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Rep. Tom Cole on Obamacare defunding: 'Pickett had a better chance'

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Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican, said Wednesday that the ongoing fight inside the Republican party over defunding Obamacare isn’t the right one to have, and that Maj. Gen. George Pickett had a better chance in his unsuccessful attack during the Battle of Gettysburg that ended in retreat for Confederate forces.

“I guess I’m just in the same foxhole with Tom Coburn,” Mr. Cole, Oklahoma Republican, said in response to Sen. Ted Cruz’s comments that the party’s “Surrender Caucus” is what’s standing in the way of defunding the health care law. “It’s a good foxhole to be in.”

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Health Care Reform

Mr. Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida have emerged as the faces of a movement not to vote for any appropriations or spending bills that contain money to implement or enforce President Obama’s health care overhaul. While many Republicans — including Mr. Coburn, the fiscal hawk from Oklahoma — agree with the sentiment and disdain the law, they say that such a push wouldn’t work.

Mr. Cole said it didn’t make sense to shift focus away from perceived problems with the law — President Obama’s delaying the requirement that large businesses provide health care to their employees and the bipartisan opposition to a medical device tax in the bill, for example.

“This is much more a program that you take care of with a thousand cuts, and by the way, winning some elections would help, too,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “If we had a President Romney and we had [a] majority in the Senate where they seem to be anxious to tell us how to use our majority in the House, we could maybe get something done.”

Host Joe Scarborough said he’s heard it’s the political equivalent of Pickett’s Charge.

“Pickett had a better chance,” Mr. Cole quipped.

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