The pro-Obama messaging group Organizing for Action (OFA) denied that it sent activists to heckle Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz at a “Defund Obamacare” rally in Dallas Tuesday night.
“OFA did not send anyone to this event,” OFA spokesperson Katie Hogan told The Daily Caller.
Cruz was heckled repeatedly at the event, but kept his composure.
“In the world of astroturf, fake grassroots, you know President Obama’s group Organizing for America [sic] is trying to pay people to pretend that the grassroots are with them. I gotta tell ya, every time they come to protest in Texas they’ve sent a small group of people and y’all [gesturing to his supporters] have outnumbered them two and three and four to one,” Cruz said to applause.
Cruz’s personable on-stage presence diffused the tension in the room, according to observers.
“They just came up and started chanting, ‘you have health care, so should we,” Dallas Tea Party official Katrina Pierson, who was present at the event, told TheDC. “There was a reporter following them out who said, ‘those guys were paid OFA activists.'”
“I believe this was the first time he’s ever been heckled like this. He handled it very well. He actually had the crowd stop and told people that it’s a free country and they should let him speak,” Pierson said.
“He was interrupted by three people, once by an older woman and then by two minority men,” Pierson said.
“Gentlemen, thank you for sharing your views,” Cruz calmly told the hecklers. “You know, part of the First Amendment is about respecting the views of others.”
Cruz supporters quickly began drowning out the hecklers by chanting “USA.”
“I agree with them. They should have healthcare. And Obamacare is causing more and more people struggling to climb the economic ladder to lose their healthcare,” Cruz said.
Cruz is spending the late summer touring Texas touting his “Defund Obamacare” campaign.