TODAY | November 09, 2013
>>> still three years away but you wouldn't know it from all of the folks who seem to be seeking out the national spotlight, especially on the republican side , including ted cruz , a senator who made his late debut on "the tonight show " with jay leno . the comedian put the jokes aside and got down to politics. here is kelly o'donnell.
>> please welcome from the great state of texas , senator ted cruz .
>> reporter: a tea party goes to hollywood. ted cruz making his "the tonight show " debut.
>> i've been reading a lot about you lately and they describe you as aggressive, arrogant, and abrasive. accurate?
>> well, i don't know that you can believe everything you read.
>> reporter: cruz 's ambitions have jolted washington. and already fueled 2016 speculation. he commanded his own mission to block obama care. that failed. but cruz 's profile soared.
>> obama care is the biggest job killer in this country.
>> reporter: but leno pressed cruz about the millions of texans with no insurance.
>> but 25% of the state doesn't have any health care any way so obama care wouldn't help them, would it?
>> well, it wouldn't, number one, because it's taking away a lot of people's health insurance and number two it's killing jobs.
>> whenever you run it ends in a landslide.
>> reporter: several are seeking out the national stage. new jersey governor chris christie made a surprise stop on " late night with jimmy fallon ." on the road, rand paul and marco rubio helped out other candidates. and with rick perry 's ticket to iowa this week.
>> our leaders have forgotten how to govern. believe me, i know what he is thinking about when it comes to forgetting.
>> reporter: the texas governor reminded everyone that he might run again. with cruz going from cspan to late night tv, the republican party looks ready to jump-start the long race to 2016 .
>> very good. senator, thank you very much.
>> thank you.
>> reporter: for "today," kelly o'donnell, nbc