Ted Cruz Reads ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ on Senate Floor — And That’s Not the Weird Part

What's weird is that Cruz's marathon speech, in protest against Obamacare, is technically not a filibuster

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, center, speaks at a news conference with conservative congressional Republicans at the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 19, 2013

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took the Senate floor at 2:41 pm with a promise to speak out against Obamacare “until I am no longer able to stand.” At 8:04 pm, Cruz held up a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and announced to a nearly empty Senate chamber that it was his daughters’ bedtime and he would like to take the opportunity to read them a children’s classic via C-SPAN2. So began Cruz’s performance of “Green Eggs and Ham,” live from the nation’s capitol.

In the annals of Congressional wackiness, Cruz’s speech was mostly par for the course. In 1992, Sen. Alfonse D’Amato broke into song and recited names from the phonebook in his classic filibuster of a defense spending bill. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave surely the most meta speech in Congressional history when he gave an eight hour filibuster on the right to filibuster.

(MORE: How Ted Cruz Wins By Losing)

But what set Cruz’s speech apart was a curious caption from C-SPAN2 that appeared right about the time he screws up his face and asks, “You do not like green eggs and ham?” The caption box reads, “This is technically not a filibuster.” The Senate had already scheduled a vote for Wednesday without any possibility of delay. The day’s session was adjourned. Cruz’s speech was technically just a speech.

But what a speech. A YouTube video shows Cruz, five hours in, reading Dr. Seuss with energy to burn. He drops his voice to a theatrical whisper at 1:13 and 1:30 and pitches it to the higher registers of enthusiasm at 1:36 and 2:41, and don’t miss the dramatic turn at 4:34, when Cruz, fully in character, realizes he does like green eggs and ham.


The story finished, Cruz addresses his children directly through the TV. “Brush your teeth, say your prayers, and daddy’s going to be home soon.” The always helpful production team at C-SPAN2 gave a hint of when that might happen. “He must stop speaking before the Senate votes on Wednesday,” the caption read.

(MORE: Cruz Loses Support for Anti-Obamacare Tactic)