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The 10 Most Awkward Moments Of Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign

With Cruz now out of the race, a tribute to the cringiest campaign in modern American history

Image by Flickr user Gage Skidmore.

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced he was dropping out of the race, effectively ending one of the most awkward and uncomfortable campaigns in modern American political history. If Jeb Bush was defined by his sadness, Ted Cruz was a candidate defined by his unnerving ability to skeeve out every single person in the room—regardless of their politics. Ted Cruz is so publicly loathed that a neurologist wrote an entire article for Psychology Today trying to figure out why it’s so hard to look him in the face. And yet—that wasn’t even the most discomfiting moment from his campaign. Here are 10 of the most memorable moments that certainly didn’t help his image.

1: Ted Cruz’s daughter Caroline flees from his embrace. She’s also refused his hugs in public.

2: Caroline gleefully tells Anderson Cooper (and millions of viewers) that her father was video-taped wearing a pink feather boa and underwear, and that this video was sent to all the parents in her class.

3: A young Indiana kid heckled the candidate at a campaign rally, yelling, “You suck!” Cruz told the audience: “You know in my household when a child behaves that way, they get a spanking.” Yikes.

4: This tweet by Cruz’s roommate, Craig Mazin, after the candidate defended a ban on sex toys.

5: Cruz eats something mysteriously hanging off his lip during a campaign debate. Some have speculated that it is a booger. We can neither confirm nor deny.

6: Cruz tries to hold Carly Fiorina’s hand, and she squirms like a spider trying to escape the jaws of its reptile predator.

7: Raw footage from Cruz’s campaign ad comes out, and it depicts the candidate awkwardly staging what we’re supposed to believe are loving, intimate family moments.

8: John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House and a politician famously mocked for both his aggressive tan and his propensity for crying, calls Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” and says that he has “never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch” in his life.

9: Cruz sends an email to supporters detailing all the sacrifices he has made for them while campaigning for the presidential election. In response, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts rips his letter to pieces point by point—on Twitter—flagging the hypocritical divide between what Cruz says and what he actually endorses with policy.

10: While invoking the Benghazi issue to discredit Hillary Clinton, Cruz implies that voters will make sure she pays for her mistakes by drawing a parallel between voting and corporal punishment. And once again, his poor daugher, Catherine, is brought into the fray: “You know I’ll tell you, in my house, if my daughter Catherine, the five-year-old, says something she knows to be false, she gets a spanking,” adding that, “Well, in America, the voters have a way of administering a spanking.”

Turns out Cruz’s campaign was a lot like a spanking: painful—and ultimately ineffective.

UPDATE 9:00 am PST: After officially dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination on Tuesday night, Ted Cruz experiences a major hug #fail with his wife and father at the podium. Poor Heidi Cruz even catches an elbow to the face. This truly was the most appropriate end to an extremely ill-advised campaign.

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