Mitt Romney may be doling out advice to his fellow Republicans, but the former GOP standard-bearer's message is apparently falling on deaf ears.
While a trio of conservative Republicans – Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – are busy spearheading an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care law that's reviled by Republicans, Romney is cautioning against their tactics.
A spokeswoman for Cruz says Romney miscategorized the defunding effort in his remarks Wednesday and eschewed the idea that Cruz was concerned with the political ramifications of his pursuits.
"Sen. Cruz's focus isn't on politics, but rather on doing what's right by the American people," says Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Cruz. "Americans don't want Obamacare, they recognize it for the failure that it is and they deserve to have their elected representatives fighting at every turn to undo it."
Speaking during a New Hampshire fundraiser, Romney said Republicans should re-think any strategy that threatens a government shutdown over the "Obamacare" issue.
"Emotion is understandably at play in Washington among some of our fellow Republicans," Romney said, according to The Washington Post. "I badly want Obamacare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal. But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government. What would come next when soldiers aren't paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security and when the FBI is off duty?"
Romney, the 2012 Republican Party presidential nominee, hosted the Wolfeboro event on behalf of the New Hampshire Republican Party and state Sen. Jeb Bradley, who is contemplating taking on incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in 2014.
"I'm afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections and the people of the nation would not be happy," Romney said.
Cruz's spokeswoman says efforts wouldn't result in a government shutdown, that would be Obama's doing.
"The senator's effort will fund government in full, without funding Obamacare; it is up to President Obama and the Democrats whether they'd shut down the government just to implement a failed law that more and more Americans increasingly oppose," Frazier says.
Republicans – led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich – took a political beating following the fiscal fight and subsequent shutdown in 1995, something likely on Romney's mind during his comments Wednesday.
Neither Lee nor Rubio's offices immediately responded to a request for comment. Rubio was a prominent surrogate for Romney throughout his 2012 campaign and is widely mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate.