Mark Halperin apologizes to Ted Cruz for questions about Cuban heritage

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Bloomberg Politics’s Mark Halperin on Monday apologized to Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzBreitbart, liberal activist cooperated on GOP primary disruptions: report Juan Williams: When WikiLeaks leaked my cell number 56 memorable moments from a wild presidential race MORE (R-Texas) for questions during a recent interview that critics have labeled as racist and insensitive.

In the interview, Halperin asked Cruz about his favorite Cuban food and Cuban music. He then asked the Texan to welcome Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Trail 2016: Who is really winning? The evidence backs Trump: We have a duty to doubt election results A Good Year to Go Green (Party) MORE (I-Vt.) into the 2016 race “en Español.”

"Your last name is Cruz and you're from Texas. Just based on that, should you have appeal to Hispanic voters?"‬ Halperin also asked.

The journalist tweeted a link to an apology Monday morning, after a number of outlets criticized the interview. Halperin said that he wanted to give Cruz “a chance to speak further about his heritage and personal connections to the community through some casual questions,” but said that he had “poor tone and timing” because he rushed through the interview. 

“In no way was I asking Senator Cruz to 'prove' he was an 'authentic' Latino,” he said.

“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.”

A column in the San Jose Mercury-News by Ruben Navarrette over the weekend prompted the criticism.

“Watching Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics interview Cruz recently, I wasn't just uncomfortable. I was actually nauseated,” he wrote.

“As a journalist, I felt embarrassed for Halperin. As a Hispanic, I felt like I was watching a college fraternity have fun with racial stereotypes.”

The liberal Think Progress called the interview “The most racist interview of a 2016 candidate,” while The Washington Post slammed it as “cringeworthy” in articles on Monday.

Cruz praised Halperin in a Monday Facebook post as a "serious and fair-minded journalist" who asked "some silly questions."

"The apology was unnecessary — no offense was taken, nor, I believe, intended — but is certainly appreciated," Cruz said.

"I'm proud of my Cuban heritage, my father's journey from oppression and prison in Cuba to freedom in America, and also my Irish-Italian heritage on my mother's side. Both are integral parts of who I am today."

Halperin, co-author of the presidential campaign bestsellers Game Change and Double Down, is no stranger to public controversy.

He had to apologize in 2011 after using strong language on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to criticize President Obama’s performance during a press conference. The network suspended him after the comments.

— Updated at 4:06 p.m.