From exercising his right to bear arms (and using them to cook bacon) to discussing his love of condoms, here are Ted Cruz's most eyebrow-raising stunts

By Diana Pearl
Updated April 14, 2016 04:25 PM
Credit: Matt Rourke/AP

Ted Cruz’s name has been popping up more than ever as he battles front-runner Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.

But let’s face it: Cruz has been capturing our attention for a while, and not just with his politics.

The candidate’s fun-loving, goofy approach to the campaign trail is winning over voters – and making the junior United States Senator from Texas an even bigger name in the political sphere.

Here, the Cruz moves we can’t stop talking about.

1. Riding a roller coaster – in a suit.
On Wednesday, Cruz took to Twitter to share a video of himself riding a roller coaster in his Sunday best. He compared the ride to running a presidential campaign. “Many people have compared the ups & downs of a campaign to a roller coaster,” he tweeted. “Today, we decided to see for ourselves ”

2. Posing shirtless and tattooed with supporters (sort of).
Stopping in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the state’s important March 15 primary, Cruz cozied up to a life-size cutout of himself with (just a few) moderations. Namely, a lot of tattoos. Smiling with a group of young fans, the politician was notably buttoned up compared to his photoshopped compadre.

3. Reading Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor.
Filibustering takes a lot of creativity – you’ve got to come up with hours of talking material. And when he was taking a stand (literally) against Obamacare in 2013 (so yes, before he hit the campaign trail for the White House), Cruz stayed on the Senate floor way later than usual, missing storytime at home with his daughters. So, he decided to read them Green Eggs and Ham from the Senate floor instead. A bedtime story they’ll never forget!

4. When he used a machine gun to make bacon.
Like many of his fellow G.O.P. contenders, Cruz is a stringent supporter of the second amendment – although it seems for him, it may be more about the quality of his breakfast than concerns over self-protection. In the below video, Cruz arrives at a shooting range, wraps the end of his gun in bacon, fires a few shots, and then eats his bacon. Do not try this one at home.

5. His Simpsons audition.
Well, if this whole president thing doesn’t pan out, Cruz may have a future in voiceover acting. During a visit to BuzzFeed, he showed off his Simpsons impressions – and they weren’t half bad! He’s got a number of characters in his repertoire.

6. His Princess Bride imitation.
But Simpsons characters aren’t the only impressions Cruz has up his sleeve. While attending a church service in Des Moines, he took a break from scripture to offer the congregation a glimpse at his passion for The Princess Bride with a full reciting of Wesley’s near-death scene from the film.

7. When he talked about his love of condoms.
Reproductive rights are a hot topic in any election, and even though Cruz is on the pro-life side of the debate, that didn’t stop him from sharing his love of condoms with the crowd. “Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom you put 50 cents in it, voila!” he said. “Heidi and I, we have two little girls. I’m very glad we don’t have 17.”

8. When he seriously used the phrase "Jiminy Cricket".
During that same appearance, Cruz also used the phrase “Jiminy Cricket!” to express his frustration over the Democratic Party while discussing the “war on women.”

9. His Duck Dynasty-inspired campaign ad.
Cruz cinched a key endorsement early in 2016 when Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson starred in a campaign ad for the Texas Senator. “You’re one of us, my man,” Robertson told him as they sat, faces painted, waiting to shoot some ducks. That’s some high praise.

10. When he told a little girl that the world was on fire.
Politics can be scary – especially when Ted Cruz is telling you that the world is on fire. The rest of us might let that comment roll off our backs as hyperbole, but for the little girl the answer was directed to, shaking off the mental image of a globe engulfed in flames might be a little more difficult.

11. When he read his children political-themed Christmas stories.

Kids love Christmas – but the holiday probably gets a lot less lovable when your dad is reading you stories about Obamacare, unemployment and the economy instead of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Mad props to Caroline and Catherine for looking that enthralled during a reading of How Obamacare Stole Christmas.