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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's dad, Pastor Rafael Cruz, is a staple of the tea party favorite's stump speech. As a Cuban immigrant, he is also the senator's own personal symbol of the "American dream".
But what do you do when your dad says things like this:
"We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago. I'd like to send him back to Kenya, back to Indonesia," the elder Cruz said in September 2012, in a video recently published by Mother Jones.
A spokesman for Senator Cruz told Mother Jones, "these selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz's message ... Pastor Cruz does not speak for the senator."
"He is and will continue to be a controversial figure," said The New York Times' Ross Douthat. "It's a little bit like if Jeremiah Wright had been actually Barack Obama's father in 2008."
"The problem with the figure of Rafael Cruz is not so much for Ted Cruz specifically, but for the sort of tea party constituency that has made him a hero," said The Atlantic's Molly Ball. "Because it serves to underscore this perception that they're motivated primarily by personal antipathy to President Obama, and by some of these fringe beliefs, like birtherism."
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