Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is out with a new memoir, entitled "A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America." In it, he details his conservative philosophy and his unlikely path from Texas and Harvard Law to the Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate. Cruz, a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, used the book effectively to generate a media blitz this week, in hopes of boosting his poll numbers in a crowded GOP field.
Here are some of the most interesting tidbits from the book:
Cruz liked to party:
During an interview with a Brown University admissions counselor, Cruz admitted he wasn't feeling so good because he spent the night partying at Dartmouth College.
"I had to ask her to please lower her voice because, I told her, I was really hungover. That probably did not leave the best of impressions," he wrote.
At Princeton, Cruz joined the drama society, and the pattern continued. “The first night of the play went very well and to celebrate we had a raucous -- very raucous -- cast party," he wrote. "Being a stupid twenty-two-year-old, I had way too much to drink, not giving a thought to the repercussions. During the next day’s performance, I was still sick -- so horribly sick that, in the middle of the performance, I walked off the stage and curled into a ball behind it. My startled fellow cast members were left to ad-lib the rest of the scene without me.”
A liberal professor recommended him for a Supreme Court clerkship:
Alan Dershowitz, a famed Harvard Law professor, recommended Cruz for a prestigious clerkship to the Supreme Court. The recommendation from a liberal professor caught the eye of then-Chief Justice Willian Rehnquist, under whom Cruz would go on to clerk.
Cruz described Dershowitz as a “brilliant mind.”
“He loved argument and debate, and unlike many Ivy League academics I’ve met, he respected people with differing points of view," Cruz wrote of the professor. "He hated nothing more than liberals who reflexively agreed with him but couldn’t explain why ... In fact, many times our arguments would continue after class, back in his office, where we’d battle back and forth for hours on end."
Cruz watched pornography alongside Supreme Court justices:
During Cruz's clerkship, the court took on a case challenging a law that regulated online pornography. The justices and their clerks had to do some interesting research before the oral arguments:
Most of the justices were in their sixties or older. Few knew much of anything about the Internet. So the librarians of the Court designed a tutorial for them. They set up sessions for two justices at a time and their clerks. As it happened, our Rehnquist group was paired with Justice O’Connor. In a small room gathered the Chief, Justice O’Connor, and their respective law clerks. The librarians’ purpose was to demonstrate to the justices how easy it was to find porn on the Internet. I remember standing behind the computer, watching the librarian go to a search engine, turn off the filters, and type in the word cantaloupe, though misspelling it slightly. After she pressed “return,” a slew of hard-core, explicit images showed up on screen. Here I was as a twenty-six-year-old man looking at explicit porn with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who was standing alongside the colleague she had once dated in law school. As we watched these graphic pictures fill our screens, wide-eyed, no one said a word. Except for Justice O’Connor, who lowered her head, squinted slightly, and muttered, “Oh, my."
Cruz opened up about the death of his half-sister:
In the book, Cruz discusses his feelings toward his half-sister Miriam, who died of a drug overdose in 2011. He described her as a “perpetually angry” person who lied and committed thefts. Cruz described how he and his father went to visit Miriam in Philadelphia, where she was living in a crack house, to plead with her to “stop wallowing in self-pity and do what was needed for her son.” While carrying substantial student loans, Cruz took out a $20,000 cash advance on his credit card to pay for Miriam’s child to go to military school.
He described himself as being 'too cocky’ when he worked on George W. Bush's presidential campaign:
Following Bush’s 2000 presidential victory, Cruz “hoped to get a senior job in the White House.” But in “the heat of the campaign,” he wrote, “I had forgotten some of my own life lessons learned during my seventh-grade makeover.”
“Instead I was far too cocky for my own good, and that sometimes caused me to overstep the bounds of my appointed role,” he added. Still, it's not a full mea culpa: He blames his colleagues for letting him ruffle their feathers, writing that he had “foolishly thought it was my job to provide my best judgement on the right policies for our candidate. I didn’t understand that lots of others on the campaign thought my job was simply to be a conduit for their own expertise.”
As a result, he concluded, “I burned a fair number of bridges on the Bush campaign.”
