November 2nd, 2013
11:45 AM ET
1 year ago

Ted Cruz responds to father's 'ill-advised joke'

(CNN) – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is accusing critics of smear tactics after they attacked his father for saying President Obama should go "back to Chicago, back to Kenya" at an event last year.

Even as he dismissed his father’s comments as a “joke” and ill-advised, he said critics were motivated as much by politics as by genuine outrage.

Speaking to CNN affiliate WFAA on Friday, the first-term Republican senator from Texas said, "sadly, those who are trying to play the politics of personal destruction are trying to smear him and use that to attack me. That's a shame."

"I love my father," said Cruz. "He is a pastor. He is a man of deep integrity. And he made a joke."

Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, is an influential figure in his own right and is known for his outspoken conservative positions. He has attracted a following among tea party activists and social conservatives, and he has campaigned alongside his son on many occasions.

The controversial remarks were captured in a video first posted on the left-leaning news website Mother Jones on Thursday. The website posted that video, along with several other videos of Rafael Cruz addressing conservative groups, and the comments quickly circulated online, drawing criticism from liberals.

Sen. Cruz's statement to WFAA marks his strongest reaction so far to his father's critics.

A spokeswoman for the senator previously declined to offer comment about the elder Cruz's statements, instead referring CNN to a statement that 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 in the statement, adding, "Pastor Cruz does not speak for the Senator."

Rafael Cruz's remarks are reminiscent of the so-called birther movement, led by influential figures such as Donald Trump, who have suggested that Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president.

Obama responded to those critics in 2011 by releasing his long-form birth certificate, which shows that he was born in Hawaii.


Filed under: Ted Cruz
soundoff (1,052 Responses)
  1. JCQueipo

    A Canadian, son of a Cuban wants to be the US president. In your dreams !!!!

    November 2, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. rasPutin

    This is so 'last year'.

    November 2, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Ted Cruz is a bad joke !

    November 2, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Who?

    From the link on the homepage, I thought the article would have something to do with Penelope Cruz. Darn.

    November 2, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Lucifer

    "Pastor" Cruz,
    That says it all.
    Lets send him back to Cuba or Canada or wherever the hell he illegally immigrated from.

    November 2, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Sen Cruz is quoted as saying, "sadly, those who are trying to play the politics of personal destruction are trying to smear him and use that to attack me. That's a shame." Wait, is Cruz talking about his father making fun of Obama? Oh, he's not. That's right because he is a HYPOCRITE.

    November 2, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. abnguy

    Quick we need something to distract the base from the ACA debacle, will this help with the scandals too?

    November 2, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Richard

    Integrity is something the repukelicans can only talk about. When they get caught saying racist remarks it's always a joke. Well we Democrats are only joking when we say this alien from Cuba should go back to Cuba. He is someone who got a free ride into this country and latched on to people (conservatives) who could help him. If he were from Mexico he would probably be picking beans somewhere. The article was right in one aspect, the cruxes are a JOKE!

    November 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. steve-0

    send these twits back to Cuba

    November 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Sen Cruz is quoted as saying, "sadly, those who are trying to play the politics of personal destruction are trying to smear him..." Uhh, isn't that what your father is doing hypocrite?!

    November 2, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. humble

    it seems likely that you Mr. Cruz and your father know the bible well

    are you the Pharisee or the tax collector

    November 2, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    Tell you the truth, GOP thugs nor teatrolls have any policies. Only policy is to send you to War, give you 300 or 400 dollars, just like throwing chunk of bread to dirty dig. Know this, USA. God bless!!

    November 2, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Fred S Millan

    Cruz senior is nothing but a racist just like his son Ted. He should be deported back to Cuba for attempting to create civil disturbance and vicious attempt to the stability of the U.S. The coward and his son are probably Cuban operatives fiting
    the profile of terrorists and should be loced up.

    November 2, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Go back to Canada. Go back to Cuba.

    November 2, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. JeffreyRO5

    "....motivated as much by politics as by genuine outrage."

    Spoken by a master, Ted Cruz himself!

    November 2, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    The nut doesn't fall very far from the tree.

    November 2, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Randy Worley

    I don't really understand the point of this article. The people who are going to be outraged are people who never would have voted for Cruz in the first place. The people voting for him probably agree with his dad's statements completely. Kind of a non-story.

    November 2, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Grapefruit

    Yeah, real funny. Like a fart in a space suit kinda funny. Talk about someone with no tatste and no brain. Congratulations too both the Cruz boys, like father like son.

    November 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. FrankBlank

    Whenever a racist republican makes an obviously racist remark, the defense is always, "It was just a joke. And you other people are racists for mentioning it." In Cruz's case, it's "politics of personal destruction."

    Republicans always lie about everything. They can't help it, because they can't admit their motivations or their true goals. And if you don't believe that – after Cruz's recent media performance – then here's something you might believe: you can fly. Give it a try.

    November 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. FrankBlank

    Ribid ribid ribid.

    November 2, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Keith

    Why does he go back to Cuba and son back to Canada?

    November 2, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. cheryl

    Then I guess he will see the humor in being told to "go back to Cuba."

    November 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. smarkles2

    It wasnt a joke. I'm sure Senator Cruz wishes it was. It just shows more ignorance and disrespect on the part of the tea party.

    November 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. North West Pundit

    The elder Cruz is insande while the younger Cruz is a liar.

    November 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Joe

    Well Ted...nice try. Maybe you guys should go back to Canada or Cuba or where ever the hell it is you crawled from!

    November 2, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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