Nightly News   |  September 25, 2013

Why Sen. Ted Cruz frustrates Republicans

The Harvard-trained lawyer and tea party firebrand ignored GOP leaders who prefer to fight Obamacare in the House. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to politics in washington. the man who was up all night, the republican senator from texas on a one-man mission to stop president obama 's new health care law . critics called him crazy, irresponsible, even dangerous. others find him courageous for staying on his feet for 21 hours to get americans focused on what's about to happen to their health care . more on that in a moment. first kelly o'donnell has more on the marathon on the floor of the u.s. senate .

>> reporter: with texas-sized ambitions.

>> i intend to speak in support of defunding obamacare until i am no longer able to stand.

>> reporter: 42-year-old ted cruz in the senate just eight months, held up all of congress's work to make his point.

>> the frustration that the united states senate doesn't listen to the people is deafening.

>> reporter: cruz stayed on his feet for 21 hours, 19 minutes . his goal, derail funding for the health care law . stopped only by senate rules .

>> pursuant to the order -- [ applause ]

>> did uh you accomplish something here?

>> i hope this filibuster gave the american people an opportunity to express their views and to engage in this debate.

>> reporter: the harvard-trained lawyer and tea party firebrand who routinely buck it is party establishment ignored gop leaders who prefer to fight obamacare in the house.

>> most americans could not give a flying flip about a bunch of politicians in washington.

>> reporter: read from dr. seuss.

>> i would not eat green egg s and ham, i i do not like them, sam i am .

>> reporter: many republican colleagues aren't awe mused.

>> senator cruz has become a figure standing alone, talking a lot, but doesn't have many friends.

>> reporter: cruz provoked a backlash this comparison.

>> you go to the 1940s . nazi germany .

>> reporter: cruz claimed those who don't join his fight are appeasers.

>> they would have been saying you cannot defeat the germans.

>> reporter: john mccain has often clashed with cruz and said that went too fantastic.

>> -- too far.

>> i uh i reject that.

>> reporter: it frustrated some republicans who worry his personal aspirations could risk damage to the republican party brand. kelly o'donnell, nbc news, the capitol.