Well into the 18th hour of his filibuster of Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday morning that his talk-a-thon was not about raising his profile or garnering attention, but rather was about trying to raise the issue of defunding President Obama’s health care law.
“I would be perfectly happy if not a single story coming out of this mentioned my name,” Mr. Cruz told his colleague, Sen. Pat Roberts, who came to the floor to support the Texas Republican and ask several questions.
Some lawmakers objected to calling what Mr. Cruz was doing a filibuster, arguing that he wasn’t actually blocking action since a vote will occur to proceed on a stopgap spending bill at noon Wednesday, no matter what Mr. Cruz does.
But if it is a filibuster, it is already the fifth-longest in history, bumping Sen. William Proxmire’s 16-hour, 12-minute affair in 1981, when the Wisconsin senator was trying to stall an increase in the debt limit.
Mr. Cruz told colleagues he had a “delightful” night as he held the floor, standing the entire time and occasionally pacing the floor along the side of the chamber to stretch his legs as he yielded to fellow Republicans for questions — some of which lasted nearly an hour, giving him time to sip water and even have a little snack.
The GOP senators particularly bristled at what they saw as shallow coverage of the filibuster.
“If you just report on the personalities and political games, you are taking sides in the issue,” Mr. Cruz said. “Why is that? Because those who want to keep Obamacare funded … want all of the coverage to be about personality, about the politics, about anything, anything, anything other than the substance.”
He went on to call articles that focused on him “not responsible reporting.”