SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said the recent government shutdown hurt the Republican Party, but that they have a plan to bounce back from the bad image.
Hatch vocalized his opinions Tuesday about the "tactics" that paralyzed Washington in the name of opposing the Affordable Care Act. He said he disagrees with the tactics and political stunts and fellow Utah Senator Mike Lee's efforts in particular.
Hatch said there is "no bad blood there", but he is still worried about the Party's reputation after the government shutdown.
"These are matters that are of great concern to me," Hatch said. "And we've got to unify, not dis-unify."
A new Washington Post poll shows the GOP has a 63 percent unfavorable rating nationwide, and the Democratic Party has a 49 percent unfavorable rating.
Many are worried how the current public opinion of the GOP will translate in future elections. A Hinckley Institute of Politics representative, Kirk Jowers, said the Republican Party has work to do.
"This is a horrible moment in time for Republicans as they fight their way back through it," Jowers said. "The good news is it's October and they have essentially a year before they have to pay the piper in the general election and they could change a lot."
Many politicians and citizens are blaming Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee for the negative publicity of the Republican Party. For Hatch, it's less of a disagreement about them and more about their political tactics during the shutdown.
"Come on," Hatch said. "That's something the Constitution, these guys quote the Constitution all the time, but that's one of the prerequisite obligations of the Constitution is for us to pay our national debts."
Hatch said he hesitates to say if he'll endorse Senator Lee in three years because the election is still too far in the future. However, Hatch said that a threat of government shutdown and possible default will not happen again.
"We've got to quit doing things that have no real end, that really don't work," Hatch said. "That really are going to put us in more jeopardy."
Hatch said he is frustrated that concentrating on the shutdown and debt ceiling drew attention away from the shaky Affordable Care Act roll out. He thinks the Republican Party's focus should have been on emphasizing that.