More Than 21 Hours Later, Ted Cruz Has Been Cut Off

.photo.left{display:none;}The Texas Republican rose in opposition to Obamacare Tuesday afternoon. He spoke for almost a full day. Here’s what happened.

National Journal
Matt Berman, Matt Vasilogambros and Dustin Volz
Sept. 24, 2013, 10:58 a.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, rose to speak on the Sen­ate floor at 2:41 p.m. on Tues­day. He stood up in op­pos­i­tion to Obama­care, he said. And he said he would con­tin­ue to speak un­til he could no longer stand.

By Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Cruz and some of his col­leagues were still stand­ing. He was cut off by a new day of Sen­ate busi­ness at noon by Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id.

It was not a fili­buster. But it was a very, very long speech from the Texas sen­at­or who has been the cen­ter of at­ten­tion in D.C.’s budget fight, and the Sen­ate lead­er in a doomed-to-fail move­ment to strip fund­ing for Obama­care out of any res­ol­u­tion that Con­gress passes to fund the gov­ern­ment. If Con­gress fails to come to an agree­ment, the gov­ern­ment will shut­down at the end of Septem­ber.

RE­LATED: Cruz to Rush Limbaugh: GOP Is “De­feat­ist”

Ted Cruz stood up to “make D.C. listen,” he said re­peatedly. “Wash­ing­ton de­pends on the Amer­ic­an people not pay­ing at­ten­tion.”

But what we heard dur­ing the dur­a­tion of Sen. Cruz’s speech was his view of how to be suc­cess­ful in mod­ern Amer­ic­an polit­ics. And, in the re­ac­tions to his speech from mem­bers of his own party, we may get a sense of just how suc­cess­ful the am­bi­tious sen­at­or can be.

Here’s what you need to know from the 21 hours plus of speak­ing.

12:50 p.m.: John Mc­Cain: “I Was Ex­tremely Proud” of the 2009 GOP Ef­fort Against Obama­care

In ex­ten­ded floor re­marks based off of Sen. Cruz’s speech, the Ari­zona Re­pub­lic­an de­tailed what happened in the Sen­ate in the de­bate over the Af­ford­able Care Act in 2009:

There are many of us who are op­posed to Obama­care”¦and the op­pos­i­tion that we moun­ted in 2009, it’s a mat­ter of re­cord that the Sen­ate, to start with, the Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee con­sidered the Af­ford­able Care Act over sev­er­al weeks”¦at that time mem­bers of the Fin­ance Com­mit­tee sub­mit­ted 564 amend­ments, 135 amend­ments were con­sidered, 79 roll call votes taken, 41 amend­ments were ad­op­ted. Then the Sen­ate Health, Edu­ca­tion, Labor, Pen­sions Com­mit­tee ap­proved the Af­ford­able Care Act by 13-10 after a month long de­bate, 500 amend­ments were con­sidered, more than 160 Re­pub­lic­an amend­ments were ac­cep­ted.

And then it came to the floor of the Sen­ate. And the Af­ford­able Care Act was on the floor for 25 straight days, in­clud­ing week­ends. Between Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas of 2009. 506 amend­ments were filed, 228 of which were Re­pub­lic­an, 34 roll call votes were held, most roll call votes res­ul­ted in party line votes, in­clud­ing a mo­tion which I had”¦

But we fought as hard as we could in a fair and hon­est man­ner, and we lost.

Sen. Mc­Cain, ad­dress­ing Cruz’s speech, said that he couldn’t call it a fili­buster, and that “the kind­est de­pic­tion I can say is the ‘ex­ten­ded oratory’ that took place on the floor of the Sen­ate.”

Mc­Cain spe­cific­ally called out Cruz’s early com­par­is­on of “pun­dits” who let Obama­care hap­pen to those who ap­peased Nazi Ger­many. “I re­sound­ingly re­ject that al­leg­a­tion,” Mc­Cain said.

“I do dis­agree strongly to al­lege that there are people today who are like those who pri­or to World War Two didn’t stand up and op­pose the at­ro­cit­ies that were tak­ing place in Europe.”

12:18 p.m.: Mitch Mc­Con­nell: “Obama­care Is Wrong For Amer­ica and Needs to Be Re­pealed”

Speak­ing with sup­port for Cruz’s pas­sion, Mc­Con­nell ap­pealed to Sen­ate Demo­crats to join Re­pub­lic­ans in op­pos­i­tion to Obama­care: “Here’s your op­por­tun­ity for a mul­ligan. Here’s your chance to get on the same page with the Amer­ic­an people.”

12:11 p.m.: Re­id: “It’s the New An­archy”

Fol­low­ing up on his com­ments call­ing Cruz’s speech a “big waste of time,” Re­id said that “any day that gov­ern­ment is hurt is a good day” for the Tea Party. Re­id called it “the new an­archy.” 

Re­id con­tin­ued:

“The Amer­ic­an people know that every hour he has spoken or he speaks pushes us closer to a Re­pub­lic­an gov­ern­ment shut­down.” From there, the Sen­at­or said that “if any­one has any doubt that there are Re­pub­lic­ans root­ing for a shut­down, they should just turn on the tele­vi­sion.”

12:04 p.m.: The End

“This de­bates in your hands. Ul­ti­mately all 100 sen­at­ors, all 46 Re­pub­lic­ans, all 54 Demo­crats, work for you. The pleas from the Amer­ic­an people, I can tell you from Texas, are deaf­en­ing. the frus­tra­tion that the U.S. Sen­ate doesn’t listen to the people is deaf­en­ing. So I would call for all 46 Re­pub­lic­ans to unite and stand against clo­ture on the bill.”

Cruz closed to scattered ap­plause, and a re­quest from the presid­ing sen­at­or, Pat Leahy, for or­der. “Sen­at­ors know bet­ter and the Sen­ate will be in or­der,” he said.

“I don’t think we learned any­thing new,” Harry Re­id said after. “But it has been a big waste of time.”

11:56 a.m.: Ted Cruz’s Af­ter­noon Plans

Ap­par­ently, there’s a chance Ted Cruz may have some oth­er ar­range­ments that’ll force him to leave the floor by noon.

Ted Cruz is go­ing to be on Rush Limbaugh today at 1 p.m.

— El­len Car­mi­chael (@el­len­car­mi­chael) Septem­ber 25, 2013

Limbaugh’s web­site con­firms this.

11:54 a.m.: A Ques­tion From James Risch

The Idaho Re­pub­lic­an joined the floor for the first time as noon ap­proached. If Cruz ends at noon, he’ll have held the floor for 21 hour and 19 minutes.

