"I admire any who are bold enough and brave enough to speak about what they truly believe," Limbaugh told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren in an interview that aired on Friday.
"(Sen.) Ted Cruz is one. Sarah Palin is another -- any of them who are fearless and have the courage of their convictions and have no compunction about saying it. They're not embarrassed of themselves. They're not insecure. They firmly believe what has to be done and are willing to stand behind it. Those are the people I admire."
Sen. Cruz, a Texas Republican, said last week that the House of Representatives should pass a continuing resolution funding the federal government except for Obamacare, which he says should be explicitly defunded, even if it leads to a government shutdown.
As Cruz told Glenn Beck last week, "There are a lot of Republicans in Washington who are scared. They're scared of being beaten up politically."
Limbaugh told Van Susteren that President Obama is still trying to sell Obamacare to the public, even though it's the law of the land, because he and his fellow Democrats are worried about the 2014 midterm election:
"Now, what Obama and the Democrats really want, what they're salivating about now is winning the House in 2014. If they get that, hold the Senate, there's no such thing as a lame duck second term. They won't even need a Congress. All they are is going to be a rubber stamp. Whatever Obama wants to do the last two years, just signs it and does it and Congress rubber stamps it and we've got it going. He can't be stopped. That's why they want it.
"But they remember 2010. So he's out there trying to change public opinion on health care so that it doesn't replicate in 2014 what happened in 2010 in the midterms. He cannot afford for a bunch of Tea Party people, a bunch of anti-Obama voters to show up in (2014), voting against him and holding the House for the Republicans and maybe winning the Senate for the Republicans. That's one reason he's campaigning."
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he appreciates Sen. Cruz's passion for defunding Obamacare: "I'd love to do it, too," Chambliss said. "But shutting down the government and playing into the hands of the president politically is not the right thing to do. Plus it's going to do great harm to the American people if we pursue that course. We've been there, it didn't work."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), appearing with Chambliss, called Cruz "extreme" on the subject of defunding Obamacare.
"I can just tell you Senator Cruz is part of a few extreme people in the Senate when it comes to this subject, calling for shutting down the government of the United States, even shutting down the American economy to make his political point. That's not the right way to go."
House Republican leaders (none of whom are conservative, as Limbaugh told Van Susteren) oppose a government shutdown.
"I think most conservatives, most on the left, Republicans, Democrats alike say we shouldn't be for a government shut down," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told "Fox News Sunday."
"What we are trying to do is fund the government and make sure also that we take away the kinds of things that are standing in the way of a growing economy, a better health care. And all the while keeping our eye focused on trying to deal with the ultimate problem, which is this growing deficit."