Marco rubio high school

At the end of March, two weeks before he declared his candidacy for President, Marco Rubio visited New York City’s Upper West Side to meet the moneyed class and hand out his new book American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone. In a gorgeous apartment overlooking the Park and the Museum of Natural History, Mr. Rubio delivered a spellbinding speech, skewering the president and articulating a cohesive worldview, especially in the arena of foreign policy. The smart and funny senator from Florida also took questions on all topics, impressing the room of well-heeled elites, plus journalists like Bret Stephens and John Podhoretz, with the poise that has earned him a reputation as the best communicator in the Republican Party.

The son of a bartender and a housekeeper who emigrated from Cuba, Marco Rubio’s life story reads like something out of a fairy tale.

Less well known is Mr. Rubio’s skill as a burlesque performer.

What you see below is a photograph from South Miami Senior High School’s annual talent competition.

The team nickname at South Miami Senior High School, which Mr. Rubio was graduated from in 1989, was the Cobras. Every year there was a male talent competition for “King Cobra” and in 1989, Mr. Rubio and some of his football teammates wowed the crowd with a Chippendale’s style dance routine. That’s him in front of the O in “Cobra” with the washboard abs (eat your heart out, Aaron Schock!).

Marco Rubio and classmates vie for the title “King Cobra” at South Miami Senior High.

In his first book, American Son, Mr. Rubio discusses the King Cobra contest—but not this one. Recounting how he sang the Lionel Ritchie weeper “Still,” Mr. Rubio reports that he “had a decent singing voice” and so decided to sing his number instead of lip synch. “For laughs, I adopted an obnoxiously braggadocio personality. I strutted around the stage, smirked, threw my microphone and stalked offstage after I finished the song. My friends got the joke. The judges did not — they voted me second to last.” The Chippendales performance didn’t make it into the memoir.

Anyone’s who’s seen the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “The U” knows that Miami in the 80s was a cauldron of colliding American trends. Racial unrest and conspicuous consumption found their way onto the tv screen via “Miami Vice” and the easy-money culture of junk bonds and cocaine was reflected at SMSH, as well.

SMSH was three quarters Hispanic, according to The Serpent’s Tale, the school newspaper. Mr. Rubio, having just moved to Miami from Las Vegas, felt out of place in a city that was bubbling with post Mariela political fervor and the excesses of the 80s. According to The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Roig-Franzia, “the cover of the school yearbook depicts a coiled cobra clutching $100 bills in its tail.” The student body goal was “to win the jackpot.”

Mr. Rubio didn’t need a jackpot. As an undersized but fast defensive back for the highly ranked SMSH team, Mr. Rubio lost his starting spot to a faster teammate. In one of his memoir’s most compelling sections, Mr. Rubio details how some Hispanic teammates tried to gin him up by suggesting that Mr. Rubio create a beef with the coach, who they accused of favoring black kids.

“I had been the only non-African American starter on the Cobra’s defense, and one of only three white starters on the team. …. I had been replaced by a bigger, stronger and faster kid who made more plays than I did. That’s all there was to it.”

Already possessed of leadership skills, he impressed a scout enough to earn a partial scholarship to Tarkio College in rural Missouri.

Despite his shirtless performance, Marco Rubio didn’t win King Cobra. But the title stayed in the family. Carlos Ponce, the Puerto Rican actor and balladeer, won the crown. He later married Mr. Rubio’s sister Veronica.

Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, on the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the United States Senate passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL). The resolution honors the victims and survivors, expresses gratitude to the emergency medical and health care professionals who responded and cared for the victims, as well as recognizes the strength and resilience of the Parkland community. The resolution passed the Senate unanimously. Ahead of the vote Rubio spoke on the Senate floor to honor the 17 victims of the tragedy.
The full text of the resolution is below:
Honoring the memory of the victims of the senseless attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 1 year ago.
Whereas, on February 14, 2018, a mass shooting that took the lives of 17 teachers and students took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida;
Whereas the people of the United States continue to pray for those who were affected by this tragedy;
Whereas President Donald Trump stated: ‘‘No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.’’;
Whereas the Parkland community has shown strength, compassion, and unity in the past year; and
Whereas February 14, 2019, marks 1 year since the horrific attack: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) commemorates the victims killed in the attack and offers heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the families, loved ones, and friends of the victims;
(2) honors the survivors and pledges continued support for their recovery;
(3) recognizes the strength and resilience of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community;
(4) expresses gratitude to the emergency medical and health care professionals of the Parkland community for their efforts in responding to the attack and caring for the victims and survivors.

Marco Rubio’s running: 6 things you probably didn’t know about the senator

Sen. Marco Rubio became the third official GOP presidential candidate Monday, confirming to a group of donors that he is running for the nation’s highest office, according to Associated Press.

A formal public announcement in Miami is expected later in the day.

In the meantime, here are six things many don’t know about the Florida Republican, revealed in his 2012 autobiography, “An American Son.”

He was almost born in Cuba: Rubio’s family emigrated to the U.S. in 1956, before the rise of Fidel Castro, and briefly returned to Cuba after the revolution with thoughts of returning permanently. They had become discouraged by the difficulty of life in the U.S. On a visit to Cuba in 1960, relatives warned them not to stay, and they returned to the U.S.


He was a self-described spoiled brat: Born in Miami in 1971, Rubio was a late addition to the family. His parents, who were in their 40s at the time, already had two older children. He acknowledges being spoiled as his parents tried to provide for the family. He recalls childhood tantrums over delays in being served his after-church pancakes at an IHOP restaurant. Rather than admonish Rubio for his impatience, his father politely asked if the waitress could hurry it up.

He was a so-so student. After graduating from high school with a 2.1 grade point average and attending a small Missouri college to play football, Rubio transferred to a community college in southern Florida, improved his grades and eventually graduated from the University of Florida and the University of Miami law school.

He was Mormon: The family relocated from Miami to Las Vegas when Rubio was a child as he father sought bartending work. There Rubio joined his dad on the picket line during a labor strike against the casinos. The family briefly became Mormon. Rubio urged his father to quit smoking and complained that working in a bar was “sinful.” Today, Rubio is a practicing Catholic.

