FORT WORTH — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz continued his campaign against the national healthcare law Friday, calling on Texans to rise up and join a grassroots movement to try to repeal the program.This time, he took his argument to a group of local businesspeople, saying it’s time for change.“How do we repeal Obamacare?” he asked a crowd of nearly 300 people gathered for a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Petroleum Club. “It will come from millions and millions of people rising up and saying” that it doesn’t work.He likened such a movement to a late 1970s push that ultimately ushered in the Reagan revolution.Cruz said he believes it can happen because he has seen Americans protest everything from the use of drones to various gun control proposals during the past year.“People are rising up, saying, ‘We want to get back … to principles,’ ” Cruz told the crowd gathered for the chamber’s Leaders in Government Series. “I’m trying to empower the people.”Several local Republican leaders attended, including U.S. Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth and Michael Burgess of Lewisville, state Sen. Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills and state Rep. Craig Goldman of Fort Worth.Cruz, a Tea Party favorite seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, has drawn national attention for constantly criticizing the Obama administration and the healthcare law.Last year, he became known particularly for a more than 21-hour speech about why the healthcare law needs to be defunded — as well as for his efforts to link funding the government to not providing financial backing for the law.He was denounced by top leaders in his own party for what they called a “fool’s errand” and by Democrats for bringing the economy close to collapse. He has said Republicans lost the government shutdown battle because his party didn’t stand strong.“It elevated the debate nationally about the harms of Obamacare,” Cruz said.He repeated much from his speech at a recent Freedom Rally in Allen, saying that liberty is under assault, opportunity is crumbling, and President Barack Obama’s administration is “lawless.”EndorsementsAfter the speech, Cruz talked to the media about endorsements and how he will likely stay out of races that feature incumbents, although his father, Rafael Cruz, has weighed in on some races.When asked whether he would throw his support behind Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, his former boss, in the expected governor’s race with state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, Cruz wasn’t sure.“Time will tell,” he said. Cruz did say he admires and thinks “extraordinarily highly” of Abbott.
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley