(CNN) – The newfound attention to Sen. Ted Cruz's citizenship is merely evidence of the "silly season in politics," the Texas Republican said Tuesday.
Speaking to CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Cruz said he didn't mind answering the questions about where he was born and where he's a citizen. However, he said, the question of whether he's eligible to be president is better left to legal experts.
"If you don't have anything to hide, there's no big deal," said Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. His full sit-down interview will air Sunday's "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. ET and 12 p.m. ET on CNN.
"My mother was a U.S. citizen by birth - born in Wilmington, Delaware. So under U.S. law, I'm an American citizen," he continued, explaining that he moved to Texas when he was age 4, and lived in Houston for most of his childhood.
"It's always been my home," he said. "And when I was a kid, my mom always told me that if I wanted to, I could affirmatively choose to claim Canadian citizenship. But I got a U.S. passport when I was in high school, I never did anything to claim citizenship, and I thought that was the end of the matter."
But that wasn't the end. After a report this weekend in The Dallas Morning News, which cited legal experts saying Cruz's birthplace makes him a dual U.S.-Canada citizen, the senator declared he was ending any Canadian citizenship he may hold – though the actual process of renouncing Canadian citizenship involves a four-page application and a $100 fee.
In the interview Tuesday, Cruz explained his reasoning.
"Serving as a U.S. senator – I was an American by birth, and serving as a U.S. senator, I think it's appropriate I be only an American," he said.
But Cruz's renunciation of his Canadian citizenship has led to more speculation about a potential run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Asked during a news conference Tuesday whether he thought he was eligible, Cruz deferred to other experts.
"The Constitution has its requirements. What I've said on this issue – I'll lay out the facts, where I was born and who my parents are, and I'll leave it to others to worry about it," he said. "I'm not going to speculate about legal consequences."
Cruz was in Houston on Tuesday pushing his goal of defunding President Barack Obama's health care law. The event was part of a week-long tour sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation that features Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, as a headliner.
He was interrupted three times by hecklers during his remarks, though each time Cruz allowed the protesters to speak before continuing his anti-Obamacare address. The final heckler was drowned out by chants of "USA" from the crowd.
Cruz, along with fellow Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, has said he'll not support a measure to continue financing the government if it includes funding for Obamacare. The current measure keeping the government funded expires September 30.
Some Republicans contest that tactic won't work, and will instead alienate some Obamacare opponents.
But Cruz, speaking at the news conference Tuesday, argued now was the time Republicans have the most leverage in their bid to get rid of the president's health care law.
"I believe that now is the best time we have to defund Obamacare," he said. "It's clear the wheels are coming off."
He's no patriot.... He never served in the military
He's a member of the NAACP and AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION.......
What? It's silly season when someone questions Cruz who apparently has THREE citizenships to his name (Canadian, American, Cuban) but it wasn't so much silly when Obama was BORN in the USA? Really? Oh wait, I forgot – it's the GOP the facts don't matter for these good ole' boys.
He is a plant by the Cuban Drug Cartel
He wasn't born here. He was born there! So he is an alien! A legal one some may say, yet just another alien all the same.
The way he's running his mouth he's either just your garden variety bumkin that fell off the turnip truck or Sarah Palin in drag. I don't think he'd pass the Canadian IQ test to be affirmed a Canadian – they don't accept imbesiles. Of course he's got health care and doesn't care about anybody else. It's bufoons like him that'll ensure the Republicans won't see the Whitehouse for decades to come.
Why do I distrust this guy ?
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy
Was Cruz saying this "silly season' comment when the moron birthers were questioning President Obama's birth. What hypocrites Conservatives are
You have a president who was born of an American mother and a non-American father on American soil and there has been a huge push to say he is not a natural born citizen, even though he was born in the US. Now you have a potential candidate for president who was born of an American mother and non-American father, not on US soil, and these same people have no problem with his right to be president. This speaks volumes about certain people.
He was a law professor for 5 years; he is a legal expert. And if Barack Obama was born in Canada to an American Mother, does anyone really believe he would have been allowed to run for President? Really?
It's only serious when the object of such talk is black and has a name that sounds like he's not one of "us."
Let me get this straight. He is trying to sell US and the world that he is NOT Canadian even though he was born in Calgary and that the only way to stop Obamacare is to shut down the government and his silliness comes down to his Canadian birth?
Somebody posted that this guy is brilliant. He really isn't but he IS bat poop crazy. The only difference between and a manson is that he looks clean cut.
No Cruz, it's not silly. You were born in another country to an American woman, but still on foreign soil. President Obama was born right here in the US but you and your ilk still call him foreign born. We're supposed to ignore the fact that many in your party are still spreading the lies.
Jobs or Obama Care. Heck old Gunderson no need job. Just Welfare Check and Food stamps, no? Up, up, and away. Federal debt rise jobs disappear. No money for welfare. What old Gunderson do? Watch Rome burn, what you vote for.
ROTFLMAO!!!! This is coming from the Republicans? Seriously?
This guy is as much of an American as the Mexicans that cross our border to work. Americans need to renounce this hypocrite and send him back to his Queen!
Rapheal Cruz is on the run. It's always the silly season when the radical extremist tea potty are involved.
Yes – let's take away health care from those who can least afford it – GREAT IDEA TED!
And I would love to know how many times he questioned the President's citizenship. This guy is nuts, like most Republicans.
Why don't you tell to your Donlald Duck????? You silly guy,.
he is simply one of many whack far right looneys
hey cruise so you are a dream baby, anchor baby or what ever you are. how the hell you want to be president when your own hypocritical party have been bashing Obama for 5 years that he wasn't born in America, what kind of crap is that, and to make things worst you want to defund obamacare that is bringing down healthcare cost. lesson folks you cannot expect a healthcare premium that have been rising for decades by 20 percent and more to be 0 percent over night. hey the rate now is 5 percent this year and will be 3 percent next year and about 4 years from now when obamacare kicks in premiums will be below 0 percent.
With Republicans why is it okay to look at Obama's birthing etc. and consider all of it to be fake, but when it comes to their own questionable birthing and or citizenship it is considered silly season? Cruz you were born Canada and not the USA.
You cannot run for President of the United States.
Questioning your citizenship, birthrights etc?.... Hmmmm Sounds familiar! HJow does it feel?
Conservatives are hypocrits it is silly season when it purtains to them, but when the racist birthers were going after the President, it was Ok, come on America when are you going to wake up.