Sen. Ted Cruz Responds to Father's 'Ill-Advised' Obama Joke

| by Emily Smith

Sen. Ted Cruz responded to critics of his father Thursday, noting that the elder Cruz made an “ill-advised joke” when said that President Barack Obama should go back to Kenya.

Pastor Rafael Cruz made the remark a year ago at a Tea Party rally in Hood County, though the joke came to light recently after Mother Jones reported on the video.

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

Rushton added that the pastor does not speak for Sen. Cruz.

During an interview with CNN on Friday, Cruz said the outrage over his father’s comment had less to do with genuine insult and more to do with politics.

“Those who are trying to play the politics of personal destruction are trying to smear him and use that to attack me,” Cruz said. “That's a shame.”

Despite the comment, Cruz said he loves his father and that he is a man of deep integrity.

Rafael Cruz is known for his controversial right-wing comments, and has attracted a following of tea party activists and social conservatives for them.

The pastor belongs to the so-called birther movement. The group is composed of influential figures who believe Obama was not born in the United States, and therefore inelligible to become president.

Sources: CNN, UPI