11:49 a.m.: A Ques­tion From Mike Lee, and a Ques­tion of Time

Cruz al­lowed Sen. Mike Lee to ask a ques­tion as the clock ticked down. But it’s not totally clear at this point when ex­actly Cruz will stop talk­ing. At noon, as Re­id made clear, the Sen­ate will be­gin a new day of busi­ness with a pray­er. But after that point, at least ac­cord­ing to Re­id, Cruz should be able to speak for an­oth­er hour. So far, Sen. Cruz has not shown any sign that he ac­cepts that premise.

Fol­low­ing the ques­tion from Lee, Cruz went back to his guid­ing point: “For too long, Wash­ing­ton has not listened to the Amer­ic­an people.”

“Single moms,” Cruz said, “are call­ing out to the United States Sen­ate, fix this train wreck, fix this dis­aster.”

“Un­for­tu­nately, the U.S. Sen­ate is closed for busi­ness.”

11:44 a.m.: Harry Re­id: “This Is Not a Fili­buster”

“This is an agree­ment he and I made,” Re­id said. Cruz then ob­jec­ted to the ma­jor­ity lead­er con­tinu­ing to speak on the floor. 

“If the ma­jor­ity lead­er is go­ing to cut off and muzzle us in an­oth­er 24 minutes,” Cruz said, “then at this point I don’t think it is ap­pro­pri­ate to al­low the ma­jor­ity lead­er to con­sume that time.”

Re­id later in­ter­jec­ted, ask­ing if Cruz would al­low Sen. John Mc­Cain to speak for 15 minutes. “I will hon­or the Sen­ate rules and al­low my time to ex­pire at noon,” Cruz said. Cruz then re­fused to yield to the ma­jor­ity lead­er for a par­lia­ment­ary in­quiry.

Cruz then did agree to yield to Re­id for a ques­tion. “You don’t seem to un­der­stand you have time un­til 1 after the morn­ing pray­er,” Re­id said, ask­ing if he would then agree to con­sent to a ques­tion from John Mc­Cain after the pray­er.

At that point, Cruz yiel­ded to Sen. Jeff Ses­sions for a ques­tion, which turned in­to a back-and-forth between the two.

11:35 a.m.: Thank Yous

Just like at the con­clu­sion of any long, tele­vised speech, Ted Cruz ran off a list of Con­gres­sion­al staff that he wanted to think for their work dur­ing the long speech. 

Cruz also thanked the sen­at­ors who presided dur­ing the speech, and the Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors who came to the floor to ask ques­tions. 

And he made “spe­cial note” of Rep. Louie Gohmert who stayed on the floor all night watch­ing his speech.

Cruz also called out Utah’s Mike Lee, say­ing “we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Sen. Lee’s prin­ciple, for his cour­age, and for his bravery un­der fire.” And last, Cruz said, he wanted to thank the Amer­ic­an people who have been en­gaged in the health care de­bate, and watched the speech over CSPAN.

“And with those thank yous,” Cruz said, “I would note that Sen. Grass­ley wanted to ask a ques­tion.” But, in­stead, Cruz was asked by Re­id to yield to him in­stead. Which Cruz ob­liged.

11:30 a.m.: Harry Re­id Ar­rives on the Floor

While Sen. Cruz de­scribed his con­sent re­quests, the Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er ap­peared on the floor. Cruz said that, as he un­der­stands it, he has 30 minutes left to speak. We’ll see where this goes.

Cruz asked Re­id if he would be able to speak for longer. It ap­peared that, off cam­era, Re­id told Cruz he could not. “I’m without a ques­tion,” Re­id said.

11:27 a.m.: By the Num­bers

While Cruz is still speak­ing, a look at the Con­gres­sion­al Re­cord for Tues­day, un­til mid­night, shows that he and some of his col­leagues have re­peated some words in ex­cess — which hap­pens when you talk for over 20 hours. Here are some of the num­bers:

“Obama­care” ““ 543, “Af­ford­able Care Act” ““ 4, “Green eggs and ham” ““ 15, “Small busi­nesses” ““ 76, “Make DC listen” ““ 26, “Listen­ing” ““ 68, “Amer­ic­an” ““ 420, “In­sur­ance” ““ 222, “Wash­ing­ton” ““ 124, “Daddy” ““ 2, “Con­sti­tu­tion” ““ 19, “Texas” ““ 80, “My friend” ““ 35, “The sen­at­or from” ““ 73.

11:23 a.m.: The Cruz-Durbin Back-And-Forth Con­tin­ues

“The Sen­at­or from Illinois made an ac­tion im­pugn­ing my motives,” Sen. Cruz said. Things are get­ting testy.

An­swer­ing Cruz’s ques­tion about Hoffa, Durbin said that Sen­ate Demo­crats have been un­able to fix “an­om­alies” in the Af­ford­able Care Act be­cause Con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans have not worked with Demo­crats, pre­fer­ring to see the law “des­cend in­to chaos.”

Sen­at­or Durbin then asked Cruz if he still be­lieves that the pro­vi­sion of the ACA that for­bids bar­ring pa­tients with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions from re­ceiv­ing in­sur­ance. Cruz re­spon­ded say­ing that the Con­gress should re­peal the en­tirety of Obama­care, and then work to fix spe­cif­ic prob­lems.

Cruz tried to cut Durbin off, say­ing that “we are op­er­at­ing on some time con­straints.” “I re­cog­nize the pas­sion of the sen­at­or from Illinois,” Cruz said, “but I have not yiel­ded the floor.”

11:17 a.m.: Durbin to Cruz: Do You Want to Ab­ol­ish a Pro­gram That Will Provide People With Health Care?

Sen. Durbin told the story of a wo­man named Judy, who would be able to re­cieve health care for the first time un­der Obama­care. Cruz re­spon­ded to Durbin’s ques­tion, say­ing that this spe­cif­ic wo­man should be able to get care, “but in my view any health care re­form should em­power cit­izens to take con­sulta­tion with their phys­i­cians and not have any gov­ern­ment bur­eau­crat get in the way of them and their doc­tor.”

Cruz then asked Durbin if he be­lieved Team­sters Pres­id­ent James Hoffa is right to say that Obama­care will “des­troy” health care for Amer­ic­ans.

11:10 a.m.: Will Harry Re­id Come to the Floor?

Ted Cruz, speak­ing to an off-cam­era Dick Durbin, asked if Sen. Durbin could ask the Sen­ate ma­jor­ity lead­er to come to the floor in or­der for Cruz to pro­pose a series of un­an­im­ous con­sent re­quests.

Durbin re­spon­ded, say­ing that he could not speak for the ma­jor­ity lead­er, and that Re­id will do as he likes. The Illinois Demo­crat made it clear that he found the re­quest sur­pris­ing, and then went back to a con­ver­sa­tion from last night about the health care ex­changes.

