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Cruz Marathon: A Waste Of Time Or Political Courage?

CBS News via UStream
Sen. Ted Cruz talked 21-hours calling for lawmakers to defund Obamacare.

Reaction to Sen. Ted Cruz’s marathon speech is mixed in Washington and in Texas.

  During his 21-hour attack on funding Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz quoted Ayn Rand, did a Darth Vader impression and read a Green Eggs and Ham bedtime story for his two daughters watching at home.

At the end of his performance, he said the goal of it all was to convince the Senate’s 46 Republicans to vote against any budget bill that includes money for the health plan

“Any senator who votes with Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats to give Majority Leader Reid the ability to fund Obamacare on a 51 vote, party vote, has made the decision to allow Obamacare to be funded,” Cruz warned.

But Republicans colleagues can count.  They know Democrats control the Senate and removing healthcare funding from a bill to extend the federal budget isn’t going to happen. 

Some expressed concern that all Republicans will be blamed if Cruz’s delaying actions lead to employee furloughs and program shutdowns after Monday.

At a stop in Dallas Texas House Speaker Joe Straus was careful not to directly criticize Cruz but he registered his concern.

“Playing chicken with our economy is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” Straus said.

Texas Republican Party Chair Steve Munisteri, however, said the conservatives who elected Cruz were cheering him on.

“Sen. Cruz never promised he would win every fight.  What he promised is that he’d fight every fight.  And I think Republicans in Texas will give him great credit even if he doesn’t succeed if he just wages the fight,” said Munisteri.

Texas Democrats, predictably, didn’t hold back. Fort Worth Congressman Mark Veasey linked Republican Gregg Abbott, who’s running for governor, with Cruz and what he called the senator’s “fake filibuster.”

“They are trying to sabotage healthcare for millions of Texans so they can do this political grandstanding,” Veasey said.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a San Antonio Democrat who may run statewide, called Cruz “a Wendy Davis wannabe.”

“Wendy Davis filibustered for women’s health.  Sen. Cruz filibustered against people having healthcare,” she said.

Nevertheless, Cruz supporters sought to dial into the fame that followed Davis filibuster, coopting a #StandWithWendy hashtag on social media to read #StandWithCruz.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.