By Brendan Sasso - 10/13/13 03:32 PM EDT
Three Republican senators separately said Sunday that it was a mistake to try to repeal the president's healthcare law as part of a debate over government funding.
“We’re on a fool’s errand when we say we’re going to defund ObamaCare,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said congressional Republicans overreached by attacking the law through the funding process.
On "This Week" on ABC, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) emphasized that Republicans are united in wanting to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but he said they "never had the leverage through the shutdown."
"That was unrealistic," he said.
At the urging of conservatives, the House passed a government funding bill last month that stripped funding for the healthcare law. When the Senate moved to restore funding to the law, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) launched a marathon 21-hour floor speech in protest.
House Republicans later approved a bill that would have delayed the healthcare law and repealed its tax on medical devices.
Senate Democrats refused to the accept the GOP attacks on ObamaCare, and with the two chambers unable to agree on a funding resolution, the federal government shut down on Oct. 1.
Polls show that more Americans blame the Republicans for the shutdown than blame Democrats or President Obama.
Graham said his message for congressional Republicans is "the sooner this [shutdown] is over, the better this is for us guys."
But he said he believes ObamaCare will ultimately be "the political gift that keeps on giving."
"ObamaCare and its faults will be front and center in 2014 if we don't screw this up," he said.