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Marco Rubio: Obama And Democrats To Blame For A Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood

Rubio says Republicans may have already backed themselves into a corner because they didn't begin pinning a potential shutdown on Democrats weeks ago.

Posted on September 18, 2015, at 12:03 p.m. ET

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says a government shutdown over funding Planned Parenthood would be the fault of President Obama and Senate Democrats, an argument he says his fellow Republicans in Congress should have been making weeks ago.

"On the issue of Planned Parenthood, the work should have begun weeks ago, laying the groundwork for this debate," said Rubio. "Obviously, the House, the Senate should have laid the groundwork for this debate, so people understand that we're not just debating an organization here, that some people might think is a nice organization or whatever — we're debating their practices.

"The point is this, on the Planned Parenthood issue: The people who are threatening a shutdown is Barack Obama, and his allies in the Senate," said Rubio. "What they're arguing is: 'If the federal budget does not fully fund Planned Parenthood, I will veto the budget, and hence shut down the government.' That should be the message. Instead, it's always the reverse, 'the Republicans are going to shut down the government.'

"No we're not," Rubio said. "We are in support of funding the government fully — just not giving any more money to this one organization that was just caught on video dismembering unborn children! Or, in one case, a child that had already been born alive, as Carly did very well last night, outlining and describing the video."

Rubio said would be "absurd" for Senate Democrats to hold up government funding over Planned Parenthood.

"So I don't understand why we accept this argument that we're the one's shutting it down," he said. "They're the ones shutting it down! It would be a Democratic filibuster and a presidential veto that would shut down the government, and it would be for the purpose of supporting one organization. And no one can tell me that Planned Parenthood, funding Planned Parenthood as an organization, is such a high priority that we have to do it, otherwise we won't fund government. That's absurd. And that's the position we should have put them in."

Rubio reiterated that Republicans should have laid out the case for funding the government but not Planned Parenthood sooner to avoid taking blame for a shutdown.

"Again, my point is, this should have been reversed from the beginning," Rubio said. "And it always should have been: 'We're going to fund the government, we're not going to fund Planned Parenthood, and if you want to shut down the government over that decision, that's your call — and people will hold you accountable for it.' Instead, we've allowed constantly for, you know, the mainstream media and others to basically say: 'No, this is about Republicans.'

"We always allow ourselves get caught on the other side of the issue. And I get it — you know, there is bias in the media and how they report these things. I understand all that. But that's why we need to be more aggressive about we pursue these things, and start it early in the process. Don't wait until, you know, there's an eight-day deadline to do it — because at that point, you've already boxed yourself into a corner."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.