10:43 a.m.: A Ques­tion From Marco Ru­bio

The Flor­ida Re­pub­lic­an re­turned to the floor to give Cruz a break Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

10:27 a.m.: Read­ing Limbaugh

“Fans of Rush Limbaugh know that ever year he reads something that his fath­er wrote,” Cruz said. The Texas sen­at­or then pro­ceeded to read the story from the ra­dio host’s fath­er. That can be read in full here.

10:10 a.m.: Cruz’s Pitch to Demo­crats

“Buck­ing your party’s lead­er­ship in­ev­it­ably pro­vokes a re­ac­tion. In­ev­it­ably pro­vokes ex­pres­sions, and of­ten strong ex­pres­sions of dis­pleas­ure,” Cruz said. He con­tin­ued:

But let me also en­cour­age any Demo­crats, there are worse things in life than a few harsh words be­ing tossed your way. To be hon­est, that pales in com­par­is­on to the work­ing men and wo­men of this coun­try who are suf­fer­ing, who are los­ing their jobs, who are los­ing their health care, who are be­ing forced in­to part-time work.

Of course, Cruz knows a thing or two about buck­ing party lead­er­ship. This is an area where the fresh­man sen­at­or speaks with some ex­per­i­ence.

From there, Cruz yiel­ded for a ques­tion from Dav­id Vit­ter.

10:02 a.m.: Steve Stock­man on the Of­fens­ive

Lend­ing sup­port for Cruz over Twit­ter, the Texas con­gress­man drew a stretch of a par­al­lel between Cruz and Obama:

Ted Cruz stayed up all night to fight Obama­Care. Obama went to bed while Am­bas­sad­or Stevens was be­ing murdered.

— Rep. Steve Stock­man (@Steve­Work­s4Y­ou) Septem­ber 25, 2013

10:00 a.m.: The Cruz Me­dia Black­out

Cruz may have talked all night, but the na­tion­al me­dia for the most part ig­nored the speech — or at least didn’t give it front-page treat­ment this morn­ing. He did, however, get ma­jor play in news­pa­pers from his home state, like the Dal­las Morn­ing News or Hou­s­ton Chron­icle. Here’s a com­pil­a­tion of some news­pa­pers from across the coun­try.

9:56 a.m.: The En­dgame

“I can’t win. There’s no way I can win,” Cruz said. But, he said, when it comes to ul­ti­mately de­feat­ing Obama­care “I have faith in the Amer­ic­an people.”

What Cruz gets wrong here, though, is that Amer­ic­ans op­pose de­fund­ing Obama­care if it means shut­ting down the gov­ern­ment. And if that’s what this en­dgame looks like in the short-term, sup­port for Cruz could erode.

9:30 a.m.: The Fourth Longest Sen­ate Speech

Re­cords fall:

Sen Ted Cruz R-TX now owns the fourth longest Sen­ate floor speech, passing Sen Robert La Fol­lette Sr (18 h 23 m)

— Jam­ie Dupree (@jam­iedupree) Septem­ber 25, 2013

9:19 a.m.: A Ques­tion From James In­hofe

The Ok­lahoma Re­pub­lic­an, who has spent much of the last day on the floor with Cruz, gave the Texas sen­at­or a brief re­prieve for a ques­tion about single-pay­er health in­sur­ance, and wheth­er or not that was Harry Re­id’s goal all along.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, at this point we are get­ting a de­cent num­ber of re­peats of state­ments that were made last night. That’s, by his own ad­mis­sion, what Sen. In­hofe is do­ing right now in his state­ment on Hil­lary Clin­ton’s health care push in the ‘90s. But gotta ima­gine it’s nearly im­possible to come up with 17 hours of ori­gin­al spoken con­tent.

Of course, there’s a big dif­fer­ence between Hil­lary­care and Obama­care. Con­gress passed Obama­care. One of them be­came a law. The oth­er didn’t.

9:05 a.m.: Cruz: To­wards a Sen­ate With 10 Bernie Sanders

Sen­at­or Cruz sug­ges­ted he would prefer to have a Sen­ate with 10 Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and 10 Mike Lees, R-Utah, than what we have now. The im­plic­a­tion here be­ing that, in Cruz’s mind, while Sanders is not quiet about his far-left views, oth­er Demo­crats may be hid­ing their true be­liefs.

With that, back to read­ing At­las Shrugged.

8:59 a.m.: Cruz Reads Ayn Rand

A little be­fore 9, the sen­at­or began to read from At­las Shrugged and The Foun­tain­head. Cruz has pre­vi­ously re­ferred to the au­thor as one of his all-time her­oes.

8:53 a.m.: Ted Cruz: I’m Not Hip

Com­par­ing him­self to Rand Paul and Marco Ru­bio, Sen­at­or Cruz said that he is not hip. That he can’t at­tract people with ear­rings and Birken­stocks. But, he says, he can still quote Ashton Kutcher. “I will take it as a giv­en that there is no politi­cian on the plan­et who qual­i­fies as cool.”

As he did on Tues­day, Cruz de­cided to cite from Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Awards speech. Video of the speech it­self, and some back­ground on it, can be found be­low.

“Al­ways be sexy,” Cruz said, quot­ing Kutcher. “I sa­lute that mes­sage.”

8:50 a.m.: Cruz and Paul: Obama Should Be on Obama­care

Ex­tend­ing the prin­ciple of Dav­id Vit­ter’s amend­ment, both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz spoke on the floor about how the pres­id­ent should be sub­ject to his health care law.

“I think the pres­id­ent should take it,” Paul said. “I think Justice Roberts should take it “¦ If he’s go­ing to take that in­tel­lec­tu­al leap to jus­ti­fy Obama­care, then he should take it.”

8:45 a.m.: Cruz Does His Best Darth Vader

Okay, we’re get­ting a little de­li­ri­ous here. Com­par­ing Wash­ing­ton D.C. to the em­pire and the move­ment against Obama­care as the “rebel al­li­ance,” Cruz tried to pull off a Star Wars ana­logy. That in­cludes put­ting on his best growl and say­ing, “Mike Lee. I am your fath­er.” 

“Just like in the Star Wars movies, the Em­pire will strike back.” But, at the end of the day, Cruz said, “I think the rebel al­li­ance, the people, will pre­vail.”

8:42 a.m.: Paul: Come on Down, Chief Justice Roberts

“Justice Roberts loves Obama­care so much that I’m pro­pos­ing Justice Roberts trot on down” and sign up for the ex­changes, Rand Paul said on the floor Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Paul also knocked Obama­care’s man­dates, say­ing that “when you hear the word ‘man­date,’ that’s not free­dom. That’s gov­ern­ment telling you have to do something.”

Paul also got in a bit of a zinger on the au­thors of the Af­ford­able Care Act:

The people who gave you Obama­care are not bad people. They have big hearts, but some­times, I think, not big brains.

“If you can’t sell free health care,” Paul said, “there must be a prob­lem with it.”