He wore boots to oral arguments before the Supreme Court:
As solicitor general of Texas, Cruz argued before the Supreme Court nine times. The first time he did so, he eschewed his favorite pair of black ostrich boots for some wingtips. However, when John Roberts became chief justice, Cruz gathered the courage to ask about a change of wardrobe. “‘Tell me, Mr. Chief Justice, do you have any views on the appropriateness of boots as footwear in oral argument?’ he recalls asking.
“With a grin, Roberts replied, ‘Ted, when representing the state of Texas, they are not only appropriate, but required.’ From that point on, in every argument I made before the Court, I wore my boots.”
He once wore George H.W. Bush’s clothes:
In the summer of 2009, as Cruz was weighing a run for Texas attorney general, he met with former President George H.W. Bush at his compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. After the meeting, Bush unexpectedly invited Cruz on his boat.
“He smiled and then scrutinized my attire -- a suit and tie that I felt appropriate to the occasion. ‘Ted, that’s not going to do at all,’ he said." Bush provided him jeans, a shirt and a belt, “the buckle of which read, ‘President of the United States.’
“It was surreal to be wearing his clothes,” Cruz said.
Karl Rove apparently suggested George H.W. Bush was “too old to have good judgement":
Cruz's book caused a bitter dispute to erupt this week between the senator and Rove, George W. Bush's political mastermind. At issue was the memoir's account of a conversation Cruz had with Rove about his campaign for Texas attorney general. According to Cruz's book, Rove “suggested that the elder Bush was too old to have any good judgment anymore” after Cruz met with the former president in Kennebunkport.
“I was offended by that characterization, and knew from my visit with 41 that it wasn’t remotely true,” Cruz added.
Rove denied the account over the weekend, including the book's assertion that he had threatened political retribution if Cruz touted the elder Bush's endorsement.
“I am accustomed to being criticized for others’ political benefit, but am disappointed in how Senator Cruz decided to raise the name of one of the finest presidents our country has ever known, President George H.W. Bush,” Rove wrote in a post on Medium.
That prompted Cruz’s presidential campaign to release a series of emails between the two men from 2009, in an attempt to rebut “Rove’s blatantly false recap of their 2009 conversations.”
Joe Biden “flirted” with Cruz’s mother:
Upon his swearing-in to the U.S. Senate, Cruz recalled having a “pleasant” encounter with Joe Biden, describing the vice president as “surprisingly charming." He went on to describe what has become an annual tradition in Washington -- Biden’s amusing, often handsy interactions with the families of incoming members of the Senate.
“He flirted with my mother, then in her late seventies. When I mentioned to him that Mom had been born in Delaware and had hundreds of cousins there, Biden grinned and said, ‘Oh, they probably all voted for me.’ I’ll confess my mother laughed back and said, ‘You’re probably right.’”
Cruz thinks Politifact.com does “yellow journalism”:
The conservative firebrand takes issue with media bias multiple times in his book, but he singled out the fact-checking website Politifact for what he called “yellow journalism.”
“Through this website, left-wing editorial writers frequently dress up their liberal views as ‘facts’ and conclude that anyone who does not agree with their view of the world is objectively lying," Cruz writes. "Then, left-wing hacks immediately run out and say, ‘Look! This conservative said something that PolitiFact calls a lie. He wouldn’t know the truth if it hit him with a two-by-four!’"
He believes Dianne Feinstein thinks he’s Newman from ‘Seinfeld’:
Cruz recounted a particularly heated exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in 2013. During debate over legislation to ban assault weapons, Feinstein grew visibly upset with her Texas colleague, saying she was “not a sixth grader” after Cruz asked her about her views on the Constitution.
“I will confess her reaction puzzled me. Of course she wasn’t a sixth grader. No one would ask a sixth grader a substantive question of constitutional law,” he wrote.
Relations between the two senators cooled after the exchange, according to Cruz, so much so that it reminded him of a particular recurring scene from the hit TV show ‘Seinfeld.’
For months afterward, whenever I ran into her in the elevator, we’d have the following exchange:
"Diane [sic], I’m all sunshine and smiles."
"Is that…what your wife tells you?"
Three times, we’ve had that exact same exchange, word for word. It’s very odd. And somehow, every time she greets me, I hear the words from Seinfeld, “Hello… Newman.”