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. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Rudy: "No, no, no. You're stil lost in the smoke."

    Yes, well ... I am TRYING very hard to quit smoking. And am very much feeling a bit lost in the smoke (as it were). I know. Excuses, excuses.

    I do understand what you are stating. And I did suggest back to you that he hasn't shown any documentation beyond his Canadian birth certificate. And I am calling Cruz ... Ted the Canadian. My beef is that the man is stupid enough to suggest he didn't know he has been a Canadian since birth. Proving his is citizen of the United States is as you state a whole different ballgame and I agree he wants very much to avoid having to prove he is a citizen of the United States. So, yes. Calling himself American is smoke and mirrors. Canada is after all part of North America, is it not? Technically he is a North American Canadian. A citizen of the United States, though? Iffy. I do get that.

    Are we good?

    August 21, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    Back in the Dark Ages when I was taking Civics class, the phrase "natural born" meant born on American soil, a designated armed forces base or American embassy.

    Should be interesting to get the SCOTUS take on this interpretation, when the DNC sues to prevent Cruz from running in the 2016 GOP primary for head stooge!

    August 21, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. lolo

    Now it is silly season for him, but for President Obama it is okay to lie and claim that he is not Amrerican. Please make this clown go away. He may look white, but he is definitely not eligible for the presidency. Oh what webs we weave to get our way. The GOP/TP Klan are really out there in LaLa land. Like I said before the GOP/TP House of Representatives do not even read the constitution. All they know is freedom of speech and gun rights and they are making big money off of the taxpayers and lobbyist.

    August 21, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Steveo

    This will continue to be an issue until the Supreme Court legally settles the matter. Until the, all this blogging is speculation.

    August 21, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    It's amazing how quiet the RWNJ's are, that still to this day don't believe President Obama is American. What happened guys?? Not once have I heard the phrase, "He's not one of us." They want us to forget the disrespect and degradation that they have heaped on President Obama the last 5 years. Well I have 5 words for you......

    It ain't going to happen!!

    August 21, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Peace

    Cruz will shut the government down and immediately run to Canada. We know you already that you have nothing to lose.

    August 21, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Andrew

    As an immigration lawyer and a US Citizen who's daughter was born overseas as a US Citizen I can truthfully say that Sen Cruz is MOST DEFINITELY a United States citizen. There are charts tracking the year of birth, the age of the US citizen parent and how many years the US citizen parent lived in the United States prior to the child's birth. So long as Sen. Cruz' mother met those requirements, then he was a United States citizen at birth, end of story.

    Whether or not he is eligible to run for president is a completely different question, and one that is far more complicated.

    August 21, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. sammy750

    When will the FBI declare Cruz a Canadian terrorist and arrest him. No normal citizen can speak about Obama and our government without the FBI investigating. But Cruz does it daily. This guy is out to take down the USA and he speaks about it daily. It is time the FBI investigates him and several other Republican Radicals. They are internal TERRORIST. He needs to be arrested.

    August 21, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Boomer in Mo

    Marie MD where the heck did you find a $75 ambulance trip? In Missouri it is $1,000 or more.

    August 21, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Lynda asked:

    Are we good?
    Yeah. I think we cross posted.

    August 21, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Lar 5

    Ask Cruz. Is the GOPTEA is going to come up with a new way to lose the women's vote? Sooner or later one his favorite rightwing nuts is going to propose the return of chastity belts with the men holding all the keys. Siily? Perhaps.

    August 21, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Boomer in Mo

    Joan, Hawaii was not a state when President Obama was born there. It was still a territory, which does make it U.S. soil, but it was not a state then.

    August 21, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Ah. I see...

    Here's the neat part about being an outspoken dillweed:

    1. Now you get to give us your short form birth certificate
    2. Regardless of what it says, we're gonna want the long form birth certificate as well.
    3. That won't matter either because A, you seem to have never claimed American Citizenship and B, (enter GOP/TP conspiracy theories used against President Obama's birth certificates).

    So there ya go Cruz. Might as well get cozy obstructing Congress because no matter how many times you dodge the question by deferring to lawyers (abusing our judicial system; sickening in its own right and all too familiar with these Neocons), we'll never let you be President. How many Romney-esque, upper-crust scum must the GOP/TP put forth before they realize they need a common man with courage and principles to run and win? Apparently all of them because the GOP/TP aren't the common man's party and if you ask about their principles, they'll defer to their legal team who'll need to define "principle" first. Or "family values". Or some other phrase that means nothing, but makes you imagine what it means to YOU so you can agree with it better.

    August 21, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Boomer in Mo

    Marie MD where the heck did you find a $75 ambulance trip? In Missouri it is $1,000 or more.
    OOH, ooh. Let me guess. A unit dispatched from a public hospital versus one dispatched from a private service.

    August 21, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Does this mean that we get to demand to see Cruz' college transcripts, in order to see if he registered as a foreign student?

    August 21, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. OutstandingWorldCitizen

    He has triple citizenship: Canada being born there; USA because of his mom (hence dual) and Cuban (based on the Cuba's constitution) thanks to his father. However HE IS NOT A NATURAL CITIZEN being born in another country by parents of mixed citizenry. M. Romney's dad and McCain were born in other countries HOWEVER both of their parents were US citizens. Huge difference.

    Obama's mother was a citizen. His father was not. However Obama IS because he was born in the 50th state called Hawaii. Now these right wingers are saying the "natural born" clause is archaic. Really?!!!!

    August 21, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Ron L

    This being the "silly season" is shown by the fact we are THREE YEARS from the next election for President and there is all this attention being put to it already. Ted Cruz is a blow hard that loves attention, and unfortunately there are thousands of Republican voters who want to believe the half truths and ridiculous things this man says. We need to be focused on the NOW!! And talk about raisng the minimum wage to $10.00 an hour over the next 3 years, and launching a BIG infrastructure project to rebuild the nation.

    August 21, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. U.S. Citizen

    Funny. Now those who mocked the Birthers are now the Birthers.

    August 21, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Anonymous


    Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States on August 21, 1959. President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961.

    August 21, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    U.S. Citizen

    Funny. Now those who mocked the Birthers are now the Birthers.
    Nothing's changed. Obama birthers are still being mocked. It's called cynical sarcasm, or sarcastic cynicism. Take your pick.

    August 21, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Ech

    The Party of Stupid

    August 21, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Rudy: "Yeah. I think we cross posted."

    LOL. Nah. I got you going when I repeatedly said "dual" citizenship. Going forward, I'll stick with Ted the Canadian to offset his ... "but ... but ... I am too an American citizen" smoke and mirrors.

    August 21, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. Ram Riva

    LOL....this birther issue is truly a joke...if it's the GOP then all rules are off....he was born in a different country...Canada...but ....his mother was a US citizen....he's a Republican.... that's fine....he can run for POTUS.....the GOP honestly believes the electorate is not very intelligent.....

    August 21, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. shehar39

    Love Ted Cruz!

    August 21, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. emskadittle

    Funny. Now those who mocked the Birthers are now the Birthers.
    Nothing's changed. Obama birthers are still being mocked. It's called cynical sarcasm, or sarcastic cynicism. Take your pick
    I guess we will never learn that republicans don't understand sarcasm, they still think Colbert is a republican

    August 21, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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