While Sen. Ted Cruz has been hammered in Washington by members of his own Republican Party over his fight against Obamacare that led to 16-day partial government shutdown, the outspoken freshman has received a hero's welcome during a victory lap this week in his home state of Texas.
At a Tea Party event Monday night in his hometown of Houston, Cruz was greeted with chants of "Cruz, Cruz Cruz" and "Thank you, Ted" from a crowd estimated at more than 1,000, the Houston Chronicle reported.
"I've spent the past month in Washington, D.C., and it is terrific to be back in America," Cruz told the cheering crowd.
"There are a few people in Washington saying some mean things [about me]. Who cares, because at the end of the day I don't work for the party bosses in Washington, I work for each and every one of you."
Despite failing in his push to include Obamacare-killing provisions in a deal struck last week between Senate leaders that funds the government and raises the nation's borrowing authority until early next year, Cruz portrayed the effort as a victory, saying it "elevated the national debate" over the "nightmare that is Obamacare."
He promised his conservative base he won't give up his fight to undermine the health care law.
"Where do we go from here? We follow the model we have seen play out over and over and over again," Cruz said.
He also took a shot at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. -- who has openly criticized the Texan over his anti-Obamacare stance -- when recalling a conversation between his two young daughters during a recent family car trip to Mount Vernon, George Washington's home in Virginia.
When daughter Caroline asked daughter Catherine what she wanted to be when she grew up, Catherine said, "I want to work in the U.S. Senate, I want to work with daddy." Caroline responded: "Oh Catherine, that's boring," then added that "daddy will be dead by then anyway."
Cruz joked: "I kind of wonder if Caroline had been talking with Republican leadership in Washington — if she knew something I didn't know."
The senator is scheduled to speak Tuesday afternoon at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Small Business Roundtable, and then later in the day at a "welcome home" event in nearby Arlington.
Cruz, who is believed to be considering a presidential bid, has raised more than $1 million during the third-quarter congressional budget impasse.
Not everyone in Texas is thrilled with Cruz's job performance. The Houston Chronicle's editorial board, which supported his general election campaign for Senate in 2012, retroactively "un-endorsed" him last week in a scathing op-ed, accusing him of being "part of the problem" in Washington.
And Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry told the Washington Times that the government shutdown, which many blame — or credit — Cruz for orchestrating, was nothing more than "political theater."
Perry added that during his trip this month to the United Kingdom and Israel, not one British or Israeli official mentioned Cruz.
But among Cruz's Tea Party base, his popularity has soared. Since July, as his visibility has increased, his favorable rating among Tea Party Republicans has risen by 27 points — from 47 percent to 74 percent, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center.