Bloomberg Politics newsman Mark Halperin has taken an early lead in a different 2016 race — the race to conduct the most embarrassing interview of the presidential season. Halperin’s April 30 interview with Texas senator Ted Cruz sparked a social media firestorm over the weekend, thanks to an outraged op-ed by Ruben Navarrette in Saturday’s San Jose Mercury News. Among Halperin’s questions to the Republican presidential candidate:
Senator, people are really interested in you and your identity. I just wanted to ask you as a historical matter, when you filled out your application to Princeton, to Harvard Law School, did you list yourself as an Hispanic?
Do you have a favorite Cuban food?
Do you like Cuban music? Do you have a favorite Cuban singer?
I wanted to give you the opportunity to welcome your colleague Senator Sanders to the race, and I’d like you to do it, if you would, en Español.
Writes our own Jim Geraghty, in today’s “Morning Jolt”: “Halperin came across as snide, presumptive, and arrogant, with the underlying tone of the questions suggesting Cruz was somehow faking his status as a Cuban-American.”
What Jim did not have the space to note was the hilarious Twitter reaction to the interview, largely under the hashtag “#HalperinQuestions.”
Some possible additional questions for Senator Cruz:
— Denny "Call me Denny" Loggins (@DerpFlannel) May 10, 2015
And for others:
"Mr. Kennedy, if you are indeed the first Irish Catholic president, chug this bottle of Jamesons and eat a potato." #HalperinQuestions
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 10, 2015
Sen Webb, when with your W. Va Scots Irish clan you often fiddle, drink moonshine and punch outsiders, right? #HalperinQuestions
— Peggy Noonan (@Peggynoonannyc) May 10, 2015
Regarding the interview, Halperin issued the following statement today:
We wanted to talk with Senator Cruz about his outreach to Latino voters the day after he spoke at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. My intent was to give the Senator a chance to speak further about his heritage and personal connections to the community through some casual questions. I rushed through the questions, and that was a mistake — it led to poor tone and timing. I also understand why some felt the questions were inappropriate. As for asking Senator Cruz to welcome Senator Sanders to the race in Spanish, that was meant to be the type of light-hearted banter that he’s done with us before on the show. In no way was I asking Senator Cruz to “prove” he was an “authentic” Latino. I apologize to those that were offended, and to Senator Cruz. I promise that I will work to make the tone and questions better next time.
The apology is well-deserved. At the rate he is going, Halperin will want to conduct his interview with Ben Carson in jive.