Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were caught on a hot mic Wednesday discussing talking-points for the shutdown by local news station WPSD 6.
"I just did CNN and I just go over and over again 'We're willing to compromise. We're willing to negotiate.' I think... I don't think they poll tested we won't negotiate. I think it's awful for [Democrats] to say that over and over again," Paul said.
"Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them and that, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly," McConnell agreed.
Paul added, "I think if we keep saying, 'We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we're willing to compromise on this', I think they can't, we're gonna, I think... well, I know we don't want to be here, but we're gonna win this, I think."
The comments give an inside look at the messaging strategy as Republicans hope to force Democrats to agree to a government funding bill that would also dismantle or delay parts of Obamacare, the health care reform law passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, months before President Barack Obama cruised to victory in a presidential election in which the measure was a key issue. Democrats, including Obama, have said they won't negotiate on the issue, and have called for Republicans to pass a clean measure to fully reopen the government.
The government has been shut down since Tuesday, and progress on negotiations has been minimal since then. The widespread furloughing of federal employees and closures of other government-run facilities and services have already begun to make an impact across the nation.