His ques­tion for Cruz: Do you see an open­ing for com­prom­ise with the pres­id­ent on the Af­ford­able Care Act?

Cruz’s an­swer? Ab­so­lutely. Al­though, again, it’s ac­tu­ally very, very hard to ima­gine Obama agree­ing to any of Cruz’s pro­posed changes to Obama­care. Es­pe­cially where fund­ing is con­cerned.

8:33 a.m.: How This Is Work­ing Out for Cruz So Far

Ac­cord­ing to Google Trends, Cruz is break­ing in­to some un­fa­mil­i­ar ground for a ju­ni­or sen­at­or:

So that’s Sen. Cruz, killing Joseph Gor­don-Levitt, not quite beat­ing out Mar­vel’s new T.V. show in terms of search in­terest Wed­nes­day morn­ing. But when you ask your­self why ex­actly Ted Cruz is spend­ing so much time speak­ing, es­pe­cially when it’s not even for an ac­tu­al fili­buster and he’s very un­likely to get any of what he wants on Obama­care, it’s worth keep­ing this chart in mind. 

8:23 a.m.: Rand Paul Re­turns to the Floor

“The pres­id­ent wants 100 per­cent of Obama­care, as he wrote it, as Demo­crats wrote it, with no Re­pub­lic­an in­put,” Sen. Paul said. What’s dif­fi­cult with this state­ment, and with much of what Paul and Cruz have said over the last day, is that the Af­ford­able Care Act was of course passed by Con­gress. And Re­pub­lic­ans were giv­en op­por­tun­ity to of­fer in­put on the law, even though in the end none of them ac­tu­ally voted for it in the Sen­ate.

8:11 a.m.: Cruz’s Obama­care Amend­ments

An­swer­ing a ques­tion from Pat Roberts, Cruz said he would sup­port re­peal­ing the med­ic­al device tax and Sen. Dav­id Vit­ter’s sub­sidy amend­ment, which Vit­ter dis­cussed on the floor with Cruz on Tues­day.

“Dif­fer­ent rules should not ap­ply to Wash­ing­ton that ap­ply to the Amer­ic­an people,” Cruz said.

Cruz also sug­ges­ted sup­port for re­mov­ing au­thor­ity from the IRS, and delay­ing the in­di­vidu­al man­date—which would likely ef­fect­ively gut the health care law. He then yiel­ded for an­oth­er ques­tion/state­ment from Pat Roberts.

8:02 a.m.: Cruz’s Lions

Call­ing Roberts an “old li­on” of the Sen­ate, Cruz said it was a “big, big deal” to have the Kan­sas Re­pub­lic­an’s sup­port on the floor. “It is one thing for the young turks, it was one things for those who have been dubbed the wacko birds” to be on the floor. But, Cruz said, hav­ing the sup­port of some of these more seni­or Sen­at­ors makes a dif­fer­ence.

Of course, it’s worth not­ing, Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship hasn’t been rush­ing to Cruz’s side so far. And Cruz’s co-sen­at­or from Texas, Minor­ity Whip John Cornyn, didn’t have kind words for Cruz on Tues­day.

7:52 a.m.: A Ques­tion From Pat Roberts

Roberts, who ad­mit­ted to not stick­ing through the whole night, ap­peared on the floor Wed­nes­day morn­ing with a par­tic­u­larly loose tie and a ques­tion for Sen. Cruz.

Roberts’ com­ments wer­en’t about Obama­care dir­ectly, but rather about how the Sen­ate amend­ment pro­cess is cur­rently work­ing, par­tic­u­larly in re­gards to the Farm Bill. Roberts asked Cruz what kinds of amend­ments he would like to of­fer on a budget res­ol­u­tion that would im­pact Obama­care.

7:47 a.m.: Cruz on the Ex­cep­tions

Sen. Cruz again claimed that, un­less it is de­fun­ded, labor uni­ons will even­tu­ally be ex­emp­ted from Obama­care. “I be­lieve if it doesn’t ap­ply to every­one, it shouldn’t ap­ply to any­one,” he said. Al­though, as bears re­peat­ing, there’s not much reas­on to think that claim will ac­tu­ally come true.

“You have noth­ing to worry about if you have sev­er­al high-paid lob­by­ists” at your call, Cruz said. 

Cruz also com­pared Obama­care to the “so­cial­ized medi­cine” of Cuba. Get­ting a dig in on Mi­chael Moore, Cruz said that “I’m not aware of one per­son get­ting on a raft from Flor­ida and head­ing over to Cuba.”

Cruz then yiel­ded to a ques­tion from Kan­sas’ Pat Roberts.

7:43 a.m.: Ru­bio on His­pan­ics and the Amer­ic­an Dream

Marco Ru­bio, giv­ing Cruz an­oth­er break, spoke on why the Amer­ic­an Dream res­on­ates with the His­pan­ic com­munity in Amer­ica. He spoke spe­cific­ally about how big gov­ern­ment pushed His­pan­ics out of Venezuela and Cuba, and brought them to the free­dom of places like Miami. 

“That’s what big gov­ern­ment does, it traps people in the cir­cum­stances of their birth.” We should de­fund Obam­care be­cause, Ru­bio said, “it un­der­mines the Amer­ic­an free-en­ter­prise sys­tem.”

His ques­tion for Cruz: Aren’t we also fight­ing today for Amer­ic­an free en­ter­prise?

7:30 a.m.: Cruz Re­turns With a Warn­ing

Thank­ing Ru­bio for his time, Cruz said that “if Obama­care had been law, he might not be in the Sen­ate right now.” He sug­ges­ted that it may have pre­ven­ted him from get­ting to rep­res­ent Texas, as well.

The idea here be­ing that, the im­pact of Obama­care on busi­nesses in gen­er­al, and the His­pan­ic com­munity in par­tic­u­lar, could be so tax­ing that it wouldn’t have al­lowed the Ru­bios and the Cruzes to suc­ceed in Amer­ica.

“There is no ideal that res­on­ates more with the His­pan­ic com­munity than the Amer­ic­an dream,” Cruz said. “Has Obama­care made it harder to achieve the Amer­ic­an dream?”

From there, Cruz gave way to an­oth­er ques­tion from Ru­bio, that is at least in part in­ten­ded to be an an­swer to that ques­tion.

7:20 a.m.: What We Missed

The floor speech has been go­ing on for nearly 17 hours now. We missed a good chunk of it overnight. But here’s some of what happened:

Around 1:00 a.m., Cruz took time to talk about the re­li­gious liberty im­plic­a­tions of Obama­care.

