WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) — Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz is still holding out hope that President Barack Obama’s health care law will be repealed.

The Republican senator from Texas and potential 2016 presidential candidate made the comment before the Tea Party Patriots-hosted five-year anniversary event held in Washington, D.C.

“I am absolutely convinced we are going to repeal every single word of Obamacare,” Cruz told the Tea Party audience.

Cruz stated that “there is no more destructive law” than the Affordable Care Act.

“If you listen to the media, if you listen to Democrats — although I repeat myself — they will say the fight to stop Obamacare did not succeed,” Cruz said. “Really? Well, I’m a big believer the proof is in the pudding. Last fall, millions of Americans rose up and said, ‘Stop the disaster that is Obamacare.’”

Cruz pointed out to the audience that it was the millions of Americans “rising up” to help elevate the national debate about Obamacare.

“I am hopeful, I am optimistic, I am filled with the promise that we’re going to turn this country around because there is a grass-roots revolution sweeping this country,” Cruz preached.

Cruz, who said the Tea Party “is the most exciting political development in decades,” noted that politicians are beginning to listen.

“Liberty is never safer when politicians are terrified,” Cruz told the audience.

If reaction of some 300 Tea Partyers were a barometer of 2016 preferences, Cruz drew a standing ovation and loud applause while Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was warmly received.

Paul drew laughs with a good news-bad news pairing: “The government is open, and the government is open.”

He urged the group to offer an upbeat message and avoid name-calling.

Some Tea Party activists expressed disillusionment with GOP congressional leaders. Viveca Stoneberry of Spotsylvania, Va., said House Speaker John Boehner and others “pretend to be on the side of conservatives.”

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., was interrupted by the crowd, which stood and cheered when he said, “It’s high time we retire John Boehner.” When the applause died down, he completed his statement that it was “high time to retire John Boehner’s biggest excuse that we only control one-third of the government.”

The exchanges came as establishment Republicans are pushing back aggressively against Senate tea party challengers in Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and elsewhere.

In Colorado, a political deal announced this week results in Ken Buck, a Tea Party-affiliated Republican who lost a close Senate race in 2010, dropping a similar bid this year, and running for the House instead. Replacing him in the Senate race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is Rep. Cory Gardner, who is more palatable to the GOP mainstream.

In Kansas, the Tea Party Express endorsed Milton Wolf, who opposes three-term Sen. Pat Roberts in the Republican primary.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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