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. Dennis Freeman

    If anyone would recognize the so-called silly season, it would be Sen. Cruz.

    August 21, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Rosslaw

    What about Cruz' Cuban citizenship through this father? I take it Cruz has decided to remain a Cuban citizen. And his audience is cheering a speaking tour denouncing Obamacare financed by the conservative Heritage Foundaition, which wrote Obamacare (and Romneycare). New standards in stupid,.

    August 21, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. strangerq

    Mr. Cruz is entitled to renouncing his Canadian citizenship

    ^ He only renounces now, after 42 years and why?

    In order to run for President.

    He is a classic Republican.

    A greedy selfish, hypocritical power hungry snake of a man.

    I'm sure he will succeed in winning the GOP nomination, and I so look forward the to the GOP's subsequent destruction in 2016!

    August 21, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. strangerq

    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.

    Exposes again the racis hypocrisy of their anti-Obama rantings!

    August 21, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. yup

    He must feel awkward when crowds chant USA. Being Canadian and all.

    August 21, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    The only ones who really care about this none issue are the wingnut birthers in the Republican Party and conservative political talk show entertainers who are always looking to boost their ratings.

    August 21, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Gene2

    Like his politics, Cruz seems to be getting more ugly with each passing day. Lay off the pork rinds already, Ted.

    August 21, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. John

    So basically when it's about him it's a "silly season" but somehow when it's about Obama it's totally serious. Hilarious!

    August 21, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Rudy NYC


    I can't wait for the Liberal Birthers to come
    Trust me. Anyone who you think is a "liberal birther" isn't what you think they are. Don't take anything they say serously, because all that they are doing is mocking the real birthers out there.

    But seriously, though. Just because you are a U.S. citizen does not automatically make you eligible to be POTUS. During the 2008 presidential race, the "natural born" issue came up for John McCain, who was born in Panama. The argument they made for McCain was that he was born in a military hospital, not in a local Panamanian hospital.

    While Cruz may have been born with the right to call himself a U.S. citizen at birth, nothing changes the fact that he is a natural born Canadian. Just because you have the right to call yourself a U.S. citizen. You are not natural born unless you appear somewhere on U.S. birth records. Cruz's birth is recorded anywhere exceept in Canadian records.

    One way to claim a baby's US citizenshiop abroad is to file paperwork at an overseas U.S. embassy, which Cruz has already admitted was never done....which techinically makes him an illegal alien to some, or an anchor baby to others. And then there is the problem of having been a citizen for 14 years, which will prove to be an insurmountable obstacle for Cruz if paperwork to claim his U.S. citizenship has never been filled out.

    August 21, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. strangerq

    He was born in another country, not the US

    ^ And he had Citizenship their, which he just renounced.

    This is too laughable.

    Let him run – his GOP critics will destroy him, but it's too bad. He's a good foil and could help the Democrats win back the house.

    August 21, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. Norm

    Gee, it's silly to question Cruz's citizenship or ability to run for President, huh? So, here's my question. If that's the case, why isn't it just as silly to question Obama's citizenship or ability to run for the very same office? Hello, birthers! I'm talking to you. Let's see your explanation for that one.

    August 21, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. ya rights

    Not really Cruz and is a big part of what Makes native Americans stop and think about your motivation as your fathers and mothers as well. When did you moma leave the country? Back in the late 60s or early 70's when there was a exodus of people not wanting to go to war. You daddy as well, preacher man born in CUBA goes to Canada meets an American and get married and goes to the land of the conservative suckers. I'm sorry this points to your parents being socialist and you was not born American and their influence is still at play. I for one want to know your families history in Canada, what party did they belong to, Tax receipts on what they did in Canada, their is many many questionable actions by your parents that have to be considered before you can say it was ok for you to become a member of congress. OF your parents lived in Canada as canadians then my friend your Canadian and also an Illegal that has not earned the right to say they are American.

    August 21, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. edward

    I say deport his alien butt back to Canada. After all, that's what he supports for all other illegal's.

    August 21, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. ge

    the rich import everything now-even presidents to keep their billions.

    August 21, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Anonymous

    "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. "

    Born in Canada, by parents living in Canada, and spending his first four years as a Canadian, this dude insists he didn't know he had dual citizenship with Canada? That's hiding quite a lot right there. What a hypocritical spokesperson he has become for the Tea Party's Real America, eh? Makes you wonder what else the Cruz family is hiding from their Tea Party associates and friends. It also makes you wonder why the Tea Party is still willing to devote their time, their money, and their efforts in defending a proven liar who wants to completely shut down our American government for his own political gain.

    Now is the time to ask "what's really up" with this guy and his jump from country to country looking for the best deal mother and father.

    August 21, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. Ray

    Mr. Cruz may protest all he wants, but the truth is the truth. Mr. Cruz is Canadian. It does not matter if his mother was an American. And if she brought him across the border illegally, then he is no different than the thousand of "dream kids" born in Mexico but brought to the US as babies. And people of his political ilk want to depart them. I say ..... deport Mr. Cruz.

    August 21, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. rosaadriana

    I see, Obama who was actually born in the US is not a natural born citizen whereas this guy was born in Canada and it is silly if we question whether or not he is a natural born citizen. I think we are way past silly season at this point and Cruz is the silliest of them all.

    August 21, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. GOP hate america

    today's silly season is sponsored to you by Ted Cruz

    August 21, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Seems to me the Cruz family are takers, not givers. This man has had quite a lot handed to him by virtue of his birth ... dual citizenship with a country that has allowed him his Harvard education, his current government (taxpayer) paid health plan, and the legal ability to run for President of the United States.

    In his "other" country of birth, his parents were accepting socialized medicine from Canada while living in Canada before, during, and after his birth.

    Guess he's one of those privileged folks who doesn't want to share his lifelong handouts with other hard working Americans.

    Oh, yeah. And now he tells us he didn't realize that he is also too a Canadian citizen.

    August 21, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. Joan

    The Democrats are not saying Cruz can or cannot be president. They are just sitting back laughing and pointing out the hypocrisy of the situation. All of the arguments Trump and the birthers used totally apply to Cruz but even more so since he wasn't born in the US and President Obama was. The birthers are either twisting in the wind, faking amnesia, trying to have it both ways or hoping the American people are just plain stupid. It is just hilarious to watch.

    August 21, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. Jim in PA

    Hey Ted! Go back to Canada, eh?

    August 21, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. wauline snowden

    He is not a United states citizen. One thing he is is a liar, racist, and obstructionist.

    August 21, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  23. EDDIE

    A republican who is canadian that was born to a communist father want's to be president.Now I guess Its been 5 years of the "siily season' in Washington since President Obama took office.Where are all the birthers at I don't hear them.This is a perfect example of repubs talking out of both sides of their mouth's.

    August 21, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Anonymous

    All your credibility goes right out the window when you're posting and don't know the difference between "their" and "there". Also, using capital letters to begin sentences really helps to elevate your prose.

    August 21, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Marie MD

    Obamacare at the state level is working fine in Hawaii and Massachusetts and in this guys country of birth, Canada.
    Why do the rethugs/teatrolls hate the US but they want everything they can get for free,including health insurance and a hefty pension for doing next to nothing?
    He doesn't sound as scary as that screecher from AK who helped him win the election but he is way more dangerous. She twists sentences and thoughts. He twists the truth about his lineage/place of birth among other things including wanting to shut down our government but not his in Canada, of course.

    August 21, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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