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5 things you need to know about Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz has declared his candidacy for president. The Texas Republican is known for his fiery oratorial style. Here's his take on immigration, Obamacare and, well, green eggs and ham. (Video: Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)
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Ted Cruz has his moments. This was one of them.

Cruz (R-Tex.) shot to fame after a 21-hour filibuster attacking the Affordable Care Act. That's a lot of hours to fill. And one of the ways he did it is the thing many Americans are most likely to know about him: He talked about his dad's teenage party days in Havana. He let the world know that "Latins love white suits." And, most famously, he read "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor.

And people noticed.

His dad may be even more outspoken than he is.

Cruz often tells the story of his father, Rafael -- also the senator's given name -- leaving Cuba as a young man with $100 sewn into his underwear. Rafael Cruz, an evangelical pastor, has a history of making headline-grabbing statements. They include telling an audience that President Obama should be sent "back to Kenya" and asserting that the Bible "tells you exactly who to vote for."

He's not the most popular guy in the Senate.

Senate Minority leader Harry Reid called him a "schoolyard bully." Cruz and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) got into a heated exchange during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons in 2013, when Cruz's remarks about the Constitution prompted Feinstein to respond that she was "not a sixth-grader."

(And it isn't just the opposition party: Cruz's name famously draws pained looks from many of his fellow Republican colleagues -- including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who once called him a "wacko bird.")

He's already a meme. A shirtless, tattooed meme.

"Washington, DC 'Blacklisted & Loving It' All American Tour," reads the image, with "Ted Cruz 2016" written on what looks like some sort of institutional wall behind Cruz. Sabo would not say whose body he had superimposed Cruz's head onto.

As we reported last month:

The image, which has been in circulation for nearly a year and was visible around the necks of swarms of Cruz supporters at CPAC, was created last year by a Los Angeles street artist -- a right-wing Shepard Fairey of sorts.
The artist, who calls himself Sabo, made the image after learning that Cruz was going to be attending an event in the city. Sabo says he felt as though his right-leaning views were under attack in Los Angeles, and was intrigued by Cruz. Inspired by a friend who superimposed tattoos onto depictions of Marilyn Monroe's body, he created the image and plastered it around his city.
"I heard Ted Cruz was coming to town, and he’s always someone that kind of pissed off the establishment in Washington and I thought 'he’s kind of a badass..." Sabo said. "He doesn’t look it, but it’s like, I kind of like this guy. And it’s not like me to like a politician."

He's not Canadian anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sure, Cruz was born in Canada, but legal experts say that having a mother who was a U.S. citizen qualifies him as a “natural born” American eligible to be president.