October 31st, 2013
11:24 AM ET
12 months ago

Ted Cruz's father in 2012: Send Obama 'back to Kenya'

(CNN) - Comments from last year by the father of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, including a desire to send President Barack Obama "back to Kenya," are creating a new controversy Thursday.

A story by the left-leaning news organization Mother Jones highlights a series of newly surfaced videos that also feature Rafael Cruz calling the United States "a Christian nation," urging men to reclaim their place as the "spiritual" head of the household and lambasting the so-called "death panels" that some conservatives claim are in the President’s health care law.

The elder Cruz, a successful businessman turned evangelical pastor, and an immigrant from Cuba, along with his son, has become a hero among many tea party activists and social conservatives.

One of the most explosive statements comes from an April 2012 video, as his son was running for the Senate, and as the President was running for re-election.

"We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago," Cruz urges. "Back to Kenya."

The Mother Jones story was quickly picked up by a number of progressive blogs and websites.

The younger Cruz has long cited his father in speaking engagements, highlighting the elder's story of leaving Cuba in 1957 not knowing a word of English, only to work his way up from busboy, put himself through college and raise a family. Rafael Cruz helped his son on the campaign trail and at various conservative events since Ted Cruz won his Senate seat last November. Right after that victory, Ted Cruz praised his father, saying that he “has spent virtually every day the past year crisscrossing this state, telling his story and speaking on his son’s behalf. My dad is my hero, he has been my entire life.”

In the April 2012 video, Rafael Cruz speaks of the need to restore the conservative majority to the Senate in order to block liberal nominees to the Supreme Court. The presidency was an even more crucial vote.

"If we do not take this country back in this election, there's a very strong possibility that this country will be destroyed by Barack Obama in the next four years," he said.

Ted Cruz vaulted to national attention in the run-up to the partial government shutdown, a crisis he helped precipitate by ring leading the push by conservative lawmakers to tie defunding Obamacare to a government funding bill. That drive by conservative lawmakers, and the pushback by congressional Democrats and the White House, led to the 16-day partial federal government shutdown.

Cruz's new prominence among conservatives and his unapologetic antagonism to Senate moderates in his party, along with numerous visits already this year to Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, have fueled speculation that the Texas Republican is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

A spokeswoman for Cruz Thursday declined CNN's offer to respond to the controversial comments made by the Senator's father.

Instead Cruz's office pointed to the statement Cruz Communications Director Sean Rushton gave to Mother Jones.

"These selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz's message. Like many Americans, he feels America is on the wrong track," Rushton said.

But Rushton added that, "Pastor Cruz does not speak for the Senator."


Filed under: Ted Cruz
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. soundpam

    2 words – Hereditary Insanity.

    October 31, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    No, CNN. I'm not going to bite. Sorry.

    October 31, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Like father, like son.

    October 31, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Silence DoGood

    Actually I think Cruz should absolutely run. And all his followers should carry signs that use the terms "anti-dictator", "birther", "creationism", and "benghazi". It would be the biggest win in history for liberals in that election.

    October 31, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Winston Smith

    What a smart thing to say. Isn't he just the wittiest person ever interviewed? What a bad joke this is, to be sure.

    October 31, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    It does explain why Ted is nuts. Rafael needs to back to Cuba where he can be with his mentor, Fidel.

    October 31, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree. The worse part about Cruz' father campaigning for him is that the son doesn't disavow any of his father's racist and divisive rhetoric. In fact, he's proud of it. He has someone to say it for him.

    October 31, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Anonymous

    "..highlights a series of newly surfaced videos......................."
    --
    And these are not the worst of it.

    October 31, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. Matty C

    Send those two fascists back to Cuba!!

    October 31, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Sammy

    Go back to Cuba Rafael Cruz. You came to the USA for freedom and a better life, now your trashing the nation that give you freedom. The USA should deport you back to cuba, your a traitor along with your son.

    October 31, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Raphael reminds me of the African witch doctor who purged Palin's demons.

    October 31, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    If we judged all people based on what their father says or believes, we wouldn't have a very high opinion of the current President, now would we?

    October 31, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Send Cruz back to Canada

    October 31, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Monet

    He is Cuban citizen and have the guts to tell the president of the United States these words. He should be ashame of himself. He should go back where he belongs and stay put there in Cuba. We do not need people like him here in the US.

    October 31, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Tampa Tim

    Hawaii is now Kenya? Unlike Cuba, in America you can live where you want.

    October 31, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    If we judged all people based on what their father says or believes, we wouldn't have a very high opinion of the current President, now would we?
    ------------------------–
    You are willfully ignoring the fact that his father is an active surrogate for Cruz. He campaigns for him at fund raisers.

    "Nice try, but we gotcha."

    October 31, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Remind me to feel sorry for Ted's mother and say a prayer for her.

    October 31, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. O'drama ya Mama

    How come all a Republican has to do is claim his racist remarks were just "taken out of context" and it all goes away?

    October 31, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. A True Conservative

    Laughable! Is the left this fearful of the man that they have to drag his father into the discussion? Perhaps the left should be looking instead at how they got duped by their lying Dear Leader and how to avoid that mistake in the future!

    October 31, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "If we judged all people based on what their father says or believes, we wouldn't have a very high opinion of the current President, now would we?

    Did you sleep through the part where the GOP/Teatrolls have all ranted and raved (and continue to do so) about Obama having some sort of "anti-colonial mindset" etc. etc. etc.?

    October 31, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. yrag

    Send Rafael Cruz back to Cuba–or Canada–or anywhere but the US, along with his self-serving, dishonest lying son who has already done incalculable damage to our nation and it's standing in the world.

    October 31, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. John

    Send Cruz back to Cuba, via his beloved Canada....he has no business in the U.S.

    October 31, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. ghostwriter

    Fair.....that is not fair at all. I don't recall seeing Obama's father on the campaign trail. I don't recall Obama's father trashing Romney or McCain. I don't see Obama co-signing his father's statements (except maybe in his book). In other words, Cruz brought his father out in public. And so he owns his father's statements and beliefs.

    Though that was a nice try....

    October 31, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    Fair is Fair

    If we judged all people based on what their father says or believes, we wouldn't have a very high opinion of the current President, now would we?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You don't.

    October 31, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. The Truth

    @ Silence and I think al progressives should carry sgns that say I think the 1% should ay everything for the other 99% and I'm a 47%er – I take but I don't contribute or I believe in a womans right to kill her child even if a Philadelphia doctor bothced the "procedure" or I voted for a man that lied to me about pretty much everything – and I'm OK with it....I could go on....but you get the point

    October 31, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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