Cruz was joined by the first Demo­crat­ic sen­at­or on the floor at around 9:00 p.m. as Illinois’ Dick Durbin came down. Durbin didn’t come just as a friend though. He ques­tioned Cruz on wheth­er or not he really wanted to shut­down the gov­ern­ment, and wheth­er Cruz really thought he had the votes to de­fund Obama­care. You can see video of their back-and-forth here:

Durbin was also one of the few Demo­crats to come to the floor dur­ing Rand Paul’s spring drone fili­buster.

At around 3:00 a.m., at least Mike Lee had joined Cruz on the floor. At some point, Lee said that he wishes he could be a pir­ate.

A bit be­fore mid­night, Cruz read tweets from his #MakeD­CListen tag.

7:13 a.m.: Wow.

So, ob­vi­ously, we’ve missed some. But turn­ing on the tele­vi­sion at 7 Wed­nes­day morn­ing, we were greeted with a vis­ibly tired Marco Ru­bio, speak­ing on the floor, giv­ing Cruz a re­prieve. At the mo­ment, Ru­bio is talk­ing about the busi­ness ex­per­i­ence of his par­ents. 

“Some of the greatest her­oes in the Amer­ic­an story are people you will nev­er learn about,” Ru­bio said. “Some of the greatest her­oes in the Amer­ic­an story are people who worked hard at jobs, back-break­ing jobs, dif­fi­cult jobs, so their chil­dren can have ca­reers.”

8:35 pm: A Ques­tion from James In­hofe

The Ok­lahoma sen­at­or came aboard for sup­port a little after 8:30.

8:17 pm: A Ques­tion From Mike En­zi

The Wyom­ing Re­pub­lic­an joined in with oth­er Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors in giv­ing Cruz a break in speak­ing, es­pe­cially after his Seussi­an tour de force. He asked Cruz what, ex­actly, a con­tinu­ing budget res­ol­u­tion is.

8:13 pm: “They Did Not Like Green Eggs and Ham, And They Did Not Like Obama­care Either”

Cruz com­pared the health care law to the Seuss story, which he read in full. Amer­ic­ans “did not like green eggs and ham, and they did not like Obama­care either,” he said. “They did not like Obama­care in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse.”

Video here:

8:06 pm: Good­night, Cruz Chil­dren

“The hard­est as­pect of pub­lic ser­vice is be­ing away from those little an­gels,” Cruz said of his two daugh­ters at 8 pm. 

Why turn to his daugh­ters at 8 pm? Be­cause that’s when, Cruz says, his daugh­ters have turned on C-SPAN. So he’s taken the op­por­tun­ity to read them two bed-time stor­ies.

Cruz read from the Bible, read­ing “King So­lomon’s wide words.” Things like, “good people are kind to their an­im­als, but a mean per­son is cruel.” And, “we trap ourselves by telling lies, but we stay out of trouble by liv­ing right.” “Kind words are like honey,” Cruz said. “They cheer you up and make you feel strong.”

The second item that Cruz read his daugh­ters was, of course, Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. And yes, he read the whole thing. With feel­ing.

“I would not could not with a goat,” Sen. Cruz read. We as­sume this is a Sen­ate first.

Cruz con­cluded, say­ing “Daddy’s go­ing to be home soon, to read to you in per­son.”

7:55 pm: Not a Big Crowd

At least ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post‘s Ed O’Keefe:

More than 5 hours in­to @Sen­Ted­Cruz‘s #TedTalk, there are just 25 people watch­ing in the Sen­ate gal­lery.

— Ed O’Keefe (@ed­at­post) Septem­ber 24, 2013

7:50 pm: Cruz: Obama­care Is Bru­tal to Young Amer­ic­ans

In a line that has come up be­fore, and likely will come up again as the GOP aims to win over more young voters, Cruz said that “you could not design a law to do more dam­age to young people than Obama­care if you sat down and tried.”

Cruz didn’t just fo­cus on Obama­care here, but on the plight of young Amer­ic­ans throughout the eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery. He read off youth un­em­ploy­ment num­bers, sug­gest­ing that Obama­care could make things worse.

In 2012, Obama crushed Mitt Rom­ney among young people na­tion­ally, by a 67 to 30 mar­gin. Obama­care and the specter of pri­vacy-shat­ter­ing big gov­ern­ment, Cruz and oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans hope, could be a way to shift those num­bers.

7:37 pm: Ted Cruz Has a List

The sen­at­or has spent a de­cent amount of time now read­ing a list of com­pan­ies that are lim­it­ing em­ploy­ee hours to avoid the hav­ing to provide health care. This as we ap­proach five full hours of speak­ing.

The list, however, does come com­plete with a few quick jokes about White Castle and Fat­bur­ger (“there’s truth in ad­vert­ising”)

6:50 pm: Mike Lee Re­turns

The Utah Re­pub­lic­an re­turned for an­oth­er ques­tion, and to read a let­ter from a con­stitu­ent about the ACA.

6:42 pm: Cruz to Ru­bio: “You In­spire Me”

Cruz called Ru­bio’s com­ments ab­so­lutely right, and said that he “in­spires” him. Marco Ru­bio, Cruz said, is a “crit­ic­al na­tion­al lead­er.”

6:37 pm: A Ques­tion From Marco Ru­bio

His ques­tion? “Why are we so pas­sion­ate” about Obama­care?

Ru­bio’s ques­tion/speech began with a med­it­a­tion on Amer­ica, and what it has meant for him and his fam­ily. And then it be­came a ques­tion of wheth­er or not the Amer­ic­an Dream is still achiev­able.

“I think it’s time we real­ized that one of the lead­ing threats to the Amer­ic­an Dream are policies that are be­ing pur­sued at the fed­er­al level.” 

Ru­bio answered the pas­sion ques­tion him­self, be­fore giv­ing Cruz a chance to. “We are pas­sion­ate about this op­por­tun­ity we have to stop Obama­care be­cause of the im­pact it has on real people.”

The biggest polit­ic­al ques­tion for Amer­ica now, says Ru­bio, is wheth­er or not Amer­ica can con­tin­ue to be ex­cep­tion­al, or if it will just be­come like every­one else.

Ru­bio is, as yet, the most main­stream Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or to join Cruz on the floor. He’s the sixth to ask a ques­tion. He’s also the third of the pos­sible 2016 GOP con­tenders, join­ing Cruz and Paul. Again, this speech likely won’t change the course of Obama­care. But it could be one of the most pro­longed demon­stra­tions of the new course of the Re­pub­lic­an party.

“We could be here all night,” Ru­bio said.

6:21 pm: Jeff Ses­sions All In on Cruz

In his fi­nal ques­tion, Ses­sions said that he will op­pose any ad­van­cing of a budget that doesn’t “provide some change in this Obama­care le­gis­la­tion.” He fur­ther said that he in­tends to sup­port Cruz. 

