Washington Post retracts cartoon that calls Cruz's children 'political props'

The Washington Post retracted an editorial cartoon Tuesday evening, after Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Commerce official will hit critics of domain name transition The media is rigging the election by reporting WikiLeaks emails MORE (Texas) lashed out over the depiction of his grade-school daughters as dancing monkeys for their appearance in a presidential campaign ad.

The animated cartoon featured a Santa Claus-costumed Cruz winding a music box as two leashed monkeys dance in elf costumes. The monkeys represent Cruz's daugthers Caroline, 7, and Catherine, 4.

"Classy. @washingtonpost makes fun of my girls. Stick w/ attacking me--Caroline & Catherine are out of your league," Cruz tweeted Tuesday with a link to the cartoon.

The editorial cartoonist, Ann Telnaes, wrote that Cruz waived the "unspoken rule" to leave politician's kids out of campaigns with a TV ad that ran during last week's "Saturday Night Live." 

On Tuesday evening, a note from editor Fred Hiatt appeared on The Washington Post's website reading: "It’s generally been the policy of our editorial section to leave children out of it. I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published. I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree."

Cruz used the flap in a Tuesday fundraising pitch:

The ad featured Cruz, his wife, Heidi, and their daughters in a fake infomercial for a book of politically charged Christmas stories. Tales include “How ObamaCare Stole Christmas” and “Auditing St. Nick.”

Cruz’s daughter Caroline reads from “The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails," and Catherine asks him to read "The Senator Who Saved Christmas."

"When a politician uses his children as political props, as Ted Cruz recently did in his Christmas parody video in which his eldest daughter read (with her father’s dramatic flourish) a passage of an edited Christmas classic, then I figure they are fair game," Telnaes wrote in a post with the cartoon.

- Updated at 9:43 p.m.