Updated 12:21 p.m. ET, 10/11/2013
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Ted Cruz walked on stage to great fanfare Friday at the Values Voter Summit, an annual conservative gathering in Washington.
But not long into the Texas Republican's speech, hecklers tried to get under the senator's skin.
Follow @politicaltickerFollow @KilloughCNN
Cruz, however, largely remained cool–and roused his supporters even more when he stood up to the hecklers' jeering.
"I wish you would participate in the democratic process through speaking respectfully," he said to one of the protesters, as the audience applauded. "It seems that President Obama's paid political operatives are out in force today. And you know why? Because the men and women in this room scare the living daylights out of them."
Perkins: Cruz is de facto leader of Republican Party
Most of the hecklers, who stood up one by one before being escorted out, were from immigration groups.
But Cruz, a potential presidential contender, quickly accused the demonstrators of being puppets for the Obama administration.
"I'm curious, is anybody left in the Organizing for America headquarters? I'm actually glad that the president's whole political staff is here instead of actually doing mischief in the country," he said.
After continued interruptions, he made an offer.
"I would welcome the president, if he wants to get a 100 of his most rabid political operatives in a room, I will answer their questions on television as long as he likes," he said. "And in exchange, all I would ask, Mr. President, is you take not a hundred but 10 men and women in this room and spend 30 minutes answering their questions for the American people."
On Crossfire, Ted Cruz says he’s for health care reform, just not Obamacare
When he wasn't combating hecklers, Cruz applauded his own efforts in leading the strategy to try and defund Obamacare through a must-pass spending bill. The Republican-led House followed his rallying cry and attached such measures to multiple spending bills, but the Democratic-controlled Senate refused to pass them–actions that ultimately led to the ongoing government shutdown.
"It is because of you that the House of Representatives has been standing strong because the House has been listening to the people," he told the audience.
On Friday he heads to the White House with other Senate Republicans to talk about the shutdown and looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
"So after leaving here I am going to be going to the White House. I will make a request: If I am never seen again please send a search and rescue team. I very much hope tomorrow morning I don't wake up amidst the Syrian rebels," he said.
– CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.
Drone strike anyone?????
Cruz needs to go. He doesn't care what happens to the Government or the American people as long as he gets his way. To bad he probably won't disappear at the White House. Maybe export him to Iran. No, I wouldn't want to wish him on that country although he would fit in well.
How can this guy be a presidential contender...he was BORN in Canada?
He cannot be a presidential contender–he is not a natural born citizen! Good Grief, CNN, do a little outside reading on occasion. Cruz is an A** and the real GOP knows it but are too scared of him. He did the equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burned..he read Dr Seuss while the economy went down AGAIN in flames. It costs the govt 3x's the money to shut down -YOUR MONEY.
why is heckling ok RL...is it only permissible to talk if a person has the same the point of view you!!
sounds very Stalinistic...if you can not beat the facts, shout down the messenger so other people can't listen and make their own mind up about what the person has to say. Are you that small and scared of his point of view? Let him speak..Then you speak...then let people make up their mind...but letting people make up their own mind does not work for the collective...the ruling class knowns best ...all others must fall in line....you can't think for yourself....
Obama was sent here to divide America for the new world order. And he's really good at it.
Sign me up too!!
Gallup poll just released shows the Republicans 10 point drop since September gives them "the LOWEST support in the history of the Gallup Poll".
Ho ho ho ... now of course, Republicans know that CNN, Gallup, NBC, ABC, Fox polls are all lies. All polls are lies. They are all part of the Master Conspiracy.
Hahahaha, Now Cruz has a bogey man !
Cruz said he is for health care reform, just not the ACA. Well, let him explain what reform he would embrace. That has been one big problem for Republicans in general and the Tea Party types in particular. What is their alternative?
I didn't know they would let food stamp/welfare recipients attend the Values Voter Summit! Santa Obama's tax consumers were out in force I see.