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Cruz Appeals to Iowans, Burns Bridges In Nigeria

Updated: Friday, October 25 2013, 11:14 AM CDT

Sen. Ted Cruz is trying to make friends in Iowa but appears to have burned some bridges in Nigeria.

The Des Moines Register today published a kid-glove Q&A with the otherwise fiery tea party warrior.

The softball questions bring out Cruz's softer side, something a canny politician would be eager to broadcast to voters in the state that lays claim to the earliest presidential nominating contests in the nation.

Certainly many Iowans are familiar with Cruz's leading role in the 16-day partial government shutdown earlier this month. They're probably also up to snuff on his tireless and outspoken opposition to President Obama's health care reform law. But thanks to the Register's article, they are now privy to his favorite movie (The Princess Bride), favorite food ("Anything with cheese on it"), and his fatherly adoration of his two daughters, Caroline and Catherine, ages 5 and 2 respectively.

But while Cruz appears to be trying to fluff his image domestically, he's facing a fresh round of criticism from overseas. Politico is reporting that Nigeria's ambassador is demanding an apology from the Canadian-born Texan over remarks Cruz made at a tea party rally earlier this week.

Cruz was celebrating his homecoming in Houston on Monday in the wake of Congress' vote to restart the government without granting any of the concessions from the White House Cruz and his tea party allies had sought. Despite the apparent defeat, the friendly crowd feted him as a hero and Cruz resumed his assault on the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as "Obamacare."

"You know the Nigerian email scammers," Cruz asked the crowd. "They've been a lot less actively lately.  Because they've all been hired to run the Obamacare website."

The joke drew roars of laughter in Houston but not so much in the West African nation that shared the butt of it.

Ambassador Ade Adefeyu told Politico the joke was offensive.

“It was a joke that went too far, and we demand an apology,” he reportedly said.

Cruz's spokesperson told Politico the joke wasn't meant to offend.

Cruz Appeals to Iowans, Burns Bridges In Nigeria

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