His first career choice was the NFL: Rubio, a longtime fan of the Miami Dolphins, played football in college and dreamed of a professional career. His wife, Jeanette, was a Dolphins cheerleader. An injury scuttled those dreams, leading to his interest in politics.


He loves hip-hop: Turning up the Tupac is among Rubio’s guilty pleasures.

Twitter: @lisamascaro

In pictures: US election day 2016

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The US president-elect Donald Trump took to the stage at his victory rally in New York and said: “I just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us on our victory.”

Image copyright John Locher / AP Image caption A dramatic night in the US presidential race saw the Republican candidate defy the polls and sweep to victory in a number of key states, including Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. His supporters could hardly believe it as they began to party at a rally in New York as Mr Trump edges closer to victory.

Image copyright Shawn Thew / EPA Image caption Mr Trump’s Ohio win was a big boost to him and his supporters, as no Republican has ever taken the White House without winning the state.

Image copyright Drew Angerer / Getty Images Image caption A short distance away there were tears as supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton realised the vote was not going their way.

Image copyright Frank Franklin II / AP Image caption Mrs Clinton won the Democratic heartlands of California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, Delaware, Illinois, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Washington and District of Columbia, as well as New Mexico and Colorado.

Image copyright Laura Segall / AFP Image caption More than 100 million Americans went to the polls to decide their next president, with voters in several states facing long queues

Image copyright Justin Sullivan / Getty Images Image caption Earlier in the day Mrs Clinton greeted supporters with her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, after voting in Chappaqua, New York. National polls had given Mrs Clinton a four-point lead over Mr Trump with many believing she would cross the finishing line with ease.

Image copyright Evan Vucci / AP Image caption Mr Trump also cast his vote with his wife in New York. Both candidates had targeted battleground states on Monday, with last-minute campaigning taking them to rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Image copyright Mike Nelson / EPA Image caption In Los Angeles, California, one girl waited patiently while her mother cast her vote. Image copyright Mario Anzuoni / Reuters Image caption Fabio Alvarado, 91, originally from El Salvador, was sworn in as a US citizen on election day and arrived with his wife Marta, 80, to vote at LA County Registrar’s office in Norwalk, California. Image copyright Jeff Swensen / Getty Images Image caption At Penn State University’s campus one freshman hoped to convince others to vote for Trump. Image copyright Ralph Freso / Getty Images Image caption Hillary Clinton supporter Jorge Mendez of Glendale, Arizona wore a dress and Hillary Clinton mask to show where his allegiance lies. Image copyright Randall Hill / Reuters Image caption Americans also voted for Congress. All seats in the House of Representatives were up for grabs, and a third of seats in the Senate. Image copyright Shelby Lum/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP Image caption All 50 states and Washington DC voted across six different time zones. Image copyright Larry W Smith / EPA Image caption A voter in Kansas prepared to cast his vote in the state that has been won by the Republicans every year since 1968. Image copyright Charles Mostoller / Reuters Image caption A record number of Americans – more than 46 million – voted early by post or at polling stations. Image copyright Austin Anthony / Daily News via AP Image caption For some the animosity between the two candidates left them feeling far from inspired. Image copyright Mary Altaffer / AP Image caption Before polls closed reporters began to gather at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s election night rally in New York. Image copyright AFP Image caption Across town final touches were put in place at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center for the Democrat rally. Image copyright Bart Maat / EPA Image caption Interest in the election was not confined to the US. In the Netherlands people posed for photographs with portraits of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Image copyright Michael Conroy / AP Image caption Back in the US as early results came in people gathered to show support for their chosen candidate, here at an election night rally in Indianapolis Image copyright Justin Lane / EPA Image caption While Clinton supporters enjoyed the atmosphere, at that stage it was looking good for their candidate. Image copyright Donald Trump Jr/Instagram/PA Image caption Donald Trump Junior posted a picture of Mr Trump and his family and supporters watching the results come in. Image copyright Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images Image caption One of the key states was Florida, where the count was very tight but was eventually won by Mr Trump. Image copyright Julio Cortez / AP Image caption Outside the Rockefeller Center in New York people stopped to look at news reports on a screen… Image copyright Saul Martinez / Reuters Image caption While in the Brooklyn Borough of the city supporters of Hillary Clinton gathered to await results. Image copyright Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images Image caption Over at the Trump rally supporters looked on as early results suggested their candidate was doing better than expected. Image copyright Carlos Barria / Reuters Image caption While at the Clinton rally the mood darkened.

All photographs are copyrighted.

Who’s in and Who’s Out: 2016 Presidential Candidates

Sanders fact sheet Republicans Jeb Bush: Bush is the first brother of a former president to seek the office himself since Sen. Edward M. Kennedy challenged President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980. The former governor of Florida has also worked in the financial sector, including as a banker in Caracas, Venezuela. Bush fact sheet Ben Carson: The Detroit native, who has served as a Fox News commentator, gained prominence as a pediatric neurosurgeon, and was the first surgeon to successfully separate a pair of twins joined at the head. Carson fact sheet

Chris Christie: The Garden State governor is famous for his in-your-face style and his epic battles with teachers’ unions in New Jersey made him a conservative hero. He was critical of members of the House for delaying recovery funds for his state in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Christie fact sheet

Ted Cruz: As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Cruz won an award for speaker of the year as a member of the debate team. Before serving in the Senate, he was the first-ever Hispanic clerk for the chief justice of the United States. Cruz fact sheet Carly Fiorina: When Fiorina was chosen to lead Hewlett-Packard in 1999, she became the first woman to be hired to run a Fortune 50 company. Her dismissal in 2005 made her the first woman to be fired from such a job. Fiorina fact sheet Jim Gilmore: The former Virginia governor served for a year as head of the Republican National Committee but left in 2002 after the GOP lost governors’ elections in New Jersey and Virginia and reportedly after tensions with Republican strategist Karl Rove. Gilmore fact sheet Lindsey Graham: The South Carolina senator is the son of a tavern owner and an outspoken hawk. On his status as a bachelor, Graham suggested that as president he would institute “a rotating first lady.” Graham fact sheet Mike Huckabee: While serving as governor of Arkansas, Huckabee played bass in a classic rock cover band with staff members called “Capitol Offense.” After being warned he might die from diabetes, he lost 100 pounds and wrote a book called “Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork.” Huckabee fact sheet