6:18 pm: Ted Cruz on the “Muzzled” Sen­ate

Lam­bast­ing Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Re­id’s plan for amend­ments on a budget res­ol­u­tion, Cruz said that Re­id is ef­fect­ively set­ting up a situ­ation where “the oth­er 99 sen­at­ors are muzzled.” “That’s a sign of a Sen­ate that’s not work­ing,” Cruz said. “There should be open de­bate and open amend­ments.”

6:15 pm: The Ques­tions

While we may not be get­ting too much sub­stance from the ques­tions that (so far) five sen­at­ors have asked Sen. Cruz, they do make an im­port­ant point. At the very least, these are five Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors who have Cruz’s back, and who aren’t afraid of show­ing as much on the Sen­ate floor. Five sen­at­ors isn’t ne­ces­sar­ily an in­tim­id­at­ing co­ali­tion, but they show that even with the pub­lic feud­ing between Cruz and the GOP es­tab­lish­ment this week, he still has some sup­port. Even if it’s com­ing from the fringes.

6:08 pm: Cruz on the Boom of Gov­ern­ment Busi­ness

Sen. Ses­sions asked Cruz about a per­ceived in­crease in work­ers in Wash­ing­ton be­cause of the growth of gov­ern­ment and the ACA. “One of the dis­turb­ing trends we’ve seen in re­cent years,” Cruz said, “is the boom in the busi­ness in gov­ern­ment.”

In real­ity, however, there has been a pro­longed drop in pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ment over the last sev­er­al years.

6:01 pm: ‘The Tar­get Is Obama­care’

Sen. Cruz tried to make the point that he’s not try­ing to go after his fel­low con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans with his stand, or Demo­crats for that mat­ter. “It is my hope, my fer­vent hope, that the voices of dis­sen­sion with­in the Re­pub­lic­an caucus will stop fir­ing at each oth­er and start fir­ing at the tar­get,” he said. “I don’t want us to start fir­ing at the Demo­crats or the pres­id­ent.”

In­stead, he said, “the tar­get is Obama­care.” With all of the rhet­or­ic­al vol­leys that have come Cruz’s way in the last week, it’s hard to see how eas­ily he’ll be able to just smooth over ten­sion with­in the Re­pub­lic­an caucus.

5:52 pm: A Ques­tion From Jeff Ses­sions

The Alabama Re­pub­lic­an got the floor tem­por­ar­ily from Cruz for a ques­tion. The num­ber of Cruz sup­port­ers is stead­ily rising, four hours in­to the speech. 

The ques­tion: “If there’s a single-pay­er, who will the pay­er be?”

Cruz’s an­swer? “The gov­ern­ment, which ul­ti­mately means the tax­pay­er.”

5:45 pm: Cruz on the March to So­cial­ized Health Care

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from Sen. Pat Roberts, Ted Cruz said that the Kan­sas sen­at­or is “ab­so­lutely right” in sug­gest­ing that the Af­ford­able Care Act is the first step to­wards so­cial­ized health care. “Its in­ten­ded pur­pose is to un­avoid­ably lead us down that path,” Cruz said.

“When Obama­care col­lapses in shambles it’ll take down the private health in­sur­ance sys­tem with it, leav­ing noth­ing left.”

5:42 pm: A Ques­tion From Pat Roberts

Cruz yiel­ded the floor to the Kan­sas Re­pub­lic­an a bit be­fore six. His ques­tion: “Is this not the first step to­wards so­cial­ized health­care?”

5:41 pm: Ted Cruz An­swers Rand Paul on a Gov­ern­ment Shut­down

“I will go to my grave in debt to Rand Paul,” Sen. Cruz opened in re­sponse to a ques­tion from Rand Paul. The ad­mir­a­tion between the two sen­at­ors was on ob­vi­ous dis­play, in­clud­ing in Ted Cruz’s ad­mis­sion that he was not wear­ing his famed ar­gu­ment boots. 

But, to Rand’s ques­tion as to wheth­er or not Sen. Cruz would like to shut down the gov­ern­ment and block a budget from be­ing passed. “We should not shut down the gov­ern­ment,” Cruz said. “We should fund every bit of the gov­ern­ment. Every as­pect of the gov­ern­ment. One hun­dred per­cent of the gov­ern­ment ex­cept for Obama­care.” Cruz con­tin­ued:

Let me be ab­so­lutely clear we should not shut down the gov­ern­ment and I sin­cerely hope that Sen. Re­id and Pres­id­ent Obama did not force a gov­ern­ment shut­down simply to force Obama­care on the Amer­ic­an people.

Cruz also pushed against the idea of ac­cept­ing some kind of budget com­prom­ise. Why not? “Be­cause I’ve com­mit­ted pub­licly over and over to the Amer­ic­an people that I will not vote for a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion that funds one penny of Obama­care.”

Con­gress’ odds of passing a budget that de­funds Obama­care are in­cred­ibly slim. The chance that Obama wouldn’t veto such a budget, slim­mer. Real­ist­ic­ally, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul know this. What they may not know is what ex­actly a solu­tion looks like that pre­vents a gov­ern­ment shut­down.

5:31: Rand Paul Enters

It be­gins. The Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­an opened with some ad­vise for Ted Cruz, from one long-speech-giver to an­oth­er. “Try not to eat on tele­vi­sion,” he said. “Some­times that shows up.”

Sen. Paul praised the idea of lengthy oratory, say­ing that he thinks that what the Amer­ic­an people would like to see is for politi­cians to stand up and say what they be­lieve in, what they’d like the coun­try to look like.

“How are we go­ing to get to dia­logue without some­body stand­ing up and say­ing enough’s enough?”

And Paul’s ques­tion for Ted Cruz? Wheth­er or not the Texas sen­at­or would like to shut down the gov­ern­ment.

5:20 pm: Let­ter Time

Cruz turned to let­ters from small busi­ness own­ers from across the coun­try as he fin­ished the third hour of his speech. The let­ters de­scribe the bur­den some em­ploy­ers feel of the health care law, which re­quires them to provide cov­er­age for full time em­ploy­ees.

It does seem, however, like read­ing time will shortly end. Sen. Rand Paul tweeted just a few minutes ago that he’s headed to the floor. And he might be bring­ing candy.

5:10 pm: Pa­ging Sen. Paul

Around 4:30, Rand Paul tweeted out his im­pli­cit sup­port of Cruz’s stand:

I re­main op­posed to Obama­care and I will not vote for any fund­ing of Obama­care.

— Sen­at­or Rand Paul (@Sen­Rand­Paul) Septem­ber 24, 2013

The Hill re­ports that Sen. Paul is ex­pec­ted to join Cruz on the Sen­ate floor some­time this af­ter­noon. We don’t yet know when that will hap­pen, how long it will last, or what Paul will say.

