The Washington Times - January 8, 2013, 10:29PM

Sen. Ted Cruz said Republicans came out on the short end of the “fiscal cliff” fight because President Obama had a stronger position — but the new Texas lawmaker expects a different outcome in the upcoming debt-ceiling negotiations.

“Whoever owns the default — whoever wins if nothing is done — is in the strongest position. And Obama was in the strongest position” in the fiscal cliff showdown, Mr. Cruz told Fox’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday.

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“With respect to the debt ceiling, we (fiscal conservatives) have the default. If fiscal conservatives stand together, we can force substantial reforms.”

The freshman senator, who has quickly become one of the most prominent fiscal hawks on Capital Hill since his tea-party-fueled November win in Texas, said Republicans need to make it clear that a failure to reach a deal on the debt ceiling will not create a U.S. government default.

“It’s not a default. What the effect would be is a partial government shutdown, and we’ve seen that before … in 1995,” he said, referring to the showdown between then-President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled House that eventually led to welfare reforms and balanced budgets in Mr. Clinton’s second term.