Bobby Jindal: A former Rhodes scholar, Jindal got off to an early start in government, running Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals at age 24. The Louisiana governor urged fellow Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” in the wake of self-inflicted wounds during the 2012 election cycle. Jindal fact sheet

John R. Kasich: The second-term governor of Ohio and and former congressman of 18 years also worked at Lehman Brothers investment bank. Kasich’s record includes voting against a ban on assault weapons as a member of the House in 1994, and signing tax cuts and a Medicaid expansion as governor. Kasich fact sheet George Pataki: Pataki has said he sees himself as following in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt in “enhancing the outdoors,” and environmentalists have praised his record as governor of New York, including the preservation of nearly a million acres of open space. Pataki fact sheet Rand Paul: As a 13-year-old, Paul attended the 1976 Republican convention with his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, who headed Ronald Reagan’s Texas delegation. The Kentucky senator is also an ophthalmologist with a medical degree from Duke. Paul fact sheet Marco Rubio: When Rubio first ran for city commissioner in West Miami in 1998, Jeb Bush wrote his campaign a $50 check. The son of Cuban exiles was part of the 2013 bipartisan “gang of eight” senators who wrote a sweeping overhaul of immigration law. Rubio fact sheet Rick Santorum: The former senator from Pennsylvania came so close to beating Mitt Romney in the 2012 Iowa caucuses that he was announced as the winner. Santorum joined forces with Clinton and other senators to request federal funds to research how electronic media affect children’s development. Santorum fact sheet Donald Trump: “The Donald” runs a real estate empire that includes numerous office towers and resorts, and his holding company is also part owner of several beauty pageant franchises including Miss Universe. In the political realm, he takes credit for forcing President Barack Obama to release his long-form birth certificate. Trump fact sheet

Who’s Out

Rick Perry suspended his campaign on Sept. 11, 2015: Perry is a former Air Force pilot who was the longest-serving governor in Texas history. After his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 was doomed by a series of gaffes, he told CNBC that he had been “a little arrogant.” Perry fact sheet Scott Walker suspended his campaign on Sept. 21, 2015: The Wisconsin governor has won every election he has run in since his 1993 campaign for state assembly, including a recall election in his first term as governor in 2012. The son of a minister and a part-time secretary, Walker’s anti-union politics have made him a conservative hero. Walker fact sheet Jim Webb suspended his campaign on Oct. 20, 2015: The Naval Academy grad is a Vietnam War vet who served in the Senate and as an assistant secretary of defense, and was secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. He won an Emmy for covering the Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, for PBS and has written 10 books. Webb fact sheet — Compiled by the CQ staff


Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

The Most ‘Unprecedented’ Election Ever? 65 Ways It Has Been

Hillary Clinton, heartened by her supporters’ reception, after voting on the June 7th, the night it became clear she would be the first woman nominee of a major-party ticket. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, heartened by her supporters’ reception, after voting on the June 7th, the night it became clear she would be the first woman nominee of a major-party ticket.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Every presidential election manages to feel new somehow. Even amid the wall-to-wall cable coverage and poll frenzies and day-before-the-election, man-on-the-street interviews with still-undecided voters and shock (shock!) when a candidate flip-flops, every four years, there’s a sense that this time — this time — is different. (Remember that whole recount thing?)

And then there’s 2016.

So much of this election feels so entirely off the map — “unprecedented,” as it is called in one story after another. So we wondered just how unprecedented it is. A few Nexis searches later, the answer is: very.

Trump fields a question during the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News. That debate pulled in 24 million viewers, the largest ever for a presidential primary debate. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Scott Olson/Getty Images

Trump fields a question during the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News. That debate pulled in 24 million viewers, the largest ever for a presidential primary debate.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

We’ve assembled a rundown of ways in which 2016 presidential election could be called “unprecedented.” You can pull a few lessons from the following list — maybe simply that we journalists could occasionally use a thesaurus. But it’s also a story of how Trump blew up the whole election season. Back in 2014, the potential for yet another Bush to enter the White House seemed like big news. That seems quaint at this point.

In addition, the list is an entertaining (if abridged) history of the most memorable bits of Campaign 2016, as well as a reminder that this election cycle just might deserve its own, surreal chapter in our kids’ American History textbooks.


1. Clinton’s early, organized support — “Each group’s early efforts are unprecedented — especially considering Clinton has yet to announce her presidential intentions — causing some senior Democrats to worry that focusing on 2016 is taking Democrats’ focus off the 2014 midterms with the balance of power in the Senate at stake.” — Feb. 26, 2014, CNN, “Groups Unite to Back Hillary Clinton”

2. Iowa GOP pledges to remain neutral — “The move is ‘unprecedented and is intended to send a clear signal to potential presidential candidates: All are welcome in Iowa, and the caucus process will be a fair and impartial one,'” a news release said Wednesday. — Dec. 3, 2014, Des Moines Register.

3. A potentially growing Bush dynasty — “Former governor Jeb Bush of Florida announced Tuesday that he is exploring a run for president, a move that could dramatically reshape the Republican primary and put his family in line for an unprecedented third member in the White House.” — Dec. 17, 2014, Boston Globe.


4. Clinton’s early endorsement primary lead — “Hillary Clinton had a commanding lead in endorsements even before launching her campaign — to an extent that’s unprecedented for a non-incumbent Democrat.” — FiveThirtyEight

5. Clinton’s experience — “She boasts an unprecedented resume — former first lady, New York senator, secretary of State — and enjoys universal name recognition after more than two decades of near-constant presence on the national stage.” — April 11, 2015, Los Angeles Times

6. The massive GOP field — “‘This event is unprecedented,’ said Steve Duprey, a Republican national committeeman from New Hampshire. ‘There are so many presidential candidates because this time it is an open seat, and there is no heir apparent.'” — April 18, 2015, Boston Globe (Many outlets were careful to stress it was the biggest field in the “modern” political era.)

