WASHINGTON—Speaking with reporters from his desk in the Oval Office Wednesday, President Ted Cruz found a moment to take a break from his duties as commander in chief and leader of the free world to fondly recall the marathon anti-Obamacare Senate speech he delivered in 2013, the one that propelled his ascent to the presidency.
By explaining that a purple finch is crimson, saying that a Panama hat is from Ecuador, and comparing those who refused to stand up to the Nazis with those who refused to stand up to Obamacare, the then freshman Senator Cruz set himself apart from other presidential hopefuls that fateful September day and instantly became a legitimate contender for the White House.
Cruz went on to handily defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton 509-29 in the 2016 Electoral College, with numerous voters—especially Independents and moderate Democrats and Republicans—citing Cruz’s speech, and his assertion that “law is not a breast that fills itself with milk,” as the reason they ultimately cast a ballot for him.
“It was a gamble, but it paid off,” President Cruz said, adding that he had a feeling on that fateful day years ago that likening his struggle against Obamacare to the rebel alliance’s battle against the Empire in Star Wars would be a message that would resonate with the nation’s electorate. “I knew I was doing something special, and I knew that the American people would definitely take me and the Republican Party seriously if I compared my speech to the Bataan Death March in which nearly 10,000 Filipino POWs died before they could reach their destination at Camp O’Donnell.”
“‘They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house, or with a mouse,’” Cruz continued, recalling an excerpt from the historic speech. “Strong words, absolutely. No wonder they rocked our nation to its core.”
Cruz, who used video of the speech during the 2016 primary season to delegitimize a slew of Republican opponents including Chris Christie, ultimately went on that year to build the broad coalition necessary to take the White House. Sources confirmed that following Cruz’s 2013 Senate floor address, in which he confirmed that Chinese gooseberries actually come from New Zealand, a majority of Americans, not just those who identified as members of the Tea Party, immediately began supporting the Republican Party.
During his first debate against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Cruz said in his closing remarks, “You might think a camel-hair brush must be made of camel, but a camel-hair brush is made of squirrel fur”—a clear allusion to his widely quoted and admired 2013 Obamacare speech, and a touch that, according to political experts, won him the election right there.
“When he got up and talked for 21 hours about Duck Dynasty, those ‘little burgers’ from White Castle, and how the restaurant his father worked at was a cross between a Denny’s and a Benihana, that’s when I knew: That’s the guy I’m going to vote for in three years,” said real estate agent Erin Greene, who lives in Florida, a state that Cruz easily carried by over 2 million votes in 2016. “I was watching history happen in front of my eyes. When he sang a Toby Keith song saying ‘we'll put a boot in your . . . posterior,’ it was like, okay, a political star is born.”
“This entire country said to itself, ‘This is the man who is going to lead us,’” Greene said. “America woke up that day.”
President Cruz enjoyed comfortable leads in the polls throughout the run-up to the November 2016 election, with only two noteworthy instances in which Clinton ever pulled ahead. The former New York senator was summarily beaten back, however, as the Cruz campaign expertly wielded what proved to be its ultimate trump card: his 2013 Senate floor speech.
“Every time [Clinton] made a little headway, we’d just trot out Green Eggs And Ham,” President Cruz explained. “Just kept on playing that clip over and over again. There was no more powerful message. It not only showed who I was, but proved the Republican Party to be inclusive, united, down to earth, and ready to lead.”