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. Seriously...

    Defund Obamacare? Sure is easy for a guy born in Canada to a Mexican Mom....who got a scholarship to Harvard based on regional ethnic diversity standards ....hmmmm... and now that he's a senator he gets free health insurance for life plus a full pension–untaxed–for life as well...not bad at all for a kid born in Canada to a Mexican Mom.... talk about working the system...his relatives didn't pour any sweat into this beautiful country-he showed up and took full advantage of the system... hate Barack all you want but HIS grandfather was at Normandy in WW2...fighting for the USA against the Nazi's ( yes Teabaggers! fighting AGAINST the Nazi's!–please see American History 101–Freshman core course at local community colllege)... Cruz , of course, was grabbing scholarship money...of course now he wants to SHUT the door on any immigrant following him....ahhh the hypocrisy in this country is overwhelming ...every man for himself...or in Cruz's case, every dawg.....

    August 21, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  2. MaryM

    Ted McCarthy Cruz will never be POTUS. He is just another teabaggie.

    August 21, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  3. nintex

    How "silly" was it a couple of years ago when it was President Obama's eligibility in question? Huh?

    August 21, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  4. tea party days are numbered

    natural born u.s. citizen, would implicate born on u.s. soil or one of its territories, canada is NOT one of these.

    August 21, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  5. annieL

    IF Cruz keeps his Canadian dual citizenship, he is entitled, yes, "entitled" to use the Canadian single-payer healthcare system. That's probably why he hasn't paid that little $100 fee and filled out that four-page form to drop his Canadian citizenship. But he's working as a U.S. Senator to deny the rest of US affordable insurance so when we get cancer we'll get emergency treatment at the ER when it's too late to save our lives. What a nice evil little man.

    August 21, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Gene2

    Living in Texas, I'm outnumbered by Cruz's minions of gun-toting, backward-thinking baggers, but I welcome the chance for him further embarrass himself on a nationwide stage. He'll make Perry seem competent and reasonable in comparison.

    August 21, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    "Nothing against Canada, but I'm an American by birth, and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American," he wrote, adding he wasn't even aware he was a dual citizen until the subject was brought up over the weekend.
    Now that's just plain silly, if he expects anyone to actually believe that he has been ignorant of his citizenship his entire life.

    August 21, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. 3doorsdown

    Cruz, is a real if President Obama was born in Kenya, or Indonesia to his American mother would that have not made him an American citizen? I am confused. What does Donald Trump have to say about Cruz's status? How was he ever elected to the US Senate, holding dual citizenship, here and in Canada? I am so confused? What are the teabaggers , and the birthers saying about Cruz? I am so confused? Someone, please help me. I am so confused.

    August 21, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Alan

    Sad....even sadder is that some folks will vote for a guy like this.

    August 21, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  10. O'drama ya Mama

    Of course its silly, its been silly for 5 years. Does Ted think it was silly to do the same to Obama?

    August 21, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  11. BriSoFla

    This CANADIAN cannot NEVER be our president. He was BORN in foreign country. End of discussion. PERIOD!

    August 21, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  12. Andrew

    I doubt you will see the teabirthers make a fuss about Cruz, hypocrisy is their most identifiable feature.

    August 21, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  13. Duh

    I find this incredibly hilarious considering the Right's attack of Obama's citizenship.

    August 21, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  14. Andrew Smith

    Wasn't so silly when you were talking about President Obama. Then you and the birthers thought Obama was trying to pull a fast one and had doctored everything. The sad thing is a lot of Tea Partiers will shrug this off/claim the liberal media is making a mountain out of a molehill

    August 21, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  15. Gryphon

    Thank god this nut case is renouncing his Canadian citizenship.

    August 21, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  16. mike

    No more ridiculous than the Obama birther nonsense. Don't start a fight you can't finish, tea-folk.

    August 21, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. Grady

    ths 'silly season" is 12 months long...

    August 21, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. Jayden H.

    Birthers Part II ... now the finger pointers are getting fingers pointed at them and they don't like it. It's a little funny if you ask me. Cruz has no chance at winning in 2016. He'll barely get through the GOP round if he even tries. He's a Tea-b@gger backed candidate and that alone is a sign he won't go far. They are the reason the GOP is now a split and withering party. The only thing giving him a slight push and all this unneeded attention is his last name (Hispanic) and the fact he is from Texas (lots of electoral votes). To stay alive (literally), the GOP needs Texas, a state that is slowly but surely becoming less and less red and more and more purple/blue. ruh roh.

    August 21, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. D3p0rt him

    If hes such a hardliner on immigration he should follow his own advice and deport himself back to Canada.
    The constitution is clear "natural born citizen". I dont care how much lawyers try contort the words, they are clear "natural born citizen".
    Further, I would like to know how he obtained his US passport, one must prove citizenship to obtain one. Did he apply for a birth certificat abroad? Did he Naturalize? Does he have an A number? These answers would clearly establish his status; which in turn begs the question: why is no one asking these questions?

    August 21, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  20. Willie

    "American by birth" doesn't mean being born to an American mother on foreign soil, Ted. "American by birth" means exactly that: born on U.S. soil and/or territory. Unless you were born on a U.S. military base or the U.S. embassy in Canada, you are not American by birth. Watch out for Donald Trump...he's got his investigators in Canada already.

    August 21, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. z2cents

    Wonder why the same "law" does not apply to Obama

    August 21, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  22. badgerbay

    Go back to Canada. Stop taking our jobs!

    August 21, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  23. rockysfan

    So was Obama but you retreads and tea tards didn't want to beleive it. Why should we believe you Cruz, 'cause you said so? Please! Shoes on the other foot, trying walking now.

    August 21, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. Gerry Daley

    Silly season? Really???? Cruz was apparently born without an irony gene like most of his fellow Republicans. Why is it silly now when it hasn't been silly for 6 years with President Obama? These people should know that many of us have a long memory and their lunacy during the Obama presidency is going to come back to haunt them.

    August 21, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. Johnny B if your MOTHER is a US Citizen and your FATHER is not, and you are born OUTSIDE of the US, you are still automatically a US citizen??? Gee, I am so glad he cleared that up...I wonder if his fellow Teabaggers agree with him...because it seems to me that a lot of effort was taken to prove someone else high up in politics was not eliglble to be president for the exact same reason....I can't remember who that was...but it will come to me.

    August 21, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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