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, raked in more money at an earlier point than any Republican candidate. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

toggle caption Andrew Harnik/AP

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, raked in more money at an earlier point than any Republican candidate.

Andrew Harnik/AP

7. Bush’s incredible fundraising — “Jeb Bush’s team announced that he had raised $114 million – an extraordinary and unprecedented haul this early in a presidential campaign and one more signal of a candidate who is building for the long haul.” — July 12, 2015, Washington Post

8. The dominance of outside spending — “The 2016 elections are now poised to mark a tipping point: the first time outside groups outstrip the clout and resources of many campaigns. ‘It’s pretty clear that the superPACs are playing an unprecedented role,’ said Michael Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, which tracks political contributions.” — July 16, 2015, Washington Post

9. Clinton’s early Latino outreach — “Clinton’s massive Latino outreach machine is unprecedented for this stage in a primary campaign. Most Latinos don’t even know the name of Clinton’s closest challenger for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according a new Univision poll.” — July 19, 2015, Los Angeles Times

10. The tiny but powerful community of political donors — “Fewer than 400 families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign, a concentration of political donors that is unprecedented in the modern era.” — Aug. 1, 2015, New York Times

11. Fox News debate viewership — “Trump has been a huge benefit to Republicans in some ways, bringing an unprecedented amount of attention to the first presidential primary debate last week. Some 24 million Americans tuned in to watch, more than most big-time sporting events, demonstrating a clear curiosity about Trump’s campaign but also giving the other candidates an opportunity to showcase their own views.” — Aug. 9, 2015, Boston Globe

12. A social-media-heavy election — “Early campaigning on social media has never been so intense, with candidates turning to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to engage supporters who are getting unprecedented access to White House hopefuls. ‘Now, candidates have a presence on a whole breadth of platforms with custom content to target that audience, and they are producing unprecedented levels of content — the sheer volume is impressive,’ said Marie Ewald Danzig, head of creative and delivery at Blue State Digital.” — Sept. 13, 2015, AdWeek

13. Hispanic conservatives meet to talk about what to do about Trump — “Months since Donald Trump sparked outrage with his comments about Mexican immigrants, about two dozen of the nation’s top Hispanic conservative activists are joining forces to respond and issue a warning to the Republican Party. The activists plan to meet on Oct. 27 in Boulder, Colo., the day before GOP presidential candidates meet in the same city for a debate hosted by CNBC. Plans for the ‘unprecedented gathering’ have been in the works for several weeks….” – Oct. 22, 2015, Washington Post

14. Trump’s call for a Muslim ban — “A prohibition of Muslims — an unprecedented proposal by a leading American presidential candidate, and an idea more typically associated with hate groups — reflects a progression of mistrust that is rooted in ideology as much as politics.” — Dec. 10, 2015, New York Times (However, as the Times also pointed out: “While Muslims have not been the targets of such policies in the United States, the sentiment of keeping certain kinds of people out of the country is not unprecedented in American history.”)

15. Polling mania — “Polling of Republicans in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina has reached unprecedented levels, fueled by the number of candidates in the hunt and an obsession with the horse race rather than a meaningful debate over policy, a new Boston Globe study says.” — Dec. 31, 2015, New York Times

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.t, right, speaks as Hillary Clinton looks on during an April Democratic debate in New York. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption

toggle caption Seth Wenig/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.t, right, speaks as Hillary Clinton looks on during an April Democratic debate in New York.

Seth Wenig/AP


16. Planned Parenthood’s early Clinton endorsement — “Planned Parenthood will make unprecedented primary endorsement of Hillary Clinton. … The endorsement marks the first time in the organization’s 100-year history that Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed a candidate in a primary.” — Jan. 7, 2016, Washington Post

17. The splintered GOP — “Dirksen Congressional Leadership Research Center Archivist Frank Mackaman, a lifelong student of government, says the presidential race America is witnessing right now is ‘virtually unprecedented.’ ‘I suppose you would have to go back to the Bull Moose (Progressive) Party, Teddy Roosevelt’s splinter from the Republican Party in the early 20th Century, to get something that resembles what we’re going through now — especially on the Republican side.'” — Jan. 25, 2016, Pekin Daily Times

18. Trump refusing to debate unless Fox host is removed — “Trump, of course, decided to pull out after the network refused to capitulate to his unprecedented demand that Megyn Kelly be removed as moderator.” – Jan. 27, 2016, Vanity Fair

19. Latino outreach in Iowa — “Advocacy groups have launched unprecedented voter registration efforts aimed at the state’s small but rapidly growing Latino population.” — Jan. 27, 2016, Los Angeles Times

20. The lack of GOP party leadership support for a potential nominee: “t’s astonishing that the real estate developer and reality TV star could be so far ahead in the polls this close to voting, yet still so far behind presidential rivals like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the congressional endorsement competition. ‘The gap between Trump’s standing and at least his elite support is unprecedented,’ University of Maryland Professor David Karol told HuffPost on Tuesday. Karol is a co-author of The Party Decides, which in part studies the power of endorsements before and after the party electing reforms of the 1970s.” — Jan. 27, 2016, Huffington Post

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in New York in May, weeks before Trump would appear on her show. That appearance was something of a detente after Trump had demanded she be removed from moderating a debate. Victoria Will/Victoria Will/Invision/AP hide caption

toggle caption Victoria Will/Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in New York in May, weeks before Trump would appear on her show. That appearance was something of a detente after Trump had demanded she be removed from moderating a debate.

