SESAME STREET, NEW YORK — Just after the fourth televised Republican presidential primary debate, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) found himself on his campaign jet, flying to New York on what he called “an urgent errand of edification.”
Staffers at time of publication confirmed that the conservative Cruz was headed to a place that might raise some eyebrows among his Republican contenders — a public television studio. Cruz had just had a moment in the debate that was reminiscent of when former Texas governor Rick Perry couldn’t come up with the three government agencies he’d shutter on the first day of presidency. This time around though, Cruz had trouble listing five governmental agencies in his cross hairs, and he wound up repeating the Department of Commerce.
“Five major agencies that I would eliminate,” Cruz told the debate audience, “the I.R.S., Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, uh, the Department of Commerce and HUD.” Immediately the social media universe was abuzz, drawing the connection between Cruz and Perry almost instantly. In the digital age, flubs and gaffes spread like wildfire. Cruz would later say as he was stepping off the plane in New York, headed for the Children’s Television Workshop, that he blamed his “Texas schoolin'” because “in Texas, counting past four is for people who are going to be smarty pants people like doctors, lawyers, or gun slingers.”
Arriving at the studio, sources said Cruz scampered to the set of “Sesame Street,” where Oscar the Grouch, Bert, and Ernie were waiting for him. After assuring Cruz his conservative credentials would not be harmed by being seen meeting with a male couple that has lived together without any private female interaction for decades, staffers for the Texas Republican say he was more relaxed and focused on learning.
“I told them that I needed to know how to count to five,” Cruz told reporters back on the jet hours later, “and they were kind enough to help me locate my right hand, and then show me the proper way to count off, one numeral at a time, using a one-to-one ratio of numerals to fingers, and how to push passed number four, onto number five.” Cruz said it was “hard, laborious work” because “as a conservative Republican, the most my math ever has to do is sound right to my base.” Ultimately though, Cruz said he came away from the emergency, ten hour meeting with “renewed vigor and confidence” in his ability to count “a full hand’s worth of numbers.”
Reached for comment, Bert told reporters he thought Cruz was “a nice enough man” but he said “it’s going to take the cleaning crew at least four days to get the trail of hair grease and motor oil he leaves behind him everywhere taken care of.”