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. Pablo

    So he admits that he's a socialist Canadian! Note how long rational people dwell on this story – probably 10 minutes. As opposed to the Obama birther argument which the right can't leave alone.

    August 21, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    He was Texas Solicitor General: is it too much to ask that he be considered a " legal expert", or has the Right become more concerned about ideological purity over competance-what am I saying, of course they have.

    August 21, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  3. Sean

    Honest... I'm a Libertarian... the liberals ain't even concerned with his citizenship. The GOP made up this news, and then put the blame on the Liberals... they need something to cover up their own birther on Obama.

    August 21, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  4. Sean

    "My mother was a U.S. citizen by birth – born in Wilmington, Delaware. So under U.S. law, I'm an American citizen,"

    Obama's mother was a U.S. citizen by birth..... that still doesn't make him a U.S. citizen under the eyes of the Republicans.

    August 21, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. Wake up People!

    And please don't think that you bringing this up now is going to end it. This will go on for the next 3 years dude. Because unlike President Obama, you ARE foreign born. I don't give a damn if your mother is American or not. You and your ilk didn't care that President Obama's mother was American. And 5 years after him being elected and almost a year after him being reelected, you're still talking the same stupidity.

    Here is your lesson Ted......
    People in glass houses should not throw stones.

    August 21, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  6. RWC

    So let me get this straight: Cruz was born to an American mother in Canada, and that makes him an American (even though he's held dual citizenship all these years). President Obama was born in America to an American mom, and that makes him a Kenyan? Yep, that's the convoluted, irrational "thought" process of the right-wingers. Seriously, this guy just needs to resign or be impeached for holding the office illegitimately.

    August 21, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  7. jake

    "it's clear the wheels are coming off" ......... the teapublican clown car. my question: what ever happened to the "laser focus" on job creating legislation? instead we have 56 anti abortion bills and 58 attempts to stop ahca...'...

    August 21, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  8. geg

    i was talking to a republican freind ,who says she wants to stick with the old health care ,where you go to emergency room and no body pays ,its free

    August 21, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  9. jinx9to88

    "Silly Season" – oh no you hypocrite it wasnt "silly season" when you and your tea party nut jobs were accusing Obama for the same exact thing you are doing. People wake up, these GOP crazies are garbage.

    August 21, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  10. fronko123

    Read the constitution, must be born on American soil to be president, T.Cruz don't believe in our constitution, he only believes in the tea party, you " see" they believe in their own constitution, new set of rules.

    August 21, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Silly season? How hypocritical. Cruz is a birther. He spoke at a couple of fund raisers sponsored by birther groups in Las Vegas as recently as a month or so ago. Both he and Rand Paul did it, BTW.

    Actually, Mr. Cruz is being very slick. He's not eligible to be POTUS and he knows it. He's trying to change the requirement from "natural born citizen" to "American citizen". If you look at the history of the phrase since the Constitution was written, the generally accepted definiton has been "born on American soil."

    The phrase has never been formally defined in law, but academics going back to the 18th and 19th centuries have accepted the definition. It's been that way for over 200 years. As recently as John McCain in 2008, it was put forth by McCain, RNC, DNC, and even a Senate resolution, that McCain was eligible because he was "born on U.S. soil" in a military hospital. They had even went on to say that had he been born in a local Panamanian hospital, then he would not be a "natural born citizen.".

    Cruz has built a self-serving, circular argument. It has been his own team that was quoted in papers asserting he was a citizen. So what. He's not a natural born citizen. The law has not changed, only the politics have changed. But hey, since when have Republicans followed traditions when it doesn't work out in their favor? Never. Thety'll either ignore it or try to change it.

    August 21, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    I see a major problem for Cruz. It's not the "natural born citizen" interpretation that's going to hang him up. It's going to be a quesiton of whether or not he meets the 14 year citizenship requirement to be POTUS.

    If he was born in Canada, then he's a Canadian, which he has renounced. Okay. But, since his mother was a US citizen, then he is also "automatically" a US citizen. Or is he? No, he's note. If he was born in Canada, then the US would have no knowledge of his existence. He would have no SSI number, nothing.

    If Canadian-born Cruz wanted US citizenship, then he would have to apply for it......which by their own admission Cruz has never actually done. There should be no problem with him applying for US citizenship. But if he's never done, he's not a US citizen, rather more like a permanent resident or something.

    Which also means he doesn't meet the 14 year requirement. Which is why he's shouting so loudly about how he was a US citizen the day he was born....which is true, but Cruz has never offically claimed the prize. This is a problem.

    August 21, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    All these teabag losers will never be president, why do the republicans scrape the bottom of their barrel to get these losers for canadates????

    August 21, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  14. Joan

    They thought it wasn't "silly season" when Trump and the birthers were trying to say that President Obama was not qualified to be president. Ironically the President had a US born mother and was born in Hawaii, a US state. Funny how perspective changes when the facts come back to bite you, right Sen. Cruz?

    August 21, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  15. Dan Bruce

    If anyone should know about "silly season" talk, it is Ted Cruz and the GOP{.

    August 21, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  16. kurtinco

    Come on CNN, open up the discussion about Cruz with real comments section, not this political ticker garbage. A natural born citizen is someone who was naturally born here, not in Canada. While he may be an American, he is not a natural born American and is therefore ineligible to be President. But it is all moot anyway. There is no way the USA is going to elect another Texan, let along a screwball tea party extremist.

    August 21, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. Bruce

    I agree that Ted Cruz is a US citizen. However, wasn't he and other Tea Partiers questioning President Obama's citizenship? Doesn't the President also have a mother who was born in the United States and who was a citizen at the time of her child's birth? Kind of like voting rights to conservatives, guess it depends who you are and whether you are one of theirs. So it doesn't mastter anymore whether POTUS was born in Kenya or Hawaii, hum?????

    August 21, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. Mike

    He loved it when it was all about Obama.

    August 21, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  19. davehhds

    He should Cruz back to Canada or Cuba. He's a poor example of an American !!!

    August 21, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  20. ST

    Cruz must understand that clever people don't make their names by doing horrible stuff. If he thinks he has more power than those he will be begging for votes, he might be the one who is acting like a silly person. He shouldn't underestimate the thinking capacity of people.

    August 21, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  21. ktlbota

    Wish CNN had been this diligent about US citizenship in 2008 and 2012.

    August 21, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  22. Luther Dinger

    I wish Ted Cruz had had the courage to say this during the Obama birther nonsense. If he had he might now be a genuine presidential possibility.

    August 21, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  23. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Sorry, Teddy, but you're one of the people who opened this can of worms in the first place.

    August 21, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  24. Sophie Meyer

    "Silly season," eh? Where has this clown been for the last 5 years as birtherism has been running rampant in his party? Cruz is nothing but a hack.

    August 21, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  25. Tim

    Sorry, but foreign-born people are not allowed to be President.

    August 21, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
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