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In Twin Cities, Rafael Cruz touts Ted’s record as ‘constitutional conservative’

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Rafael Cruz shown speaking to the Freedom Club at their luncheon meeting Monday at the Minneapolis Club.

Rafael Cruz, father of Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, appeared to have little difficulty selling his son to members of the conservative Freedom Club at their luncheon meeting Monday at the Minneapolis Club.

But it wasn’t the younger Cruz’s positions on taxes or social issues or gun rights that made an impression.  It was the depiction of Ted Cruz’s personality — brash, extremely conservative, and unapologetic — as communicated by his father, a pastor who is equally unswerving in his belief that the future of the United States lies in Christianity and the Bible.

Many seemed to appreciate the directness.  “I like people who say what it is,” said Maria de la Paz, vice chair of the Republican Hispanic Assembly. 

“I think a lot people, even if they don’t agree with his positions, if they believe he is telling the truth they will support him,” said Tom Colter, a Cruz supporter from North Hudson, Wisconsin. “Authenticity counts more than it ever has in the past.”

In an interview after his talk, Cruz underlined what he believes is the core of his son’s appeal. “Two things that you can take to the bank with Ted Cruz,” said Rafael. “Number one he will tell you the truth and number two, he will do what he says he’s going to do.”

Cruz rejects the idea that an absolutist like his son would have troubling enacting his agenda with a less than cooperative Congress. “Ronald Reagan had a Democratic House and yet Ronald Reagan got a lot accomplished… because Ronald Reagan had a mandate from the American people,” he said.  

Ted Cruz is seeking that mandate in part from evangelical Christians. Rafael Cruz said he had just learned that David Barton, an influential evangelical leader and political activist, would be leading one of the Ted Cruz super-Pacs. The senior Cruz described the move as monumental in appealing to “a bloc of the population that has been basically absent from the political process in very high numbers.”

Cruz, a Cuban immigrant who fought in the Batista resistance movement before he emigrated on a student visa, uses his own experiences and opinions to illuminate his son’s candidacy.

“One of the things I was so disappointed in, in President Obama, among many things, is that he went around the world apologizing for America and telling people America was not an exceptional country,” he said.  “But I disagree totally. America is the most exceptional country in the world…. When I was sitting in the Senate chambers seeing my son being sworn in as U.S. Senator, I couldn’t contain the tears from my eyes.”

While Cruz answered questions about his son’s positions in unequivocal language, he avoided directness about the front-runner in the Republican field, Donald Trump, whose supporters Ted Cruz hopes to attract in the event Trump leaves the race. 

“Donald Trump is fulfilling a need,” Cruz said.  “Donald Trump is addressing America’s frustrations.”

But Cruz couldn’t resist an indirect comparison. “Ted is a consistent conservative, a constitutional conservative with a proven record.” 

Cruz also contends his son has the most viable campaign in terms of fundraising.  He said the campaign pulled in more than $14 million in the last reporting period from more than 175,000 small donors. (The Ted Cruz Super-Pacs are funded by multi-million dollar donations.)

Cruz’s Minnesota organization is fledgling at best as the campaign has concentrated on the early primary and caucus states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Rafael promised a stronger Minnesota organization is to come. But like the candidate himself, Rafael said, the organization will never be an establishment one.

Comments (25)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/13/2015 - 10:02 am.

    The constitution

    What’s kind of amazing about these constitution folks is that it’s quite clear they have never read, or for that matter thought about the document.

    • Submitted by William Wells Wells on 10/13/2015 - 05:57 pm.

      US Constitution

      Who specifically are you speaking of? Do you know our Constitution? What does the 10th Amendment say about the recent Supreme Court decision on Obergefell v. Hodges case?

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/16/2015 - 06:55 pm.

        Not really sure what your point is?

        Is there a suggestion that states have the right to define what “all men are created equal” means in each state?

        “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution,”
        Seems the key word is “equity”

  2. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 10/13/2015 - 10:36 am.

    He calls Reagan an absolutist?

