Cruz says citizenship talk evidence of 'silly season'
August 20th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Cruz says citizenship talk evidence of 'silly season'

(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."

Filed under: Ted Cruz
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Anthony in California

    Remember when Cruz stood up defended Barak Obama from all the TeaParty/Birther witch hunts and claims that Obama wasnt a legal citizen because he was born in Hawaii to his legal US citizen mother?

    yeah, me neither...

    Sit down Cruz...

    August 21, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. Greenspam

    A Cuban, a Canadian, and an American walked into a bar, and the bartender said, "Hi Ted Cruz".

    August 21, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. scott

    to bad cruz.....u reap what u sew....ted cruz, please explain the pic going around the internet of u and fidel castro arm and arm smoking cuban cigars?????? not qualifed to be potus....

    August 21, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  4. George

    Like to see his Certificate of Citizenship. It is the real proof that his parents filed for to let him enter the US.
    He is not a Real Born Texan, he was born in Canada.

    August 21, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. Liz

    I just dont get it...these teapublicans still go on and on about how the president was born in Kenya and he should be impeached because of that....but isnt this EXACTLY the same..even if President Obama was born in Kenya,his mother was a US citizen at the time of his then why is Cruz suddenly eligible to run???

    August 21, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  6. sushil

    Omg ru running to lose...gud luck

    August 21, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  7. Sam

    Cruz is an American. Just like Hugo Chavez, Stephen Harper (Canadian Prime Minister), & Enrique Peña Nieto (President of Mexico). This side of the world is considered the "Americas". A U.S. Citizen born in the country? Not according to the Canadian Birth Certificate.

    August 21, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. Anonymous

    no we want Americans running this country !!! looser

    August 21, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  9. Belseth

    I came out on his side until he had to renounce his Canadian citizenship. Sorry but if you had to renounce your Canadian citizenship a few days ago and had dual citizenship I don't think you can run for President based on the Constitution as it stands. I'd consider changing the Constitution because I was interested in even Arnold running before his marital problems. As it stands now I think the Supreme Court needs to weigh in and clarify some of the conditions. At the very least if you have dual citizenship there should be a waiting period which is already spelled out for those born out of country or living abroad. You shouldn't be able to renounce citizenship for one country then run for President the next day. Technically he could have been a member of the Canadian Parliament when he announced his intention to run for the President of the US. That to me is pretty extreme based on how the Constitution is written.

    August 21, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  10. Andacar

    Once you open Pandora's Box, all the crazy that was in it gets out and now you're stuck with it. The Republicans opened that box of course during President Obama's 2008 campaign, and now that particular bit of crazy is back.

    Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7

    August 21, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  11. reldra

    Now, it;s just 'silly season' when it's a republican. Ok, I get it.

    August 21, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  12. Dave Long

    How can Cruz deserve any votes without denouncing all the birther nonsense regarding Obama?

    August 21, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  13. sandvichmancer

    Republicans are out to save the American people money by doing things not even comedians could make up, thus saving us the money of paying them.

    August 21, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. MV

    I'm sick of these Republican senator anchor babies.

    August 21, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  15. Tom

    Funny the main stream media didn't point out what is being said about Cruz, the right wing tea party mouthpiece favorite, that because his mother was a U.S. citizen he is a U.S. citizen, regardless of who his dad is or where he was born. Now if if his dad was a U.S. citizen and his mother a foreigner that would be different. Funny news outlets like CNN didn't make that distinction.

    August 21, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  16. David

    The irony of this guy born in Canada with a Cuban father speaking to a bunch of rich clowns supporting the Tea Bag party is too rich.

    August 21, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  17. MakeThemEatCake

    The wheels are coming off not because it isn't a good program. They are coming off because it passed without aid of any kind from the GOP, the Supreme Court wouldn't say it was illegal and the GOP doesn't have an acceptable program to replace it. So with no other option available, instead of working with the President and the democrats to improve it, the GOP is saying they don't care about this law so they won't pay for it. This is setting a bad precedent. Creating a back door to "repeal" a bill by refusing to pay for it instead of voting to repeal it. Sounds like a congressional line item veto. Something the president does not have at his disposal if a budget item is not a project he likes..

    August 21, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  18. Alex Disner

    So, let's get this straight. He was born in another country, not the US. His father was from Cuba, and his mother from here. So, he's only HALF american. His other half is communist, or can be here as a refugee. If his own father was welcomed here, why not another immigrants? what's his opinion on outsourcing? more than 10 millon jobs sent overseas. That's outraging, not a guy coming here to avoid being killed in a war financed by our drugs craving society.

    August 21, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  19. GranJan

    Here's hoping this flap will end all speculation about Obama's citizenship; the Repubs can't have it both ways!

    August 21, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  20. sssshhh

    Nothing personal, but Canada doesn't need any more Republican politicians. We've been full up since 2006.

    August 21, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. bee lade

    So we only make this a story, cause the guy is white.

    Course we made fun of those who brought the same thing up to Obama...

    Ahh the anti-white racism in this country is so obvious it's laughable.

    August 21, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  22. William

    Calling all Birthers....Calling all Birthers...

    Oh, wait Cruz is white, uh, never mind!

    August 21, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  23. Rogue351

    The GOP / Tea Party plagued Obama for how many years with this. Now we have this guy that was actually born outside of the United States. American citizen or not, It's called Karma. What comes around goes around. If the GOP / Tea Party manages to take the senate or the office of president and that is a slim chance. They should not expect anything less that exactly what they have given to the Obama administration. Neither way the people who pay the salaries always lose. The ONLY GOP member that MIGHT be able to put this ideology behind them if Christy. Thats is why the GOP / Tea Party will have nothing to do with him. He operated in the best interest of the people and not the party. And when you are talking about the party that equals nothing more than the rich. The same people who make billions while shipping jobs to China. The same rich that pay hardly anything to people trying to buy homes, raise a family and have a decent life. They take all of the profits for themselves. But the GOP / Tea Party will claim they ate the party of family values while supporting these billionaires with tax breaks for jobs that no one can retire from. No healthcare in a first world nation, which in this day and age is obscene and military spending that exceeds all other counties combined. Plus the GOP / Tea Party will take us back to yet another war, it is almost guaranteed. The GOP / Tea Party is just fine with people, American or immigrant dying on the streets because billionaires don't want universal healthcare so they can use the money to fund yet another war.

    August 21, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  24. Skip Glanz

    If Obama's mother was American and he was born the the State of Hawaii and many said he was not eligible. Why is a person with an American mother and not born in the United States considering himself eligible. Why is no one from the same group that attacked Obama not saying he is not eligible, where is the Donald. To the birthers where are you.

    August 21, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  25. Cris

    Birthers are starting to eat their own..

    August 21, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
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