Senator Ted Cruz told a crowd in Austin tonight that he doesn't want the federal government to shut down. But the Tea Party favorite also said a shut down would happen if President Barack Obama and Democrats in the U.S. Senate refused to let Republicans de-fund the Affordable Care Act.
A Monday deadline looms for passage of a spending measure that's currently back in the House of Representatives.
Cruz was already a rising star in Republican politics when he soared even higher this week during a 21-hour speech on the Senate floor about what he sees as the problems with the ACA, among other things.
A new poll out today now has the freshman Senator as the most popular choice to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Cruz appeared in a live video during an hour-long Q&A at the opening of the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. He remained in Washington D.C. for the interview because of the ongoing debate over a continuing resolution to fund the federal government.
During the interview with the Tribune's Evan Smith, Cruz talked about topics ranging from health care to immigration to the elections in 2014 and 2016.
Cruz said he would not be endorsing any incumbent U.S. Senators in 2014, including the state's senior Senator, John Cornyn.
He also said he was too busy with his current job in the Senate to worry about the 2016 presidential race, although he refused to give a definitive "no" to whether or not he was running.