Cruz ref­er­enced Sen. Paul’s earli­er drone fili­buster Tues­day even­ing, say­ing “I re­mem­ber when Sen. Paul began that fili­buster. Many mem­bers in this body viewed what he was do­ing as curi­ous if not quix­ot­ic.” He con­tin­ued: “The Amer­ic­an people got en­gaged, got in­formed. And it trans­formed the de­bate.”

5:05 pm: A Pre-Planned Speech

Ac­cord­ing to Harry Re­id’s com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or, Sen. Cruz pre-ne­go­ti­ated the terms of his Tues­day speech with the ma­jor­ity lead­er on Monday.

4:51 pm: Prais­ing Ashton Kutcher

Sen. Cruz took a mo­ment to high­light a speech that act­or Ashton Kutcher made at the Teen Choice Awards this sum­mer. The speech was something that’s easy for people to get be­hind. “I be­lieve that op­por­tun­ity looks a lot like work,” Kutcher said in the speech.

He’s not the only con­ser­vat­ive to hop on the speech. Sarah Pal­in pre­vi­ously called it “heart­felt.” Glenn Beck called it “in­cred­ibly in­sight­ful.” Cruz him­self had earli­er called it “re­mark­able” on Twit­ter. You can see it here.

4:44 pm: Per­son­al His­tory

A little after 4:30, Ted Cruz began to speak about his fath­er’s ex­per­i­ence of “be­ing beat and al­most killed in Cuban jail,” and his own fam­ily his­tory. The full Cruz story, as writ­ten re­cently in GQ, makes for a fas­cin­at­ing read.

Speak­ing slightly earli­er about poverty in Amer­ica, Cruz brought up an in­ter­est­ing polit­ic­al com­par­is­on:

I didn’t agree with a lot of things that John Ed­wards said as a polit­ic­al can­did­ate, but I ac­tu­ally agreed with that no­tion that there are two Amer­icas.

Cruz spoke wove his fath­er’s his­tory in­to this idea, and how his fam­ily was able to come up in Amer­ica.

Un­der­stand­ably, Cruz got a little off the broad­er point of polit­ics here, say­ing things like “my fath­er in­ven­ted green eggs and ham,” and then talk­ing about his love of the book.

But as weird and ran­dom as this might sound, Cruz is also at­tempt­ing to do something that Rand Paul pulled off (to an ex­tent) in his spring fili­buster. He’s in­tro­du­cing him­self to the coun­try. Ob­vi­ously most people in Amer­ica aren’t glued to C-SPAN right now, but bet on see­ing these clips of Sen. Cruz talk­ing about his fam­ily and his early life float­ing around in the com­ing years.

One side of his fath­er’s his­tory hasn’t (at least so far) come up in Cruz’s Sen­ate speech. In the 1980s, Cruz’s fath­er’s oil busi­ness fell with the lower­ing oil prices, and he went bank­rupt. Cruz spoke about this time to GQ:

My fath­er poured all of my par­ents’ per­son­al as­sets in­to the com­pany, and de­mand for oil and gas ex­plor­a­tion just dis­ap­peared, be­cause oil prices dropped so low. There’s a whole gen­er­a­tion of people in the en­ergy in­dustry at that time that just lost everything.

4:33 pm: Obama­care Is a Rule for the Little People

Sen. Cruz has spent much of the last dozen or so minutes speak­ing out against the ex­emp­tions the White House has is­sued for Obama­care. Mark my words, he said, if Obama­care goes in­to ef­fect “you will see an ex­emp­tion for labor uni­ons.” Sum­mon­ing Le­ona Helmsle, Cruz called the law a rule for the “little people.”

As Ezra Klein writes at WonkBlog, the odds of ac­tu­ally see­ing a labor ex­emp­tion aren’t look­ing too hot.

4:22 pm: The Demo­crats Come to the At­tack

On Twit­ter at least. You can see the full Twit­ter re­ac­tions at bot­tom.

4:12: De­fend­ing Vit­ter

Fol­low­ing a quick ques­tion from Louisi­ana Re­pub­lic­an Dav­id Vit­ter, Ted Cruz launched in­to a de­fense of Dav­id Vit­ter’s pro­posed amend­ment that would re­quire law­makers and oth­ers to no longer get fed­er­al sub­sidies for their health in­sur­ance.

“I want to com­mend Sen­at­or Dav­id Vit­ter for shin­ing a light on ba­sic fair­ness,” said Cruz. Al­though Cruz later did note that there could be some con­sequences if some people in Con­gress lose their sub­sidies:

If the Vit­ter Amend­ment passes, if Con­gress is sub­ject to the same rules of the Amer­ic­an people, there might be a few con­gres­sion­al staffers that tender their resig­na­tion.

4:03: Get­ting to Work

Sen. Cruz has spent a de­cent por­tion of his speak­ing time since re­turn­ing from a ques­tion break de­voted to the idea that Obama­care is a job killer. “Some politi­cians sug­gest people in this coun­try are lazy, don’t want to work,” he said. “I think Amer­ic­ans want to work.”

“Why aren’t people able to get jobs? Be­cause Obama­care is killing jobs.” And with that, Sen­at­or Cruz yiel­ded for a quick ques­tion from Lous­i­ana Re­pub­lic­an Dav­id Vit­ter.

And, at least so far, the idea that Obama­care is a gi­ant job killer hasn’t really borne out.

3:57 pm: Cruz Re­turns, With His­tory

The sen­at­or came back from Sen. Lee’s ques­tion­ing a little be­fore 4. And he came to give a his­tory les­son about man­kind’s struggle for free­dom. 

“If you look at the his­tory of gov­ern­ment in the world, it hasn’t been pretty,” he said. “It has been a story of op­pres­sion. A story of rulers im­pos­ing their rule on their sub­jects.”

Cruz sug­ges­ted that the U.S. hasn’t been work­ing on the prop­er side of this his­tory. “For some time the United States has not be­haved as if each of us col­lect­ively have 300 mil­lion bosses.” But, he hopes, this week of mak­ing D.C. listen will change that. “”The most im­port­ant ob­ject­ive this week is to re­as­sert that sov­er­eignty lies with We the People.”

3:48 pm: Hasht­ags

Sen­at­or Cruz is tweet­ing from the Sen­ate floor. Or at least someone is on his be­half:

To­geth­er, we need to #MakeD­CListen

— Sen­at­or Ted Cruz (@Sen­Ted­Cruz) Septem­ber 24, 2013

The Twit­ter love is at least start­ing to come in from House Re­pub­lic­ans, like Ok­lahoma’s Jim Briden­stine and Texas’ Steve Stock­man. Noth­ing yet from the Sen­ate.

