SEN. TED CRUZ (R-Tex.), attending his first Gridiron, crushed his speech – even Dems said he knocked it out of the park: “Thank you for the kind hospitality to my wife Heidi and me, and for the meal we’ve been served — which my food-taster tells me is exquisite. Actually, since I’ve been thrown out of our Senate lunches, it’s really nice to be invited to dinner. Tonight, [I was sitting at the head table next to] Mayor Bloomberg … [S]omething in his expression said, ‘Thirty billion dollars, and I couldn’t buy a better seat?’ … I’m here officially representing Mitch McConnell. He asked me himself. And when Leader McConnell wants something, who am I to say no? … Twenty-one hours and 19 minutes [in the filibuster] — hearing nothing but my favorite sound. We’re talking Biden territory. And so typical of how this town works, they cut me off just as I was coming to my point.

“By the way, does anyone know the record for the longest speech ever at this dinner? I looked it up, and in the late 1800s, New York Senator Chauncey DePew enthralled his audience until well past midnight. So LOOSEN UP THOSE WHITE TIES, settle back, and what do you say we make Gridiron history? [Applause] [I]n front of conservative and tea-party audiences, I am hailed as the anti-Obama. But tonight, I’m the anti-Crist. … John Kerry … crossed the world to be here. What a treat it must be for him to share the dais with one of only three senators who voted against his nomination to be secretary of state.] … You squeaked by with 97 votes. That’s fine. We in the Gang of Three have other fights to lose. … My relations with John McCain … have greatly improved. This week, … he’s only once demanded a public apology from me. As wackobirds go, that’s pretty good.

“I’ve been watching the second season of ‘House of Cards.’ It’s very realistic, very life-like. But I was a little worried when I got a late-night call from Mitch McConnell. He said, ‘Uh, Ted, why don’t you meet me at the Metro station?’ Then there was a tense encounter I had with Dianne Feinstein. I was accused of acting like some pompous, condescending know-it-all. We’re all familiar with the type, and at Harvard Law School there is even a word for it: alumni. … Things didn’t get any better for me last year when that whole born-in-Canada business came up. Frankly, there have been moments when I just wanted to self-deport. … Canadians are so polite, mild-mannered, modest, unassuming, open-minded. Thank God my family fled that oppressive influence before it could change me.

“I might add that Canadians are also extremely efficient. No red tape at all in handling my application to renounce citizenship. They had that thing approved before I even sent it in. The simple truth is that for a very brief time my family lived on the plains of Calgary. That does not make me a Canadian. Although Elizabeth Warren says that it does make me an Algonquin Indian. Of course, my family is Cuban. … At first, when he got here, my dad washed dishes for 50 cents an hour. He was so low on the totem pole where he worked that even Marco Rubio’s father bossed him around. … We are still a nation of laws. You just have to check with Barack Obama every day to see what they are. …