The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The best of Ted Cruz’s marathon speech (VIDEO)

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Updated at 12:29 p.m.

After more than 21 hours, the marathon talking filibuster Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) launched Tuesday afternoon came to an end at noon Wednesday. Here's how it all began:

In remarks designed to cast a spotlight on Obamacare, Cruz touched on a broad range of topics you don't hear about every day on the Senate floor.

Like actor Ashton Kutcher, for example, who Cruz praised for talking about "the value of hard work" in an awards show speech.

Or green eggs and ham: "I will credit my father. ... He invented green eggs and ham." (Cruz also read the Dr. Seuss story to his children Tuesday night.)

Cruz also quoted from "King Solomon's Wise Words" from the Book of Proverbs.

And weighed in on the attire and hairstyles preferred by lawmakers: "Most Americans could not give a flying flip about a bunch of politicians in Washington. Who cares? You know, almost all of us are in cheap suits and bad haircuts."

He even mentioned the fast-food restaurants Denny's, Benihana and White Castle. He cited the latter example to make a point about the negative effect of Obamacare on business.

He also faced off against Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. Twice. Durbin returned to the Senate floor Wednesday morning to pick up his debate with Cruz that began Tuesday night.

Cruz and Durbin deployed airplane analogies as they sparred about Obamacare: "I don't think Judy's in coach class," said Cruz at one point. "I think she's down in baggage claim." Durbin replied, "She's not even on the plane."

At several points, Cruz read messages he received via Twitter.

As well as letters about Obamacare.

He was also joined at different points by allies like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

And Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

On Wednesday morning, Cruz made a "Star Wars" reference. Comparing the "D.C. Establishment" to the Empire, Cruz said, "Just like in the 'Star Wars' movies, the Empire will strike back. But at the end of the day, I think the Rebel alliance, I think the people, will prevail."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) appeared on the floor toward the end. After Cruz was done, Reid declared the remarks "a big waste of time."

In closing, Cruz told the American people, "this is in your hands."

Here's a word cloud of Cruz's remarks until about midnight Wednesday.

And his remarks in three minutes: