Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) says Democratic congressmen tell him they want to prolong shutdown, and are encouraging GOP.
TAPPER: Interesting quote I wanted to read you, Congressman, from your colleague Representative Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. He was quoted in the "Washington Examiner" talking about the end game saying quote "we're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
Now, you are not Congressman Stutzman so I can't hold you accountable for this. But that is not a very encouraging sign.
NUNES: Yes. Well this, I mean, Congressman Stutzman is a very good guy and a friend of mine. And I think this is part of the problem that some of us identified months ago because there was no end game to this strategy. There was no way once you got to shutdown mode and you didn't have the votes, which we never had the votes, then what were you going to do?
I think we had the moral high ground to fight on the individual mandate. Had we made that case and spent all this money and time and effort saying how come you are giving employers a break and not giving individual a break since Obamacare is obviously not ready to go primetime. I think we would have had some folks on our side. But instead with all of this politicization and personal politics where you are attacking other Republicans, it's made for with we're at now.
BORGER: Can I ask you, what is it like on the floor of the House now on the Republican side, where you're calling your colleagues lemmings. Are there any specific ones that you're talking about?
NUNES: Yes. So look, first off it's important to be fair here, the Democrats are giddy about this behind closed doors. I mean, they think that this is going to give Nancy Pelosi back the gavel. They are very cocky. They are very confident. I assume they are just looking at polling information. And they want to continue down this. They want to keep the government shut down as long as they can. And they are encouraging our folks to do it.
TAPPER: You think Democrats want to keep government shut down?
NUNES: Politically absolutely. I mean, they tell me so.
TAPPER: Democratic congressmen have said keep the shutdown going?
NUNES: Yes. Privately, yes.
TAPPER: Tongue in cheek, right?
NUNES: Tongue in cheek. But I mean, look. Democrats believe in big government. No question.
NUNES: But this is benefiting them politically.
BORGER: So can I get back to the Republican on your side of the -- like how bad is it? And who are the lemmings that you're talking about? And are you talking to them?
NUNES: No. I mean, there is nothing really to talk about. This is their strategy. We are giving them every --
BORGER: Who's they, though? I mean, who is they?
NUNES: I mean, look. You have to first look to the people who went against the speaker on the House floor to start off the Congress. I mean, that's the first group, right?
BORGER: Dana would tell us.
NUNES: Right out of the gate there was -- you know, we needed 218 votes and there was an attempt there to basically wound the leadership.
TAPPER: That was a worst coup attempt than was reported at the time.
NUNES: But here is why. Every Republican has a chance to run for speaker or for leader of the Republican party and there's a whole set of offices. They never challenged speaker Boehner. They never challenge leader Cantor. They don't do anything. And then they were meeting privately to create this spectacle on the House floor. They never vote for anything. And look, I disagree with leadership a lot. But, you know, I don't go out and publicly embarrass our entire conference at the beginning of the conference and that's what happened, you know, back in January.
BASH: To your point about Democrats right now, to be fair, if you look at the votes over the past two days since you have started this piecemeal approach, you guys have been united, even people like you who don't agree with the strategy, you have stuck with your leadership for better or worse. Democrats have lost 20, 30 votes on these --
TAPPER: Although not enough --
BASH: Not enough to put it over. But I want to ask you since we're being so candid and open and honest here at whatever time it is, what's speaker Boehner behind the scenes right now as he tries to hold it together.
TAPPER: And I'll help you out. You only have about 15 second.
NUNES: Well, look. Speaker Boehner is one of the -- the way you see him in public is exactly how he is in private and he is a good guy. And it is sad that a lot of folks have been attacking him when he is right now the leader been voted on unanimously in our conference but folks like to beat him up. And it's just unhelpful.