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April 19, 2014

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In the Cruz family, Ted is the diplomatic one

Updated Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 | 8:02 a.m.

MADISONVILLE, Texas (AP) — Rafael Cruz, father of firebrand U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, is proud to be politically incorrect.

The 74-year-old pastor travels Texas and fires up tea party gatherings. He's fond of comparing Barack Obama to Fidel Castro, and in the past has even suggested the president be sent "back to Kenya."

Though his son also relishes controversy, public officials are usually wary of loose-cannon family members as too politically dangerous. Not Cruz. He says he's proud to have his father as a highly visible face of his political operation. In fact, he acknowledges him as an occasional political surrogate.

Some political experts wonder, though, whether Rafael Cruz's bombshells will make it more difficult for his son to broaden his voter appeal if he decides to run for national office.