The reeling right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) backpedaled quickly after remarks by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) seemingly linking it more explicitly to Florida's heavily-criticized "Stand your ground" law.

CNN reported on Thursday that, during a speech at the lobbying group's winter meeting, Cruz said, "My advice to ALEC is very, very simple: Stand your ground," earning him applause and calls of "hear, hear."

However, a spokesperson for the group, Bill Meierling, told CNN Cruz used the phrase in a metaphorical sense.

"I believe that he used that as a rhetorical device because it is a phrase that everyone in this room recognizes because of the challenges of the past two years," Meierling was quoted as saying. "Every single person also knows that we no longer have any model policy on that issue, or any firearms issues for that matter."

But as the British newspaper The Guardian reported on Dec. 3, ALEC's association with the law, which came to national prominence following the Feb. 2012 fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, has come to cost it the support of 60 corporate sponsors and 400 state lawmakers.

"ALEC is in trouble," Guardian reporter Ed Pilkington told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday. "There's one thing that corporations like less than taxes and regulations, and that's bad publicity. And that's the story of the Trayvon Martin fallout."

While ALEC has denied allegations it is a lobbying group, the organization's reputation as a "bill mill" has long been criticized by progressives. But during his speech, Cruz likened it to an activist organization.

"Every one of you knows the answers to the challenges we have in this country are not going to come from Washington, D.C.," Cruz was quoted as saying. "They are going to come from the American people."

Watch video of Ted Cruz's speech below.

[Image via Christian Broadcasting Network]