Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn turned heckler toward GOP colleagues Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas during a recent New Hampshire speech, joking about their presidential ambitions.
Coburn mocked the barbs already being traded between Paul and Cruz, both junior senators and tea party chieftains considered likely to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
According to the Weekly Standard
, Coburn, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, joked to a crowd that he had received a fictitious email from the National Security Agency noting that "Ted Cruz told Rand Paul he was upset he was fifth in the latest New Hampshire poll.
"So Rand said, 'That's OK, Ted.'" Coburn continued. "'If you tank in New Hampshire you can run for president anyway . . . in Canada. You can take on the Establishment in Ottawa and make them listen to the people of Saskatchewan. Because, after all, nothing demonstrates listening quite like 21 hours of nonstop talking."
Cruz, born to an American mother in Canada, filibustered for 21 hours
Sept. 23-24, deriding Obamacare. Peppered in with talk about the ills of the Affordable Care Act, Cruz read Dr. Seuss and did a Darth Vader impression.
Coburn ended his talk with a one-liner about one part of the federal government that's become very good at listening.
"It's called the NSA," he joked.
He later explained his jabs, saying it's much too soon for the Republican Party to be bantering about presidential politics.
"As a party, we need to be investing in ideas, not Iowa," he said. "In politics, nothing matters more than ideas. Ideas matter. Ideas have consequences."
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