Victoria Will/Victoria Will/Invision/AP

21. Religious Republicans’ embrace of Trump — “Sixty-one percent of GOP and GOP-leaning voters who say it’s important to have a president who shares their religious beliefs say that Trump would be a good or great president, compared with 46 percent of GOP voters who say the religiosity of the president isn’t as important. The share of Republican voters who think that Trump would be a good president is the same among churchgoing and less-churchgoing Republicans. The findings about Trump are unprecedented, say Pew pollsters and other experts.” — Jan. 28, 2016, Washington Post

22. Trump’s reenactment of Ben Carson’s youth stabbing story — “Mr. Carson’s bootstrapping story and brief lead in the Iowa polls last year produced a squabble almost certainly unprecedented in modern politics: Mr. Trump insisting, through public re-enactment, that Mr. Carson could not possibly have stabbed a peer in his youth. Mr. Carson was guilty, his rival insisted, of being innocent.” — Feb. 2, 2016, New York Times

23. Youth engagement — “A new survey that captures the attitudes of 2015 college freshmen shows unprecedented levels of interest in both political engagement and student activism, underscoring the youth vote’s potential to reshape the electoral landscape.” — Feb. 11, 2016, FiveThirtyEight

24. Donald Trump vs. the Pope — “When two of the most visible figures on the international stage, Pope Francis and Donald Trump, exchanged sharp words over immigration Thursday, an extraordinary election year took another dramatic twist. The long-distance volley, impelled, like so much of the campaign, by Trump’s language on Mexican immigration, created a moment that actually merited the overused label ‘unprecedented.'” — Feb. 18, 2016, Los Angeles Times

25. GOP turnout in many Super Tuesday states — “Republicans voted in unprecedented numbers on Super Tuesday, setting record numbers in contests throughout different regions of the country.” — March 2, 2016, CNN

26. Romney’s attacks against Trump — “Romney’s remarks are unprecedented in the way he — the party’s most recent presidential nominee — attacks the man who seems on track to secure this year’s GOP nomination.” — NPR, March 3, 2016

27. Republicans’ unease with Democrats — “Such uneasiness motivated two longtime Clinton confidants, pollster Stan Greenberg and strategist James Carville, to take a deep dive into the zeitgeist fueling Trump’s rise. They released poll findings last week that suggested the Republican electorate has unprecedented anger with the Democratic Party, with nearly 90 percent feeling its policies are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.” — March 2, 2016, Los Angeles Times

28. The debate discussion of Trump’s manhood — “Trump’s remarks, likely unprecedented in a US presidential debate, appeared as the nadir of a campaign season already notable for its unruly, coarse tone.” — March 4, 2016, AFP (It may be new in debates, but as Joseph Cummins wrote at Politico earlier this year, sexual innuendo has long been a part of presidential campaigns.)

29. John Oliver’s anti-Trump rant — “Front-runner Donald Trump was recently the target of a harsh, unprecedented 22-minute monologue by HBO’s John Oliver, who uncovered Trump’s ancestral name and urged viewers to ‘Make Donald Drumpf Again’.” — March 8, 2016, Washington Post

30. Trump’s potential conflicts of interest — “‘This is certainly going to present an unprecedented ethical dilemma if Trump wins,’ said Kenneth Gross, a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, who provided legal assistance to several presidential candidates during their campaigns. ‘He can’t just get amnesia. He’s stuck with the knowledge of what he owns.'” — March 16, 2016, CNN Wires

31. Trump’s access to the airwaves — “Two network sources also confirmed the unprecedented control the television networks have surrendered to Trump in a series of private negotiations, allowing him to dictate specific details about placement of cameras at his event, to ensure coverage consists primarily of a single shot of his face.” — March 18, 2016, Buzzfeed

32. AIPAC’s reaction to Trump’s speech — “AIPAC’s Apology For Trump Speech Is Unprecedented’ — March 22, 2016, Washington Post

33. Voter registration in New York — “More than 20,000 first-time voters have registered with New York state in what state officials are calling an ‘unprecedented surge’ of voter interest ahead of the state’s April 19 presidential primary.” — March 22, 2016, AP

34. Utah voter turnout — “Utah residents are turning out in unprecedented numbers at presidential caucuses, creating major delays for voters and even leading some sites to run out of ballots.” — March 22, 2016, AP

35. Rubio’s decision to hold onto his delegates — “Marco Rubio’s Unprecedented Plan To Stop Donald Trump: Keep His Delegates” — March 30, 2016, USA Today

36. The potential fallout from Trump’s border wall — “Donald Trump says he would force Mexico to pay for a border wall as president by threatening to cut off the flow of billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home to the country, an idea that could decimate the Mexican economy and set up an unprecedented showdown between the United States and a key regional ally.” — April 5, 2016, Washington Post

37. Anti-Trump advertising — “‘What is unusual and unprecedented is the array of advertisers who are out there flogging Trump on the air,’ said Elizabeth Wilner, a senior vice president at Kantar Media/CMAG.” — April 12, 2016, New York Times

38. Outreach to Asian-American voters — “‘It’s going to be close, and I think the candidates know that. That’s why they have this sort of unprecedented outreach to communities like the Asian-American community,’ said Vattamala . — April 18, 2016, NPR

39. Two super-unpopular candidates — “‘This is unprecedented,’ said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. ‘It will be the first time in the history of polling that we’ll have both major party candidates disliked by a majority of the American people going into the election.'” — April 19, 2016, Washington Post

40. The Kasich-Cruz pact — “The Texas senator and Ohio governor announced an unprecedented deal in which Kasich will not contest Indiana while Cruz will steer clear of Oregon and New Mexico to maximize chances to beating Trump in each state and denying him the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination that he seems sure to lose if he can’t claim it on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July.” — April 24, 2016, Washington Examiner

41. Cruz picks Fiorina as his running mate — “He acknowledged his decision to name a running mate now was an unorthodox and unprecedented move, but that ‘all of us can acknowledge that this race, if anything, is unusual.'” — April 27, 2016, NPR

42. Clinton fundraising vehicle — “In the days before Hillary Clinton launched an unprecedented big-money fundraising vehicle with state parties last summer, she vowed ‘to rebuild our party from the ground up,’ proclaiming ‘when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.’ But less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties’ coffers….” — May 2, 2016, Politico

43. Trump’s potential effect on down-ballot races — “‘We can say it makes it harder for Republicans, but we can also say that this kind of election is unprecedented,’ Ms. Duffy said. ‘Nothing that we have known about politics has been true this cycle.'” — May 5, 2016, Wall Street Journal

