Bill Daley: Obama played shutdown fight "exactly right"

(CBS News) Bill Daley, President Obama's former chief of staff, praised the president's handling of the government shutdown, saying on "CBS This Morning," "He played it exactly right. I think he said, 'Here's the line, and you guys created this problem.'"

Daley, who also served as commerce secretary under President Clinton, said that the wing of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives that sought to delay or defund Obamacare had no real strategy and thought that they could "bamboozle him." He said, "It didn't work ... and yet the country - and the world, really - was put in a state of panic over the thought that the U.S. would default, and it's ridiculous."

Daley also criticized the deal reached in Congress to end the government shutdown, calling it "to some degree, a big nothing." He added, "It's rather sad that it takes all of that energy to come up with very little."

Looking ahead, Daley said no one has been helped by the shutdown - especially in terms of winners and losers. He said, "The president is hurt by it. Democrats will be hurt by it ... people are saying the president won this, but when the nation loses, the leader of the nation gets hurt by that, and I know him well. He's not taking any great joy in this last three weeks at all."

"I think the president is prepared, as he has been for a while, to do something serious about this long-term debt problem," he continued. "Not short-term spending cuts that's going to hurt our country short-term but try to deal with the long term. I think he's always been willing to do that."

Daley suggested the short-term solution will lead to more deals in Congress based on fear: "I can't believe that the Republicans would allow another shutdown to happen or a default because then they will probably go into negative numbers (in the polls) and family and friends and their dogs would turn on them."

So what are the chances that some of the biggest names embroiled in the shutdown will be re-elected and that the GOP will perhaps lose control of the House of Representatives?

Daley said there's no question the shutdown has had an "enormous impact" but said they'll likely recover some ground politically. He added, "They have gerrymandered many of these districts. But, remember, when this faction of the Republican Party won in '10, most of those seats were held, obviously, by Democrats, and so there's been a history in some of these districts of Democratic congresspeople."

Daley has been quoted as saying the president is lucky to have the Tea Party around. Asked why he said that, Daley replied, "Every time he seems to get in trouble, they come to his rescue. Look at the Syria situation. A lot of people were criticizing him for the Syrian situation, and I do believe, as I say, the American people do have a great concern about spending, and yet these people pick Obamacare to have the fight over."

The rollout of Obamacare and its Web site has also been fraught with glitches, another instance that Daley said the president has been saved from backlash due to the shutdown fight. He said, "They saved him from that, which would have been a very difficult couple of weeks since the rollout began."

For more with Daley - including his thoughts on how Congress will behave in the aftermath of the shutdown - watch his full interview above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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