September 25, 2013

In 21 hours, Cruz talks health law in Republican terms

The Associated Press

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday after ending his marathon speech on the Senate floor.

AP

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The Pew finding focused specifically on this budget fight and "lawmakers who share your views." It showed that 87 percent of people who identify themselves as tea party Republicans support the House-passed budget measure defunding the health care law. That's 26 percentage points higher than non-tea party Republicans.

"I didn't go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count. The defunding box canyon is a tactic that will fail and weaken our position," tweeted Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., tweaking Cruz for his educational background.

"I think he became a de facto leader of the tea party," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said of Cruz.

It was too early to gauge how much campaign cash or other support Cruz attracted. But there were signs that the spectacle drew a crowd. C-SPAN 2 stayed with Cruz for the duration of his speech and saw increased activity on its website that indicated a more than the usual number of viewers, according to Terry Murphy, vice president of programming.

FreedomWorks, a tea party-aligned group, tweeted that 700,000 people watched its live stream of Cruz's speech. It urged supporters to flood the Capitol's phone lines.

In a message to Twitter followers, Tea Party Patriots equated Cruz's stature with that of the nation's highest-ranking Republican, Boehner, who has struggled to maintain the support of uncompromising conservatives in his caucus.

"Is the #GOP the Party of Ted Cruz or John Boehner's freshly laundered white flag of surrender?" the group tweeted.

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