44. GOP elites turning on Trump — “Since a landslide victory in Indiana made him the presumptive Republican nominee, Mr. Trump has faced a shunning from party leaders that is unprecedented in modern politics.” — May 7, 2016, New York Times

45. Clinton’s interest in UFOs — “‘Hillary has embraced this issue with an absolutely unprecedented level of interest in American politics,’ said Joseph G. Buchman, who has spent decades calling for government transparency about extraterrestrials.” — May 11, 2016, New York Times

46. Trump’s refusal to release tax returns — “If Trump doesn’t release any returns before the Nov. 8 election, there’d be ‘an unprecedented level of secrecy surrounding his personal finances,’ said tax historian Joseph Thorndike, the director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, a trade publication.” — Bloomberg, May 11, 2016

47. Sanders’ role in the Democratic platform — “Sen. Bernie Sanders was given unprecedented say over the Democratic Party platform Monday in a move party leaders hope will soothe a bitter split with backers of the long-shot challenger to Hillary Clinton — and Sanders immediately used his new power to name a well-known advocate for Palestinian rights to help draft Democratic policy.” — May 24, 2016, Washington Post

48. Clinton’s email usage — “Yes, previous secretaries of state have used personal email addresses while in office — Colin Powell most notably and extensively. But, and this is really important, Clinton is the first secretary of state to ever use a private email address exclusively to conduct her business. Period. That was and is unprecedented.” — May 26, 2016, Washington Post

49. The Sanders-Trump debate that never happened — “Either this is an elaborate Jimmy Kimmel Live! prank or Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have agreed in principle to a debate that would be unprecedented in the modern era.” — May 26, 2016, Vanity Fair

50. Attention on the Libertarian Convention — “The deep unpopularity of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has led to an unprecedented level of excitement at the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominating convention in Orlando this year.” — May 27, 2016, AP

51. NRDC’s early Clinton endorsement — “A major environmental group, the NRDC Action Fund, will endorse Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in its first-ever political endorsement in a presidential election. In a statement, the NRDC Action Fund, a political affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that the unprecedented endorsement is reflective of the need for left-leaning groups to unite against Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee.” — May 31, 2016, Washington Post

52. Trump’s massive list of lawsuits — “Exclusive: Trump’s 3,500 lawsuits unprecedented for a presidential nominee” — June 2, 2016, USA Today

53. Buzzfeed blocking Trump ads — “Buzzfeed’s unprecedented Donald Trump ad ban baffles the news biz. … BuzzFeed’s move appears to be without precedent in modern politics. ‘I don’t recall any recent political party or campaign being denied media ad buys, especially from one representing a major U.S. party,’ said Jeff Fleming, editor in chief of Editor & Publisher magazine.” — June 7, 2016, Washington Post

54. Clinton as the first woman to be a presumptive major-party nominee — “According to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment, but we still have work to do, don’t we?” a beaming Clinton told supporters at a boisterous rally in a basketball gym at Long Beach City College. — June 6, 2016, New York Times

55. Ryan calling out Trump’s remarks about Judge Curiel— “Ryan, who endorsed Trump only last week, called the businessman’s remarks a ‘textbook definition of a racist comment.’ It was a striking and unprecedented rebuke — the country’s top Republican leader accusing its presidential nominee of racism.” — June 8, 2016, Los Angeles Times

56. The GOP’s circumstances, with a novice presidential candidate — “Edward F. Cox, the chairman of the New York Republican Party, said the party was grappling with unprecedented circumstances, brought about by the elevation of an untrained outsider unlike any presidential nominee in memory.” — June 9, 2016, New York Times

In answer to a reporter’s question last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Donald Trump’s comments about an American-born judge of Mexican heritage are the “textbook definition of a racist comment.” J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

In answer to a reporter’s question last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Donald Trump’s comments about an American-born judge of Mexican heritage are the “textbook definition of a racist comment.”

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

57. Going after the media — “Donald Trump’s campaign revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials on Monday, the latest salvo in an unprecedented assault on the media this election cycle.” — June 13, 2016, Huffington Post

58. Record level of female donors — “Hillary Clinton Just Achieved Another Big First. Her campaign is fueled by unprecedented support from female donors.” — June 13, 2016, Mother Jones

59. The election-year refusal to confirm Garland — “How unusual is the Republican blockade of the nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court? After a comprehensive look at every past Supreme Court vacancy, two law professors have concluded that it is an unprecedented development.” — June 14, 2016, New York Times

60. Trump’s free media attention — “By the end of the invisible primary, he was high enough in the polls to get the coverage expected of a frontrunner. But he was lifted to that height by an unprecedented amount of free media.” — June 14, 2016, Washington Post

61. A major-party candidate who has also been a first spouse — “Clinton has two decades of an unprecedented sort of experience: marriage to and partnership with a chief executive. Does this count? Should it?” — June 14, 2016, Washington Post (Plus, there’s the unprecedented fact that there’s never been a former president who is the spouse of a major-party nominee.)

62. The prospect of renegotiating U.S. debt — “Trump prompted a small backlash last month when he suggested that he would try to negotiate down the cost of the national debt with the country’s creditors. The comments were widely interpreted as Trump seeking to use the possibility of debt default as leverage, which economists warned would represent an unprecedented threat to investor confidence and could affect interest rates.” — June 22, 2016, Washington Post

63. Forbes’ efforts to value Trump’s net worth — “Forbes, which said it devoted ‘unprecedented resources to valuing a single fortune,’ disagreed. The magazine put the value of Trump Tower at $630 million and its owner’s net worth at $4.5 billion — less than half of what Trump claims. — June 23, 2016, Washington Post

64. Trump’s promotion of his businesses on the campaign trail — “Trevor Potter, the election-law lawyer who advised Republican Sen. John McCain on his 2008 presidential bid, called Trump’s efforts ‘to use the campaign to promote his personal businesses’ unprecedented.” — June 24, 2016, Washington Post

65. Trump sending fundraising emails to foreigners — “The solicitations prompted watchdog groups in Washington to file two separate complaints Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the Trump campaign was violating federal law by soliciting funds from foreign nationals. ‘The scale and scope of this does seem somewhat unprecedented,’ said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, which joined Democracy 21 in one of the complaints.” — June 29, 2016, Washington Post

If this sounds like the sort of hobby unlikely to make him a sought-after guest at parties, the young Cruz would have agreed. As he was formulating a political outlook that has barely wavered since – enabling his current self-branding as a consistent, bold conservative – he was also hatching a plan to develop a likable personality.

