TPM Fact Check: No, Ted Cruz Did Not Cook Bacon With A Machine Gun

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No, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Republican presidential candidate and questionable culinary decision-maker, did not cook bacon with a machine gun.

It was an AR-15 rifle, thank you.

Cruz joined the ranks of Republican candidates trying to have a viral moment when he partnered with the conservative website IJReview to film a video showing him cooking bacon on the smoking barrel of a high-powered gun.

The title of the video was “Making Machine-Gun Bacon with Ted Cruz,” and the final moments showed the junior senator peeling a piece of meat off the barrel with plastic fork, putting it in mouth, and humming, “Mmmm, machine-gun bacon.”

But one of the owners of the Boone, Iowa gun range where the scene was filmed told TPM this week that Cruz never laid a finger on a machine gun.

“It’s an AR-15 rifle. It’s a 5.56-caliber,” Central Iowa Impact gun range co-owner Shannon Halsrud told TPM. “It’s a modern sportsman’s gun.”

She said the decision to use the description “machine-gun” was not made by the range. But although journalists and critics of guns often get mocked by firearms enthusiasts for misidentifying weapons, Halsrud said she didn’t have a problem with the description.

“I think they used the name as a generalization,” she said.

A spokesman for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign told TPM on Wednesday the video’s name sounded better.

“AR-15 bacon just doesn’t have the same ring as machine gun bacon,” Rick Tyler said. “We’ve showed you can cook bacon on a machine gun and on an AR-15.”

Halsrud said Cruz’s visit to the gun range was short: He didn’t shoot anything else after firing off four magazines. But the presidential candidate did get to taste that bacon.

Halsrud’s husband Matt, who also co-owns the range, could be heard at the end of the video saying, “Crispy, just the way I like it.”

“It was an overnight call and the next day (it filmed),” she told TPM. “It was spur of the moment.”

The range was thrilled to host the potential next President because of his “strong” position on strengthening the Second Amendment.

“He was a good shot. It was a fun event,” she said.

Cruz didn’t complain about the recoil, she added. This didn’t surprise Tyler.

“AR-15 is just a great gun,” the spokesman said. “It makes everyone feel like you can hit the bullseye.”

Halsrud said she and her husband hope to participate in the Iowa caucus next year, but have not picked a candidate.

“He was a very personable guy. I’m not saying we’re going to vote for him, but we were very impressed that he came … and he really supports the Second Amendment.”

Watch the original video, from IJR, below:

Ed. note: The writer, Caitlin Cruz, is still from Dallas and would still like y’all to know that this is not how Texans cook bacon.

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