October 11th, 2013
11:30 AM ET
11 months ago

Dogged by hecklers, Cruz hits back

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.

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."

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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."

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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.


Filed under: Ted Cruz • Values Voter Summit
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    I can hear the wails from the right: They were "librul" plants there to cause a scene!

    October 11, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. Lenny

    Just love that CRUZ SMACK-DOWN.

    October 11, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    All he did was take a bunch of cheap shots at the President. How does he know those CITIZENS work for OFA? He doesn't! All that these conservative functions are about is spewing Hate Hate Hate! Well, they're going to hate it when we send most of them packing next November.

    October 11, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. rs

    What a circus! "Values Voters" who want to limit voter's rights, civil rights, women's rights; who wish to hurt the poor, and aid the rich all while destroying the environment are shouting down the architect of the most ill-advised government shutdown in a couple of decades. This is the very definition of the circular firing squad- and that friends, is today's GOP.
    No negotiations with these idiots.

    October 11, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    What values to these wing nuts hold? Tax cuts for the wealthy?

    October 11, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Good. I want nothing more than for this man to become the Republican nominee for President of the United States. The fallout will be catastrophic.

    And no, I do not sympathize with those who fall for this sort of BS which in my humble opinion is well past its expiration date. TeaPer BS that is.

    October 11, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Ted does not realize that his own party is fed up with him. I don't think any Obama supporter would want to be in the same room with the plague they call Cruz.

    October 11, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Thomas

    Cruz would be a great host on a game show .

    October 11, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    Ever wonder what Cruz and Rand Paul want to be when they grow up? Me neither.

    October 11, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. ST

    I do think Rafael Ted Cruz is not a smart person. How can he accuse the hecklers be sent by Obama Admin? Is he all that stupid? Does he think there isn't any opposition to him? Where was he when some hecklers showed up during the President's speech he gave to different gathering? As he heard the President claiming someone has sent them? Cruz, you are heading to the very, very, very, bad place if you continue behaving that way. The Tea Party alone, will never ever push you to somewhere.

    October 11, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. quinLee

    Gotta hand it to this guy, Cruz. He’s got these folk’s number. Like shooting fish in a barrel and cashing them in for himself. He knows he could say anything anti-Obama and they’d cheer and froth at the mouth. Ole Bobby J. tried to warn against being the stupid party. Don’t seem to be taking.

    October 11, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. S. B. Stein

    The question is about Cruz's offer from me is this: would the people that he would ask that the president questions tolerant and willing to understand his perspective?

    October 11, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Grahame Rhodes

    The Tea Party should form their own party away from the Republicans.

    October 11, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Wake up People!

    Any member of the GOPT that asks for respect should be reminded of how respectful they have been to President and Mrs. Obama the past 5 years.

    Nothing but another Obama hatefest.

    October 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Lisa P.

    I think it's pretty funny that Senator Cruz wants to pretend that 100 people represent "all" of President Obama's anything. I would imagine that the immigration rights supporters (just one small segment of President Obama's base, by the way) had to hold a lottery to select who among their activists would have the honor of heckling Cruz. And then Cruz heads off into fantasyland by acting like the conservative freaks at the so-called Values Voter Summit represent anything but a self-deluded radical fringe of real Americans. It's Mitt Romney telling a room full of 1% fat cats about the 47% all over again.

    As a challenge I would like to see Senator Cruz meet with one real randomly selected Texan for every ten Americans President Obama speaks with in a year. And I mean really meet and talk to, not the TV showboat partisan dogfight event that Ted Cruz proposes. Because I don't think it's Barack Obama who is totally out of touch with real American citizens and voters in this picture, I think it's Mr. Green Eggs and Ham.

    October 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. RK

    The longer this self righteous maniac stuck in an echo chamber walks around speaking, the more divided this country is going to become..!

    October 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Donna

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    All he did was take a bunch of cheap shots at the President.
    ---
    Why not? Obama is always taking cheap shots at everybody else! He's been doin git for 5 years. It is about time somebody started returning fire on Obama. It is long overdue.

    How does he know those CITIZENS work for OFA? He doesn't! All that these conservative functions are about is spewing Hate Hate Hate!
    --–
    Yeah, right. And all the leftwing lunatics on this board and out in the country just ooze love and kisses. Too funny. Hate is their stock and trade.

    Well, they're going to hate it when we send most of them packing next November.
    ---
    Pipe dreams. If you weren't able to unseat people with Obama on the top of the ballot, you never will. To the contrary, all those red state Democrat Senators are ripe for defeat. It would be SO good to get rid of that nasty senile woman-hating do-nothing Harry Reid.

    October 11, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. wendel

    cruz is just one more nut job supported by the repo party of old men and nut jobs. If they plan on winning elections they need to get a real platform and find some people with IQ's over 75 to run. How about thinking about the well being of the American people for a change??? That would be refreshing.

    October 11, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. O'drama ya Mama

    Did he really just compare the White House to the KGB building lol? "If im never seen again please send a search and rescue team" LMAO!!

    October 11, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Vince

    Whatever. No one is talking about Obamacare anymore in this shutdown. The rest of the party got the message and moved on to something else. Another Tea Party fail.

    October 11, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Lisa

    He's just Palin in pants. No fear there. Just another amusing train wreck. Like The Kardashians, etc

    October 11, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. W.B.

    I don't generally approve of hecklers. But Cruz just made up a lie and said they were paid Obama operatives. That's just a lie. I mean...that's not really a snappy comeback. That's just a lie.

    Sen. Cruz seems to have a problem with not lying about things. That's not good.

    October 11, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Oh the hypocrisy! VALUES? The only value these people care about is how much value kneeling in front of the Koch Brothers will earn them!

    October 11, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Ted Cruz / Jerry Springer 2016

    Teddy / Jerry / Teddy / Jerry / Teddy

    One thing is for sure , Ted Cruz is making a fortune .

    October 11, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. freedom

    "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."

    October 11, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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