3:37 pm: Ques­tion Time

Without yield­ing the floor, Sen. Cruz elec­ted to take a ques­tion from his friend and ally, Utah Re­pub­lic­an Mike Lee. “How many more Amer­ic­ans will have to lose their jobs be­fore Con­gress acts?” he asked. The ques­tions are play­ing a sim­il­ar role to the ones Lee lobbed at Rand Paul dur­ing his epic drone fili­buster. They give Cruz a minute to catch his breath.

3:35 pm: What’s a “Fly­ing Flip?”

The sen­at­or said that most Amer­ic­ans “could not give a fly­ing flip about a bunch of politi­cians.” He con­tin­ued, “al­most all of us are in cheap suits and bad hair­cuts. Who cares?”

We don’t know ex­actly what a “fly­ing flip” is, but we can take a guess at what the sen­at­or was get­ting at.

In all ser­i­ous­ness though, this is an­oth­er sign of what the over­rid­ing theme of this speech has been to this point. It’s not really about health care. Policy hasn’t been men­tioned. It’s about what Ted Cruz sees as the in­cred­ible fail­ings of the U.S. Con­gress, a body he thinks won’t listen to av­er­age Amer­ic­ans.

If Ted Cruz had already lost a lot of friends in the Sen­ate this week, this speech sure won’t do any­thing to help him. How it plays with a grass­roots com­munity that he’s aim­ing for a pos­sible 2016 run though? We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

3:28 pm: Against Cock­tail Parties

So says the sen­at­or:

Mr. Pres­id­ent, it is ap­par­ently very, very im­port­ant to be in­vited to all the right cock­tail parties in town. At the end of the day we don’t work for those hold­ing cock­tail parties in Wash­ing­ton D.C. We don’t work for the in­tel­li­gensia who live in cit­ies and write ed­it­or­i­als for big news­pa­pers. We work for the Amer­ic­an people.

Cock­tail parties are ste­reo­typ­ic­ally en­dem­ic in Wash­ing­ton D.C., a sym­bol for an elit­ist cul­ture gone awry. But it’s a trope that doesn’t al­ways ring so true with the new real­ity where many mem­bers of Con­gress are hes­it­ant to cross party lines—even for drinks.

Cruz, for his part, has had some is­sues with elit­ism this week. A pro­file of the sen­at­or in GQ presen­ted the Har­vard and Prin­ceton gradu­ate as someone who didn’t as­so­ci­ate with people from the “less­er Ivies.”

3:20 pm: An­oth­er Kind of In­sur­ance

Play­ing off the idea of health in­sur­ance, Cruz said that his fight against Obama­care is “about in­sur­ing that the Amer­ic­an people have a voice.” Be­cause, get it, puns. He con­tin­ued, say­ing it’s about:

in­sur­ing that those who are strug­gling, those who are without a job, those who are afraid about los­ing their health in­sur­ance, that Wash­ing­ton listens to them. That Wash­ing­ton acts on their needs.

3:15 pm: The Rest of the Sen­ate Needs to Get to Work

Cruz doesn’t think he should be the only guy on the floor speak­ing for hours about the Af­ford­able Care Act. “We oughtta have all 100 sen­at­ors on this floor around the clock” un­til the law is no more, said the sen­at­or. 

And he hit his cowork­ers on their pri­or­it­ies: “The Sen­ate floor is largely empty. Every­one’s sched­ules are ap­par­ently busy enough that stand­ing up against Obama­care doesn’t make the pri­or­ity list.” Cruz later poin­ted to the lack of sen­at­ors at­tend­ing his speech as be­ing part of the reas­on why Con­gress has such a low ap­prov­al rat­ing.

“Any­one who wants to know why this body is held in low es­teem only has to look out to the empty chairs,” he said. And his re­marks for his col­leagues got a bit more per­son­ally bit­ing from there:

There’s a tend­ency as time goes on to view your con­stitu­ents as an an­noy­ance. In the private sec­tor if your boss picks up the phone and calls, I sus­pect neither you nor I sat at the com­puter and played Solit­aire.

We’ll be look­ing for a re­sponse from Sen­at­or Mc­Cain.

3:10 pm: Nazis

If you were bet­ting on a WWII ap­pear­ance with­in the first hour of Cruz speak­ing, you’re in luck! The sen­at­or com­pared people (namely, pun­dits) who say that his at­tempt to stop or de­fund Obama­care can’t be done to Brit­ish Prime Min­is­ter Neville Cham­ber­lain’s ap­pease­ment of Hitler and the Nazis. 

Cruz did ad­mit that there have been some his­tor­ic­al obstacles that have proved as daunt­ing to over­come as the Af­ford­able Care Act: “The moon might be as in­tim­id­at­ing as Obama­care.”

3:05 pm: It’s Time For Ana­lo­gies

For any long, ex­tem­por­an­eous speech, some odd cul­tur­al ref­er­ences are likely to sneak in. Just 20 minutes in, Cruz has already men­tioned the Little En­gine that Could and pro­fes­sion­al wrest­ling.

A little be­fore 3:00, Cruz com­pared the United States Con­gress to a very dif­fer­ent body: World Wrest­ling En­ter­tain­ment. “It’s wrest­ling matches where it’s all rigged,” he said. “The out­come is pre­de­ter­mined, and it’s all for show.”

As for the en­gine, the Texas sen­at­or said that if that Little En­gine tried to bring its “I think I can” at­ti­tude to Con­gress, he’d be in for a sorry sur­prise. “That little en­gine can’t,” Cruz said. Pre­sum­ably, in this ana­logy, Ted Cruz takes on the per­sona of the train. If that helps clear any­thing up for how you view the 113th Con­gress.

Twit­ter Re­sponses From Con­gress:

@Sen­Ted­Cruz on floor say­ing Sen­ate is just like pro wrest­ling. @Linda_M­cMa­hon, u could have used this guy last fall.

— Chris Murphy (@Chris­MurphyCT) Septem­ber 24, 2013

Ted Cruz said he would go to Wash­ing­ton and change Wash­ing­ton. He has — he’s made it worse.

— Joa­quin Castro (@Joa­quin­Castrotx) Septem­ber 24, 2013

And, of course:

#Obama­care ends life­time caps & pro­tects fam­il­ies from go­ing bank­rupt if they get sick. THIS is what Cruz wants to take away. #Fauxli­buster

— D Wasser­man Schultz (@DWStweets) Septem­ber 24, 2013

Cau­tious pre­dic­tion: the not-very-clev­er fili­buster puns aren’t go­ing away. But Rep. Mark Takano at least gets some cred­it for the design ef­fort:

Ted Cruz, Ima let you fin­ish but… pic.twit­

— Mark Takano (@Rep­Mark­Takano) Septem­ber 24, 2013

And, as we high­light above, Sen. Cruz has his fair share of Re­pub­lic­an con­gres­sion­al sup­port­ers on Twit­ter, too.

Contributions by Contributions from Clara Ritger