“Midway through junior high school, I decided that I’d had enough of being the unpopular nerd,” he wrote in his book. “I remember sitting up one night asking a friend why I wasn’t one of the popular kids. I ended up staying up most of that night thinking about it. ‘Okay, well, what is it that the popular kids do? I will consciously emulate that.’”

He embraced sports and replaced his glasses with contact lenses. His braces came off and he saw a dermatologist who improved his acne. According to this book, he was suspended from high school for several days for going to a party, drinking and smoking pot.

On other occasions, he wrote, he was beaten up by drunk older kids at 2am, and reprimanded by the principal for a prank that involved covering a rival school’s building in toilet paper and shaving cream, then fleeing in a 1978 Ford Fairmont with Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries blaring out of the car stereo.

Cruz had become popular and respected when, seeking more academic stimulation than he had found at his previous school, he transferred midway through his junior year of high school to Second Baptist, a small private establishment on the campus of a megachurch in one of Houston’s greenest and most desirable areas. Today, Cruz’s family home and campaign headquarters are only a couple of miles away.

Former students and teachers contacted by the Guardian said that Cruz was a brilliant student whose political plans were already crystallizing. “He was very intelligent, a valedictorian the year he graduated. He knew early on he wanted to be in politics and government,” said Gary Moore, a Second Baptist pastor. A classmate, Laurie Rankin Carl, said: “He fit right in … he was head of our class.”

A booklet from the Free Enterprise Education Center, behind the Constitutional Corroborators. Photograph: Free Enterprise Education Center/Courtesy of Laura Calaway

Cruz was heavily involved in extracurricular activities, including the drama club, the public speaking team and sundry school publications. He played American football, soccer and basketball. He was twice class president and vice-president of the student body. “He was very well liked by the teachers and his classmates and was generally considered a prodigy,” said John Fuex, who was a year below Cruz.

“Second Baptist had a culture where being an academic was about on par with being a star athlete. That school was chock full of children of high achievers who already knew they wanted to follow the same path and how important education was to that goal.”

Cruz’s English teacher and guidance counsellor, Elsa Jean Looser, now 76, said he was a “dream student” interested in literature, history and government. “We all knew he had political ambitions simply because of the direction he was taking. He wanted to do well in all his classes, which he did; he wanted to go to fine schools; he wanted to build a good resumé.

“He was a tremendous debater. His whole life was just being directed that way. There was no question he was aspiring to be a lawyer and then move into the political arena,” she said. “He gets bad press, which is so sad because he’s just doing what he said he would do.”

Another school friend, Zachary Emmanouil, even credited Cruz with saving his life after a vacation incident in Cancun, Mexico, where the Cruz family had a timeshare. Emmanouil recalled by email that he became strangely dizzy after drinking a rum and Coke at a bar and suspects his drink was spiked by thieves who wanted to steal his gold jewellery.

“I had made it to the condo property, but I became so dizzy that I was lying right next to the pool, chest down, with one arm in the water. I could have easily moved to the side and fallen and drowned in the pool. Ted was shorter and thinner than me, but he ran over to me, lifted me, and placed me in one of those reclining chairs next to the pool,” he said.

“I remember hearing Ted scooping water with his hands from the pool and splashing it on to my face. I also remember Ted repeatedly wanting to call a doctor, but I kept telling him, ‘No, no, I’m better now.’ Ted told me something like, ‘OK, Zachary, but I’m not leaving your side until you’re absolutely sure that you’re okay.’ Ted never left my side – Ted stayed with me outside in the pool area until the sun came up and I started feeling much better. You could say that Ted saved my life.”

As a fellow Constitutional Corroborator, Laura Calaway spent a week during spring break travelling around Texas in a van with Cruz in 1988. “In hindsight it was all very exciting and I felt important to be a part of this educational group,” she said.

Ted Cruz, right: ‘He was a tremendous debater.’ Photograph: Free Enterprise Education Center/Courtesy of Laura Calaway

Still, he did not make a good first impression on her. As a high school senior from the blue-collar Houston suburb of Deer Park, she felt that Cruz – a veteran Corroborator whose reputation as a formidable debater preceded him – was aloof.

“When we are introduced, it is the first time I feel as if someone has sized me up, found me wanting and moved on … all before I finish ‘hello’. It is not a good feeling. I don’t think I’m going to like Ted,” she wrote in an article on Medium last month.

“I remember that vividly,” she said at a coffee shop in Houston on Tuesday. “An 18-year-old girl in a suburban, small-ish town – I’d never been so quickly summed up like that before.”

Calaway has few other memories of Cruz, but recalled that he found it hard to bond with the others during the road trip. The suggestion echoes critics’ claims that Cruz, for all his eloquence and Texan swagger, can seem stilted in public, too calculating to connect emotionally with his audience.

“I think this is a lifetime struggle of his; he couldn’t relate to us as a group of teenagers. He really struggled in trying to be part of a group dynamic, and the jokes,” she said.

Her politics have since skewed to the left, and the personalised licence plate on her SUV reads – using the six letters typical to Texas – “HILARY” in tribute to Hillary Clinton. Seeing Trump and Cruz sparring for the Republican presidential nomination is “vastly entertaining in a heartbreaking kind of way”, she said. “It’s like Stephen Colbert said: ‘Do you want to die by poisoning or firing squad?’”

Cruz was not universally admired at university, either. Craig Mazin, the Hollywood screenwriter of The Hangover Part II and Part III, spent much of the 24 hours after Cruz’s Iowa triumph issuing Twitter jabs at the man who was his freshman roommate at Princeton.

