Ted Cruz Marathon Continues on Senate Floor

Cruz keeps talking against the health care bill.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, continues to speak on the floor of the U.S. Senate at 5:21 a.m. on Wednesday Sept. 25, 2013. Tea party members credit Cruz’s "filibuster" speech as a landmark occasion for the conservative movement.

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was still protesting Obamacare Wednesday morning in the form of a more than 17-hour-long talkathon on the Senate floor. When he took the floor at 2:41 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, he promised he'd talk "until he could no longer stand." He is keeping that promise, blasting the Affordable Care Act and the Obama administration for driving up insurance premiums and forcing businesses to lay off workers.

"We need to make D.C. listen," he said as he took the floor Tuesday.

[READ: Sen. Cruz Goes it Alone to Defund Obamacare]

That was just the beginning. Here are the 4 moments that have mattered most so far during Cruz's all-night rant.

 

1. For a minute, it looked like there was a real debate. Viewers tuning in late Tuesday night to check in on Cruz may have been surprised to find a substantive debate on the Affordable Care Act unfolding on the Senate floor.

A few times, Democrats approached the tea-party frontman and engaged him in the health care discussion. Fellow freshmen Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., fired questions at the Texas firebrand senator, breaking up the monotony of his efforts. They asked him about how he would restructure the health care marketplaces and ensure that everyone, even those with pre-existing conditions had access to health care.

[BROWSE: U.S. News Guide to Health Insurance]

"I very much hope you introduce legislation to reform health care," Kaine said after presiding over Cruz's speech for two hours. "I have a feeling that there are many Democrats and Republicans who would love to work with you on reform [legislation]."

2. The gang got back together. Cruz wasn't the only Republican out fighting Tuesday night. Despite many senators in his own party critiquing his tactics, a handful of Cruz's closest allies emerged on the Senate floor to show their support. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, acted as chief wingman, giving Cruz his first vocal break just 57 minutes into the speech. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who is working to plug his own anti-Obamacare legislation – a plan to keep congressional staffers from getting government subsidies for their health care – also showed up.

And a host of 2016 hopefuls including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who staged his own filibuster over the country's targeted drone program earlier this year, also made their appearance. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has been visibly absent from the debate, didn't miss the opportunity to be on record supporting Cruz's Obamacare crusade and carried the torch in the 7 a.m. hour.

[READ: Ted Cruz Won't Let Obamacare Fight Go]

3. Cruz recited an impassioned version of "Green Eggs and Ham." Senators have read from telephone books, the Constitution and Twitter to pass the time for their marathon speeches and historic filibusters, but Cruz turned to Dr. Seuss Tuesday night for a little pick-me-up. Cruz announced around 8 p.m. Tuesday that he had bedtime story duty and would be taking a breather from all the Obamacare chatter to read "Green Eggs and Ham" to daughters.

His reading was convincing enough to draw the attention of Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

"Thank you for the recitation of 'Green Eggs and Ham.' That's as good as I've heard," Enzi said.

It wasn't Cruz's only pop culture reference Tuesday. He also praised actor Ashton Kutcher for his speech about hard work he gave during the Teen Choice Awards and addressed his love of "little burgers" from White Castle. He also recited passages from Ayn Rand.

[READ: Why a Government Shutdown Is Good for Ted Cruz]

4. Cruz admits admiration for President Barack Obama. There was a lot of Obamacare bashing, the health care legislation named for President Barack Obama, but Cruz gave Obama some credit.

Cruz recognized it was not that long ago that Obama was making waves in the Senate. As a Constitutional scholar, Obama was accused of being on the liberal fringe of the Democratic party. His rapid political rise and his position in the media's spotlight has led many to compare him to Cruz.

Ideologically, the two men couldn't be more different, but when it comes to drive, the politicians have a similar philosophy.