    That’s almost as funny as his proclaimed love for the constitution. I think it is funny, sadly, that the same people trying to impose their version of Christianity on our government are the same ones that like to cry about the evils of sharia law. Probably with most Americans I don’t want to live under either. The problem comes when people start touting their own views as “God’s Law” as if they themselves were God.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/13/2015 - 10:52 am.

    People on the left

    despise Rafael Cruz because he had the audacity to escape Cuba.

    They despise Ted Cruz because he destroys their claim that freedom and conservatism is only for white people.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/13/2015 - 11:01 am.


      Kind of a strong word, don’t you think? It is possible to disagree with someone’s policy ideas without “despising” them.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 10/13/2015 - 11:45 am.

      That’s funny

      Before I read this article, I had never heard of Rafael Cruz. Kind of hard to despise someone you’ve never heard of . . . . . . . .

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/13/2015 - 11:49 am.

      Get your mythology right:


      Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s father was a 1950s Cuban revolutionary who longed to slip into the island’s eastern mountains and join Fidel Castro’s guerrilla army.

      At 17, Rafael Cruz led a group of insurgents staging urban sabotage against the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Cruz was eventually jailed and tortured, and upon his release wanted the underground to help him personally reach Castro’s camp in the Sierra Maestra highlands.

      “My dad asked if he could join Castro in the mountains and keep fighting,” the firebrand Republican presidential candidate writes in his book, A Time For Truth, which will be released on Tuesday. “But he was told there was no way to get to the rebels.”

      Instead, the elder Cruz bribed his way to a Cuban exit visa and headed to the University of Texas.

      He returned home shortly after Castro seized power in 1959 but, Ted Cruz writes, was appalled to see Castro had “declared to the world that he was a communist”. Castro did not formally call his revolution socialist until the eve of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

      The Cruzes have long admitted that Rafael was an early Castro sympathizer. But Ted Cruz’s memoir – a copy of which the Associated Press purchased – provides new details about his desire personally to fight alongside the guerrilla leader.

      The Cuban government hasn’t commented about Rafael Cruz, making the anecdotes difficult to confirm. But Ted Cruz also writes that his father had planned to join Castro and help attack an army barracks in the city of Santiago in 1956, but didn’t because Castro was delayed in returning to Cuba from Mexico.
      (end quote)

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/14/2015 - 06:17 am.


    In order to despise Rafael Cruz or his son, Ted, I’d have to know one or both of them, and I don’t. I’ve never met either one, and likely never will. If the elder Mr. Cruz escaped Castro’s Cuba, more power to him. It’s worth asking, by the way, where he settled after leaving Cuba, and where his son was born…

    In the meantime, what I despise are radical right-wing policy notions, and the simultaneous desire to impose a Christian theocracy upon a secular nation. It has nothing to do with either Cruz personally. I find Rafael’s vision of a Christian United States just as unappealing as I find an Imam’s vision of a Muslim United States. People who claim to know “God’s law” are claiming a degree of divinity for themselves – one denied by both the Bible and by rational secular thought.

    • Submitted by William Wells Wells on 10/13/2015 - 06:22 pm.

      US Constitution

      Why is it important where Ted Cruz was born? His father settled in Houston, where he and his family still live. For a period, Senor Cruz resided in Calgary, Canada, where Ted was born. If you think that matters, maybe you should familiarize your self with our Constitution. I’m guessing that you might be a birther, in regard to Ted. It matters not where Ted was born, but that he has an American born, qualifying parent- -he was a citizen at birth, not required to go through naturalization. Therefore, qualified for the presidency. People get hung up on the “natural born citizen” clause in Article II, Section 1. If you will note- -nowhere in the Constitution is the term defined. Also note- -Article I, Section 8 these words: “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” a duty assigned to the Congress, which it did in the very first Congress in 1790 with the Naturalization Act. With a citizen parent, Ted Cruz would have been eligible from that point forward, though the Act has been repealed, replaced and modified multiple times, there was never a time when Ted Cruz would have been ineligible!

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 10/14/2015 - 10:36 am.

