This story is over 5 years old.

The VICE Guide to Right Now

Ted Cruz Coaching His Family Through a Campaign Ad Is Awkward as Hell

A long look into the sad, dark heart of what it takes to shoot the average political campaign ad.

By law, super PAC's aren't allowed to coordinate with the political campaigns that they support. The law has produced a number of absurdities in the campaign finance system, one of which is the campaign practice of quietly uploading raw footage of the candidate onto public sites like YouTube, so super PACs can legally use the material in their own ads. The hope, of course, is that no one will notice the videos. But CNN's Chris Moody did, stumbling on hours raw footage from a Ted Cruz campaign ad shoot.


Moody then did God's work, combing through take after painful take of Cruz and his family trying to get through the shoot with a tiny shred of dignity intact. In the video above, CNN has edited the footage down to the most cringeworthy, embarrassing moments, revealing "a rare peek behind the scenes of the strange world of political ad making."

Election Class of 2016: Ted Cruz Is Crazy Like a Fox

The video exposes what everyone has known for a very long time: that damn near every single moment of a presidential campaign ad—every prayer, hug, casual stroll, and solemn promise made into the camera—is a meticulously crafted nugget of inauthentic garbage. This four-and-a-half minute gem is a long look into the sad, dark heart of the average political campaign ad, exposing the humiliation presidential candidates put themselves and their poor, exasperated families through in their bids for the highest office in the land.

In the footage, Cruz is noticeably irritated, grimacing every time someone off camera coughs or clears a throat; pushing family members through countless takes to get the dinner prayer right; and pestering them to tell stories they don't deem appropriate.

In one of the most awkward scenes (really, they all belong in the Awkward Hall of Fame), Cruz can be heard off-camera, chiding his mother Eleanor to tell a story she clearly doesn't want to make public.

"That's too personal, Ted. I don't want to tell it," she says.


"Well I want to tell that and you're the best person to tell that," Ted replies.

"Well," Cruz's mother says, pausing momentarily at the sad prospect of letting her son down. "They're some very personal details that I don't want to get into."

Ted Cruz's cousins Audrey and Diego Loyola make an appearance, and clearly don't know what the hell it is they're supposed to be doing or how they can be of any help. A conversation between the two sums it up the whole process quite nicely.

"I don't know what else to say," Audrey says.

"I don't know," Diego agrees. "Just keep talking. Just keep talking."

Follow Brian McManus on Twitter.