GOP Senate 'lynch mob' targets Ted Cruz in closed-door meeting

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the target of a "lynch mob" of angry Senate Republicans during a closed-door meeting earlier this week.

The New York Times reported that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) asked Cruz at Wednesday's meeting to renounce attacks by an unspecified conservative group and to explain his strategy to win the battle to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Sens. Dan Coats (R-IN) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) joined in, blasting the first-year Texas senator for championing the effort that helped lead to the government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) piled on after Cruz failed to offer an explanation of his strategy.

"It just started a lynch mob," one senator told the New York Times.

Politico earlier this week that Senate Conservatives Fund, a group founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint, had attacked 25 Senate Republicans for supporting a procedural vote that the group counted as support of the health law.

DeMint, a South Carolina Republican who quit the Senate earlier this year to become president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, had been helping to promote the plan to tie implementation of the health care law to negotiations to fund the federal government or increase the debt ceiling.