        Birther Schmirther (this time around)

        “As anyone with a heartbeat from 2009 to 2012 no doubt recalls, one of the most popular right-wing claims about President Obama is that he wasn’t actually born in this country. At the height of ‘birtherism’ in 2011, a poll found that more than half of likely 2012 Republican primary voters (51 percent) believed Obama was foreign-born and thus ineligible for the presidency.

        “Yet here we are. As the 2016 election looms ahead of us, the first declared Republican candidate—a man whom political handicappers readily acknowledge will depend on Tea Party support, who played a large role in fueling birtherism—makes no bones about the fact that he was born in Calgary, a city in Canada.

        “And nary a peep of protest can be heard from the right.”

        The article goes on to explain that they are not saying Cruz should be disqualified from running because “Section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act automatically extends naturalized citizenship to anyone born of an American citizen. Because Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Wilson, was born in Delaware, the senator from Texas passes Constitutional muster without question.

        “Of course, not even the Obama-era birthers seemed to question that the president’s mother, Ann Dunham, was born in Kansas. Even if their most far-fetched conspiracy theories about Barack Obama first entering this world in his father’s native Kenya were true, they wouldn’t matter any more than if Cruz had been born in his father’s native Cuba. Legally speaking, birtherism was as much of a non-issue from the get-go for Obama as it is now for Cruz.

        “Hence the reason words like ‘hypocrisy’ come into play.”

        I don’t know why (I should be used to it by now), but it amazes me how, “when the shoe’s on the other foot,” the exact same thing that was a Major Sideshow for the Deomcratic candidate, is no Sideshow at all for the honorable Repubican candidate experiencing the exact same circumstances.

        It reminds me (exactly) of the H. Clinton “email scandal” (not to mention the endless House committee search for Benghazi truth):

        “Even for a Republican White House that was badly stumbling through George W. Bush’s sixth year in office, the revelation on April 12, 2007 was shocking. Responding to congressional demands for emails in connection with its investigation into the partisan firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the White House announced that as many as FIVE MILLION emails, covering a two-year span, had been lost.”

        But then, as now with Cruz’s birthplace, “not a peep” from Republicans. Hillary gets five or six allegedly “classified” emails via a “non-governmental” server and Holy Hell breaks loose. There’s nothing else on the news for months. Hillary’s trust ratings drop, unfavorable ratings rise and she’s portrayed as the next best thing to Benedict Arnold!!!!

        The Bush White uses a Republican National Committee email server to communicate for years (which, of course, wasn’t exactly okay: “Under federal law, the White House is required to maintain records, including e-mails, involving presidential decision-making and deliberations”) and somehow “loses” MILLIONS of emails (when was the last time you or anyone you know “lost” an email?), but that’s fine, okay, no big deal, let’s move on.

        I’m not sure what it is that makes me think the only thing Republicans are ever doing is running for office by spending all their time figuring out the most effective ways they can drag opponents down, but this kind of thing definitely has something to do with it.

        Ray Schoch, the birther? Are you practicing for a Republican political consulting job or what? Funny you aren’t calling for a MinnPost editorial committee investigation.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/15/2015 - 09:55 am.

        Uh huh…

        “If you will note- -nowhere in the Constitution is the term defined. ”

        Yeah, and nowhere in the Constitution are the terms: “freedom” or even “Constitution” defined. So we can pretty much make it all whatever we want eh?

  5. Submitted by Mike Wiley on 10/13/2015 - 12:22 pm.

    Ted Cruz

    Rafael Cruz is a father I wish more children (and grown ups) had. Rafael is the embodiment of the American Dream. He has traveled across the country in support of his son, Senator Ted Cruz.

    As a youth in Cuba, Rafael experienced the torture and killings by the Batista government and sought to overthrow it. Fidel Castro presented himself as a freedom fighter. However, Rafael realized Castro was just as bad when Castro began seizing property from Cuban citizens. He then rebelled against Castro. Rafael’s sister was imprisoned by Fidel Castro and brutally tortured. Rafael faced imprisonment by Castro and sought refuge in the US, arriving with $100 sown in his underwear. He has since lived the American Dream through education becoming a mathematician and entrepreneur in the oil industry and later a pastor.

