Tea Party Calls Ted Cruz A Hero; Some Others See Disaster

Establishment Republicans in Congress such as John McCain are openly scornful of him. Some Republican strategists say his crusade to destroy President Barack Obama's healthcare law has been a political disaster.

But at a gathering of conservatives and Tea Party faithful in Washington on Friday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz was unapologetic, defiant and received like a conquering hero.

As Republican leaders in Congress have abandoned a strategy to use a government shutdown and threat of default to dismantle Obama's healthcare overhaul - with polls showing it unpopular with voters - one thing was clear at the gathering of conservative activists: they believe the battle to kill Obamacare has only just begun.

Ford O'Connell, a Republican political adviser, said opposition to the healthcare law was justified, but Cruz's tactics were "completely wrong."

"Cruz has done a good job of bringing this to the attention of the American people - but the government shutdown has completely obstructed his message," O'Connell said.

"The key to successful political negotiating is to pull the right lever at the right time. Unfortunately for the Republican party, the Tea Party caucus is pulling the right lever at the wrong time."

Read more from Tim Reid at Reuters

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