Craig Mazin (@clmazin)

Personally, I’m kinda thrilled. More Cruz! If I suffered for 10 months with this abomination, why should you people get off any easier?

February 2, 2016

“I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone,” Mazin told the Daily Beast in 2013. “I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.”

Jimmy Kimmel Got His Hands on Basketball Rival Ted Cruz’s Yearbook Photo

Jimmy Kimmel has found a little ammunition to use as he warms up for his basketball game against Texas Senator Ted Cruz—a yearbook photo.

The throwdown between the late night host and the sitting U.S. senator started in May, when Kimmel joked that Cruz looked “like a blobfish” in a photo he tweeted of himself courtside at Game 7 between the Golden State Warriors and Cruz’s team, the Houston Rockets. Cruz tweeted that he felt “besmirched” by the comment and decided to challenge Kimmel to a one-on-one basketball competition with the loser making a donation to a charity of the winner’s choice.

“Once the NBA season is over, our lonely nation turns its eyes to a one-on-one basketball game between me and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas,” Kimmel said on Monday night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. With the competition tentatively slated for Father’s Day weekend, which is quickly approaching, Kimmel has started to practice not only his hook shot, but in the long-standing basketball tradition, he has also been honing his trash talking. Not only did he revisit his blobfish comparison, he then shared Cruz’s high school yearbook photo with the world.

Kimmel knows he needs to practice his one-on-one skills, because Cruz’s yearbook reveals that he played varsity basketball in high school. Kimmel, on the other hand, played clarinet. Still, Kimmel is confident: “I can picture no scenario in which I lose this game to that greasy blobfish.”

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Horrifying yearbook photo depicts a young Ted Cruz as biblical mime

Houston, Texas. 1987. In the beginning, there was Ted Cruz. He was in high school, and he was a mime.

Cruz stood shoeless on stage, his tortured face caked with white makeup. He was playing the role of Adam in a stage adaptation of the book of Genesis. Behind Cruz stood God, hanging his head. God was also a mime, and He had created a race of mimes in His own image.

Mark Neath/Second Baptist School

Cruz has been described by those who met him in high school as a hard-charging transfer student whose gusto for answering questions in class was “intimidating.”

In his 2015 book, a Time for Truth, Cruz wrote that he’d made a conscious decision to become cool in junior high, and so undertook a study of how to convincingly simulate “cool.”

“I remember sitting up one night asking a friend why I wasn’t one of the popular kids. I ended up staying up most of that night thinking about it. ‘Okay, well, what is it that the popular kids do? I will consciously emulate that,’” he wrote. He swapped his glasses for contacts, got into sports, went to a party, and once even pulled a prank.

It was, by some accounts, not a success.

“I think this is a lifetime struggle of his; he couldn’t relate to us as a group of teenagers. He really struggled in trying to be part of a group dynamic, and the jokes,” Laura Calaway, who knew Cruz from a debate club called the Constitutional Corroborators, told the Guardian.

But even as Cruz strove to assimilate, he remained laser-focused on building a perfect resumé. His extracurricular activities included speech competitions, Constitutional debate, and, yes, drama.

“Cruz loved being on stage, even if it meant being the villain,” NPR has reported, much to the surprise of no one. “In junior high school, he had played Rolfe, the young Nazi in The Sound of Music. He landed the role of the murderer Bill Sikes in Oliver during high school.”

Cruz transferred to Second Baptist High School in his junior year, when this photo was apparently taken. By the time he was a senior, he had taken over the drama club. His yearbook entry notes the aforementioned role in Oliver, plus an unspecified credit for Papa Was a Preacher. It does not mention that he was molded by a deity into the world’s first mime.

“I was in 5th grade and didn’t really know ,” recalled Clint Rosenthal, the tipster who sent the mime photo. “I assume I was in the audience since that appears to have been during Chapel. I guess I suppressed that memory.”

“What I can say,” Rosenthal continued, “is that the biblical version of the creation of man (and ladies from Adam’s rib, etc.)—the subject of Cruz’s interpretive mime performance—was taught pretty literally there, so I’m betting a lot of folks in the audience were thinking he nailed it. Hell, it made the yearbook.”

“M. Neath,” the person who took the photo, would surely know more. I found a smattering of search results for a Mark Neath, about Cruz’s age, and contacted him via email.

“I was a classmate of Ted’s at Second Baptist School and a photographer on the yearbook staff, so I evidently did take the photo,” Neath wrote back. “I cannot confirm that it is Ted, but it certainly looks like him. The photo captions were pretty well-researched, and it was a very small school, so it would be surprising if it is wrong.”

Sadly, Neath didn’t remember anything more about the mime show. But, like other Second Baptist schoolmates who have spoken publicly about Cruz, he’d marked the future senator’s aspirations and swaggering self-regard.

“I do distinctly remember him boasting that he would become president one day,” Neath wrote. “That’s my greatest memory of him, in fact, since that was a pretty unusual life ambition for a high school student.”

We are by now familiar with the story of Adam, who would go on to the Ivy League and to the Senate, never relaxing his grip on his teenage goal: to ascend to the highest office in the land and have dominion over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

In a 1988 video posted anonymously on YouTube, Cruz jokes—but is he really joking?—that his ambition is to “take over the world. World domination. Yeah, rule everything. Rich, powerful, that sort of stuff.”

But what of God, standing there on stage behind Cruz? All attempts to contact Cruz’s co-star, Travis McWilliams, led to dead ends. Listed phone numbers belonged to someone new, or were disconnected—and he doesn’t appear to have an email address.

God could not be reached for comment.

But McWilliams, class of ’88, did attend Second Baptist homecoming in 2011, according to the school’s alumni magazine, The Eagle.

So did Doug Daniels, who graduated a year behind Cruz. Earlier this year, Daniels told NPR, “I don’t think you’ll find a single person who knew in high school who is at all surprised where he is now.”

Whatever his faults as a human teenager, we can say this for young Ted Cruz: His classmates never doubted he would find himself running to become the first mime president.

Additional research by Aaron Sankin

Photo via Second Baptist High School