    His son, Ted, memorized the US Constitution at age 12. He went on to become a national debate champion at Princeton University (the school bestows an annual award in his honor to this day) and a Harvard Law star. As Texas Solicitor General, Ted was a Supreme Court litigator arguing 9 cases before the Supreme Court and winning 6 landmark decisions.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/13/2015 - 12:49 pm.

      It’s Amazing, Isn’t It?

      How people can memorize the constitution,…

      and even whole books of the Bible,…

      yet so completely filter those words through their own preexisting perspectives,…

      that they utterly fail to understand what they meant at the time they were written,…

      and what their implications and requirements are for our own day and time.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/17/2015 - 10:33 pm.

        I Agree

        I often wonder how the far Left and far Right folks can misinterpret that great document so incorrectly… 🙂

        What is even better is that each and every one these people will swear that they have it correct, and the others have it wrong.

  6. Submitted by Dan Kaufman on 10/13/2015 - 12:40 pm.

    I am a constitutional liberal

    Okay, not as alliterative a term, but just as meaningful. Why does MinnPost allow headlines that are so biased and full of false meaning?

    The constitution and founders clearly support separation of church and state. Therefore, this country is no more Christian than it is Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu.

    How can Cruz (father or son) suggest they are following the constitution when they are so blatantly opposed to everything this country strands for?

  7. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/13/2015 - 03:28 pm.

    That was then this is now…

    Rafael Cruz is exactly the kind of person Ted Cruz wants to keep out of this country now. Cuban’s of the late 50’s and early 60’s have more in common with Syrian refugees today than Ted will ever acknowledge.

  8. Submitted by Mike Wiley on 10/13/2015 - 07:11 pm.

    Pre-existing conceptions?

    You mean the “pre-existing” conceptions that won at the Supreme Court 6 times?

  9. Submitted by Bill Willy on 10/13/2015 - 08:52 pm.

    WWJD? (1 & 2)

    Rafael Cruz: “the future of the United States lies in Christianity and the Bible.”

    Jesus: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

    Ted Cruz: “We should end birthright citizenship.”

    Jesus: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

    “Fox News’s Megyn Kelly repeatedly pressed Cruz on a question that Trump was asked on the network Monday: If a husband and a wife were undocumented immigrants and had two children who were born in the United States and citizens, would you deport the citizen children?

    “Cruz did not answer the question, but instead launched into an explanation of how he thinks the immigration system should be changed… ‘The United States should focus on securing the border.'”

    • Submitted by Misha Ski on 10/14/2015 - 02:47 pm.

      Kelly question

      The reason Cruz would not answer her the way she wanted is because Megyn was looking to stir up a fight between us. Cruz has said the one thing we all seem to agree on is securing the border, so lets do the work we can do together and after that we can discuss the rest. Cruz does not attack other candidates when the media pushes the circus, he tries to find consensus we can work on together and avoid the constant bickering the media tries to stir up. Even when Carson made his comment about not having a Muslim president, Cruz was asked the same and he said there is no religious litmus test in the constitution. We all have equal rights. Done. The constitution is there to protect us all, even if we are not the favorite flavor of the month. Cruz has also taken a great deal of heat because he differed with Trump on birthright citizenship and says we would have to change the constitution to end that right, meaning he thinks right now the right exists. I hate media spin because it causes us to form opinions without learning the truth. I know from experience being on the right, that often what Obama or others say is not how it is reported, and if I looked no further I would be angry over something that is not reality. Anyway, hope you will take a little deeper look, because Cruz is just wanting freedom for all of us, not just Christians.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/17/2015 - 10:42 pm.

      I think Jesus would have punished the line budgers who jumped in front of the law abiding process following legal immigrants. He definitely would not have rewarded them with gifts.

      Same old questions? The USA brings in ~1,000,000 legal immigrants each year. Many of whom are impoverished with a limited education. There are maybe 4,000,000,000 people in the world that would likely love to live in the USA. How many do you want to let immigrate each year?

      How many people do you want to have living in the USA? Do you want 1.2 Billion like China/India?

