Imagine how the question plays to independents at the 2016 debates.
Moderator: Did you think the vote to raise the debt ceiling on the eve of default was the right thing to do?
Senator Cruz: No I don’t. Millions of people were about to lose their health insurance or their jobs due to this abomination called Obamacare. We needed to take a stand for the American people and tell President Obama he needed to delay implication of the law like he did for his union and corporate buddies. This law was hurting the American people and Congress would not take a stand, so I did. President Obama refused to listen to the American people and and refused to negotiate. We almost defaulted because of his intransigence and in 2016 I will repeal Obamacare and restore the millions of jobs lost by this president.
Hillary Clinton: The one thing the nation demands from its president is that they always put their country first over any political fight. Always. Senator Cruz didn’t do that in 2013 and he won’t do that in 2016. Senator Cruz actually cast a vote in the United States Senate to have our country default on our debts for the first time in our nation’s history because he did not like a law he did not have the votes to overturn. Think about that for a minute. <pausing> The senator voted to put our nation’s economy in direct harm’s way because he didn’t get his way politically. He voted for a default to occur that most economists said would have plunged our nation into a depression. That is not “presidential” leadership. That is not leadership at all, and by that vote alone the senator disqualified himself from having the judgment to be president of the United States.
I think it’s pretty clear the no vote on the debt ceiling to pander to the tea party leaves any candidate who voted that way wide open to get a body blow in a debate.