Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Friday, was heckled no less than seven times during his 20-minute speech, and the Texas Republican's responses were classic.
Heckler #1: The amnesty supporter
Cruz's response: Thank you
The first heckler asked Cruz if he would support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and was shouted down by conference attendees and escorted out of the room by security.
“Thank you, sir, for being here,” Cruz said. “I appreciate — [jeers] — you know — you know, look, it is a great thing that people can express their First Amendment rights. And I only wish the Obama administration respected First Amendment rights that much.”
Heckler #2: The woman who wouldn’t quit
Cruz's response: Full force
This woman wouldn’t stop heckling even as she was escorted out of the room.
“It seems that President Obama’s paid political operatives are out in force today,” Cruz said.
Heckler #3: The quiet riot
Cruz's response: Anyone left at OFA?
This woman was the most polite of the hecklers, barely audible on recording, but nonetheless disruptive. She also received Cruz’s best response of the speech.
“You know what, I’m curious. Is anybody left at the Organizing for America headquarters?” Cruz asked. “I’m actually glad that the president’s whole political staff is here instead of actually doing mischief in the country.”
OFA — now Organizing for Action — was the former re-election campaign of President Obama.
Heckler #4: The drown and out
Cruz's response: I’ll take Obama’s questions
This woman was barely able to yell “Senator Cruz” before the crowd drowned her out and she was escorted away.
“You know what’s striking, actually? In the course of this brief speech, we’ve heard more questions than President Obama’s allowed in the last year,” Cruz said.
“Let me make an offer to our president,” Cruz said. “If he wants to get 100 of his most rabid political operatives in a room, I’ll answer their questions on television as long as he likes.”
Heckler #5: Really, another one?
Cruz's response: Come to my town hall
By this point, people were prepared for hecklers. This person barely even made a sound before the audience drowned her out.
“Ma’am, I look forward to you at the town hall we’ll pull together,” Cruz said.
Heckler #6: The rage-r
Cruz's response: How scared is Obama?
This heckler, whose statement was inaudible, clearly irked Cruz.
“How scared is the president?” Cruz asked. “What a statement of fear — what a statement of fear. Oh, they don’t want the truth to be heard. They definitely don’t want the truth to be heard.”
Hecklers #7: The heckling herd
Cruz's response: Thank you for your passion
With just a few minutes left in his speech, the remaining hecklers — maybe as many as 10 — began jeering. The audience began the age-old tactic of chanting “USA! USA!” to drown out the mob.
“Gentlemen, ladies, thank you — thank you for your passion, but you should respect the rights of the men and women who are here,” Cruz said. “You know, the nice thing is — the nice thing is, the Left will always, always, always tell you who they fear. And they fear you. They fear the American people.”
So far no other speakers at the conference have had to handle hecklers, but when Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took the stage, his first comment was to say he hoped “all the protesters that came here to scream at us left with Ted.”