Chamber of Commerce to Ted Cruz: Shut up

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,Republican Party,Health Care,Debt Ceiling,Ted Cruz,Chambers of Commerce

In the latest sign of the evolving GOP civil war, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today slapped Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the leader of the anti-Obamacare faction, for talking about killing the health care system more than working to end it.

At a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Thomas Donohue said that he would like to work with Cruz on issues, but conceded that he doesn’t know the Republican. When asked about indications that the business community would like the senator to “sit down and shut up,” Donohue said, “Well, that might be one thing we can work on” with Cruz.

The put-down came after Donohue compared Cruz to a net-charging tennis play with little backup game.

“I sort of think about him as a tennis player. You know if you are going to rush the net all of the time, you better have a lot of motion to the left and the right. And he hasn’t proved that to me yet,” said the longtime Chamber boss.

The Chamber was one of several powerful groups that urged Republicans to cut a deal with Democrats last week to approve an increase in the debt ceiling and open the government, which Cruz fought.

Donohue said that Cruz “has a right” to fight for his positions, but he suggested that it is easier to win with a coalition, not by going it alone.

“He hasn’t got the votes to do what he wants to do,” said Donohue. Next time, he advised, Cruz should build a coalition “instead of telling everybody how he’ s going to get it done.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at