As you read the following, keep in mind that it's from Mother Jones:
The CNN Town Hall with Ted Cruz and his family on Wednesday night began with host Anderson Cooper talking to the candidate about the usual political subjects....Yup, a Mother Jones writer thinks that was just adorbs. I wouldn't bet the rent money that Ohio swing voters are going to be more resistant to the charms of the Cruz family.
When Heidi Cruz joined her husband on stage and audience members came to the mic, the questions moved from the political to the personal: What was their first date? (A dinner when the two were working on the Bush campaign in 2000). What did she think was his "most annoying" quality? (His iPhone). Cruz also told the audience that he loves movies, but his wife isn't interested in them....
But the real highlight of the evening came when Cruz's two young daughters, dressed in identical yellow dresses, were asked who they would first want to invite to visit the White House. Caroline, whose eighth birthday is on Thursday, and five-year-old Catherine, were shy about naming their favorite pop star, but their mother Heidi answered for them: "The girls would love to have their first guest be Taylor Swift," she said.
... The whole family exchange was pretty adorable.
And I noticed yesterday that Cruz got a lot of people on social media talking about his taste in pop culture:
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has taken many a controversial stand -- repealing Obamacare, deporting illegal immigrants. But he may have outdone himself Wednesday night at a CNN town hall meeting.If we're talking about the Cruz daughters, Cruz's taste in movies, and Cruz's imitations of celebrities, we're not talking about his tax plan and his position on social issues and his backing for torture and indiscriminate bombing of civilians. We're not talking about his government shutdown. Could the town-halling of television election coverage help the probable Republican presidential nominee turn himself from an ogre into a dorky neighbor with an appealing family?
He mentioned “The Godfather, Part III” among his all-time favorite films.
Host Anderson Cooper asked Mr. Cruz to name some of his favorite films, besides his oft-repeated answer that his all-time favorite is “The Princess Bride.”
He gave a common response ... of the popular and iconic “Godfather” films.
But then the heresy struck: He specified “all three” films in Francis Coppola’s gangster trilogy. A disbelieving Mr. Cooper replied that “nobody” thinks that.
... Mr. Cruz apparently goes even beyond that heterodox judgment, calling the third film a “nice culmination” of the tragedy of Michael Corleone. In describing that tragedy, the Texan, as he is wont to do, went into an imitation of Al Pacino delivering the best-known line in the film, about how he’s every time he tries to escape the gangster life, “they pull me back in.”
Okay, maybe not -- maybe he's too firmly established as unlikable in most people's minds for this to do much good. But unlike Donald Trump (who did a town hall like this a couple of days ago) and Hillary Clinton, Cruz can trot out a family that isn't familiar to viewers from gossip-page images of gala events featuring rich and famous movers and shakers. The Cruzes can look like jes' folks.
Richard Nixon was also an unlikable striver who was willing to do just about anything in the service of his own ambition, but the Checkers Speech made the public believe he was kind of a regular guy. I hope Cruz hasn't figured out the formula for an image rehabilitation, one that gets a big assist from the media.
UPDATE: I almost missed the soup story: Apparently, Cruz only eats soup when he's away from his family, by his own admission, and Heidi Cruz told a story at the town hall last night about Cruz buying a hundred cans of Campbell's Chunky soup when the couple returned from their honeymoon.
This was shocking to me, so we had a tough conversation about it. I said, “You don’t buy 100 of anything, much less canned soup. We can’t do this. I’ll be making things.” He said, “No, I know you. you won’t be making things.”If you're cringing, well, me too. But we're effete cultural elitists. I bet in the heartland a lot of married women heard that and just thought, "Men!"
So the next morning, it was a weekend morning, I loaded up our car before he woke up and returned every single can. And when I got home, I called my mother just to make sure I’d done the right thing as a newlywed. And she emphatically disagreed with me. And so when Ted opened the pantry, I had to quickly tell him that I would go back and buy those cans again.