Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington, on March 10, 2015.
Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Ted Cruz meets the sound of silence

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has only been in the Senate for a couple of years, but he’s been a popular fixture on the Republican speaking circuit. In fact, the far-right Texan has become quite an accomplished orator, delivering polished, red-meat speeches, without notes or a teleprompter, complete with predetermined pauses for applause.
But what happens when Cruz strays from the Republican bubble and delivers the same remarks to less partisan audiences that don’t applaud the applause lines? Dave Weigel reported this week on the senator’s appearance at International Association of Firefighters’ bipartisan summit.
Firefighters’ unions are not as solidly Democratic as most labor unions. In 2010, for example, Scott Walker won his first term as Wisconsin’s governor with the backing of the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association. (Walker was invited to the IAFF summit but skipped it.)
Still, the firefighters assembled to hear from possible presidents gave Cruz one of the coldest receptions he’s ever given before a camera.
Watching the Texas Republican deliver applause lines without applause is surprisingly unnerving. Take a look at this clip:
3/12/15, 6:06 PM ET

Ted Cruz applause lines miss with firefighters

Senator Ted Cruz hit some familiar talking points in a speech before the International Association of FireFighters, but the pauses he made after applause lines were not filled with the kind of reception he is accustomed to from friendlier audiences.
Cruz vows to abolish the IRS. Silence.

Cruz wants to “padlock the I.R.S. building and put all those I.R.S. agents on our southern border.” Silence.

Cruz wants to repeal of “every word” of the Affordable Care Act. Silence.

Weigel talked to some of the attendees and “no one had anything good to say about Cruz.” One IAFF leader said, in reference to Cruz’s speech, “I had to take a shower after listening to that.”

Firefighters and Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz meets the sound of silence