only to be met with a brick wall," Priebus said. "[President Obama] was happy to call the leader of Iran and talk to him at length apparently. But he's not willing to talk to Republicans. I think that's pretty unbelievable."
The RNC rolled out a video highlighting the widespread struggles ObamaCare's health exchanges have faced that coincided with the call.