Sen. Ted Cruz launched an "emergency" fundraising appeal seeking to raise $1 million in 24 hours in response to a Washington Post online editorial cartoon depicting the Republican's two young daughters as dancing monkeys.
The Republican presidential candidate also criticized the paper for its "tasteless attack" on his children.
"My daughters are not FAIR GAME," he wrote in a fundraising email sent late Tuesday. "I'm sickened ... I knew I'd be facing attacks from day one of my campaign, but I never expected anything like this."
Cruz accused the "liberal media" of attempting to "attack and destroy me (and my family) by any means necessary."
"This is an emergency — all hands on deck," his fundraising letter added. "Click here to make an instant, emergency contribution and help me fight back."
Nine facts you should know about Ted Cruz:
The animation by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Ann Telnaes sparked immediate controversy and was later taken down by the Post.
The cartoon — which portrayed Cruz in a Santa outfit with an organ-grinder and daughters Catherine, 4, and Caroline, 7, as monkeys — was replaced by a note from editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, explaining that it had generally been the newspaper's policy "to leave children out of it."
Hiatt said: "I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published. I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree."
Telnaes was herself unapologetic, posting a link on Twitter to a parody campaign ad released by Cruz's campaign which showed him reading Christmas stories to his daughters with titles such as "How Obamacare Stole Christmas" and "Rudolph the Underemployed Reindeer." That ad aired during the most recent episode "Saturday Night Live."
Cruz received support from his Republican rival Marco Rubio, who called the cartoon "disgusting."
Cruz is on the final day of an eight-state, 12-city "Christmas Tour." A new national Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday put the Canadian-born Texas senator at 24 percent in the race for the GOP nomination — behind Donald Trump at 28 percent.
Last weekend, Cruz's wife, Heidi, and the couple' daughters joined him for a weekend trip through the South. While their father shook hands, his two daughters stood on stage and waved to the crowd.
More from NBC News:
Gene Editing Is Huge Leap Forward in Fight Against Cancer
Streaking Light in Sky Seen From Nevada, California Was Russian Space Debris
Trailblazing Woman, NYC Cop Among U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan Bombing