This past summer, the Cruz campaign quietly uploaded more than a dozen hours of footage to YouTube. Presented in segments ranging anywhere from 24 minutes to more than an hour long, they contain unedited video from ad shoots for presidential campaign videos. What comes across is a bizarro campaign ad, full of awkward pauses, multiple takes, and uncomfortable hugs.
As CNN explains it, the footage exists because campaign regulations prohibit candidates from coordinating directly with their political action committees. That makes it difficult if a PAC wants to, for example, produce a television ad featuring footage of the candidate. The campaign can’t supply it.
In order to provide PACs with footage, candidates will sometimes upload b-roll to public sites like YouTube, allowing the PACs to obtain footage for their own use. Last year, Iowa Democratic representative Bruce Braley uploaded three “ads” that featured nothing but stock footage of himself set to elevator music. Less than a month later, the liberal Senate Majority PAC had produced an ad using the footage.
So that’s why we have 15 hours of mostly boring, occasionally revealing footage of Ted Cruz and his extended family. It’s a lot of campaign sausage being made, but there are some moments of tension. The L.A. Times highlights this exchange between Cruz and his mother, Eleanor Darragh, hesitant to discuss certain aspects of their family life.
“That’s too personal, Ted,“ Darragh. ”I don’t want to tell that.”
“Well, I want to tell that, and you’re the best person to tell that,” Cruz, off-screen, replied.
“There are some very personal details that I don’t want to go into,” Darragh said.
“You don’t have to go into it,” Cruz said.
“Look at me,“ he tells her. ”I know it’s hard, Mom.”
“I’m not used to this at all,” she said.
The footage also includes “details about Cruz’s father’s alcoholism, his stepsister’s drug abuse, and Cruz’s gambling debts.”
It’s also why there’s six minutes of slo-mo b-roll of Cruz and his family sitting on a dock.