      I don’t hear the GOP talking about cutting back on legal immigration… Am I missing something here?

  10. Submitted by Misha Ski on 10/14/2015 - 02:27 pm.


    I think there is too much listening to the spin of media going on today. If people got the chance to listen to Cruz they would know he is not trying to impose Christianity on anyone. Quite the opposite. He is firmly devoted to the freedom of everyone deeply rooted natural law and enshrined in the Constitution. His belief is that the government does not give us our rights, and therefore they cannot take them away. The only one imposing laws against our natural rights of freedom is big government. He wants to protect us from government overreach into our lives. How is that a bad thing? Of course he believes God is the answer to our future, he is a man of faith and believes we need to be kind to one another. However, he never says he is going to force others to think the same or have to go against their beliefs. He gets slammed for being against gay marriage, but listening to his stance what he says is that is his personal belief from his faith. From a constitutional stance he believes the federal government is not given the right decide on marriage, it is a states right issue and he is fine if states want to vote for that. Further, marriage via the government was designed at the turn of the last century to keep white people from marrying black people. There was no state issued license in the founder’s day. The government has no place in what two people decide they want to do. The government creates the problem by getting involved, forcing a win-lose for people, then we fight each other. If we just followed the constitution we could all be free and friendly. Anyway, I am trying to listen to others, be caring with those I disagree with, willing to protect freedom whether it is for me or for others with different beliefs. I hope more people will and we heal our divides that government creates. Take a minute to watch Cruz when Code Pink showed up to protest his Iran Deal Rally. Cruz called them up, was very respectful to them, had a real conversation. He is not the “bombastic” person the media makes him out to be. We need more freedom, not more stuff. I want less government in my life, guessing you do also since that is our natural state.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/17/2015 - 11:21 am.

      This is actually incoherent

      “His belief is that the government does not give us our rights, and therefore they cannot take them away. ”

      This kind of thinking actually betrays a fundamental lack of understanding regarding our Constitution and Liberal Democracies. The problem is this mentality fails to recognize the fact that there are different types of “Governments”. This line of thought creates and artificial distinction between the government and the people.

      The whole point of constitutional democracy is that the government derives it’s authority from the people, hence it’s a government architecture by which the people govern themselves. When you stand in the middle of democratically governed nation and claim the government does grant or repeal rights you’re basically denying the whole concept of democracy. In fact, yes, the government via democratic process did in fact grant women the right to vote in the United States, and the government does in fact protect that right. Anyone US citizen who denies that fact simply doesn’t understand the nature of their own government.

      For my money, it’s not a good idea to vote for people who don’t understand the nature of their own government or worse, don’t accept or understand the basic principles of democracy.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/15/2015 - 10:04 am.

    I make with the jokes but seriously…

    Here’s the deal with so called “Constitutionalist’s”, and it’s more than a little ironic. If you look at their approach you see that basically it’s a fundamentalists attempt to treat the US Constitution like some kind of religious scripture. Fundamentalism is always incoherent because it make two simultaneous and irreconcilable claims: A) The Scripture speaks for itself and requires no interpretation. B) OUR interpretation is infallible.

    As some have already pointed it’s almost a truism that those who claim to be Constitutionalists typically have no idea whatsoever who to approach the US Constitution in any coherent way. It’s just another way of wrapping the flag around oneself as if that establishes some kind of true patriotism. It’s more than a little ironic that patriots and constitutionalists of this ilk are frequently the first ones in line when it come to trashing the basic tenets of democracy and freedom, i.e. no privacy, no equality, no voting rights, etc. etc.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/15/2015 - 11:30 am.

    By the way…

    Am I missing something or is this really a story about a father who’s bragging about his son? We’re supposed to vote for Ted because his father brags about him? Seriously? Is this what political reasoning has devolved into within the republican party? Vote for me because my dad says you should?

    I suppose we should’t be surprised, I mean what’s his name who ran against Franken last time actually made that argument with his kids: “Vote for my dad because…. he’s my dad” Yeah, Franken barely survived that shrewd political assault.

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