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Why is Ted Cruz reading a 2,077-year-old speech from a Roman politician on the senate floor?


"What shall we, who are the senate, tolerate President Obama, openly desirous to destroy the Constitution and this republic?"

In an epic throwback Thursday address against President Obama's impending executive order on immigration, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to the senate floor to deliver a slightly revised version of Cicero's "First Oration Against Catiline."

The speech, originally delivered in 63 B.C. to the Roman Senate by the great jurist, orator, philosopher and politician, Cicero, concerns the plot by Catiline and his co-conspirators to overthrow the Roman Republic.

You can watch Sen. Cruz's delivery of the updated version of Cicero's address, and find its new transcript, below.

When, President Obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end to that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the border—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men and women—does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge that every one here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before—where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted? 

Shame on the age and its lost principles! The senate is aware of these things; the senate sees them; and yet this man dictates by his pen, and his phone. Dictates! Ah, he won't even comes into the senate. He will not take part in the public deliberations; he ignores every individual among us. And we, gallant men and women, think that we are doing our duty to the republic if we keep out of the way of his frenzied attacks.

You ought, President Obama, long ago have been led to defeat by your own disdain for the people. That destruction which you have been long plotting ought to have already fallen.

What shall we, who are the senate, tolerate President Obama, openly desirous to destroy the Constitution and this republic? For I pass over older instances, such as how the IRS plotted to silence American citizens. There was—there was once such virtue in this republic that brave men would repress mischievous citizens with severer chastisement than the most bitter enemy. For we have a resolution of the senate, a formidable and authoritative decree against you, Mr. President; the wisdom of the republic is not at fault, nor the dignity of this senatorial body. We, we alone—I say it openly,—we, the senate, are waiting in our duty to stop this lawless administration and its unconstitutional amnesty.


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