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Ted Cruz Heckled By Protesters At Conservative Conference (VIDEO)

AP Photo / Justin Hayworth

"I only wish the president respected First Amendment rights that much," he said to applause.

As several more "Obama's paid political operatives," as Cruz called them, stood up to shout questions, the assembled crowd sought to drown them out with chants of "USA, USA, USA."

"We've heard more questions from them than President Obama has taken in the last year," Cruz shot back to a welcoming crowd.

"Thank you for your passion," Cruz told another heckler.

The junior senator from Texas has seen his favorability numbers plummet since starting a quixotic fight to defund Obamacare from the Senate floor last month, with just 14 percent viewing him favorably and 28 percent viewing him unfavorably, according to a new NBC/WSJ poll.