Silly season: Cruz jokes he's from Ethiopia
August 23rd, 2013
01:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Silly season: Cruz jokes he's from Ethiopia

(CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz cracked a joke about the recent stir over his place of birth on Thursday, just days after pledging to renounce his Canadian citizenship.

"I promise that while y'all are out I'll try not to give any like really juicy piece of crazy news," Cruz told reporters as they were exiting an event where he was about to speak in a private session, according to the Houston Chronicle. "I am secretly a citizen of Ethiopia."

He gave no indication of his fluency level in Amharic.

The Texas Republican, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, released his birth certificate to The Dallas Morning News last week as questions began simmering over whether he would be eligible to run for president.

Legal experts weighed in, saying he would likely qualify as a "natural-born citizen" of the U.S.–a requirement for the White House job–but also pointed out he may still be a citizen from Canada.

Cruz vowed to renounce his Canadian citizenship, saying in an interview with CNN that as a U.S. senator "it's appropriate I be only an American." The newfound attention to his origins is merely evidence of the "silly season in politics," he told CNN's Candy Crowley.

Read more: Cruz likely still a Canadian, if he ever was

President Barack Obama also used humor at times when addressing the so-called birther movement.

In October 2012, about a week before Election Day, Obama argued GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney raised fees on a number of items when he was governor of Massachusetts.

"He raised fees to get a birth certificate," Obama continued, "which would have been expensive for me."

For years, Obama faced critics who were convinced the president was not born in the United States and therefor ineligible for the White House. He put the rumors to rest in 2011 when he released his long-form birth certificate.

A month earlier at a Florida campaign stop, the president ran into a woman and her then-six-year-old son, who was born in Hawaii.

"You were born in Hawaii?" he asked the child, then pointed at him. "Do you have a birth certificate?"

At the 2011 White House dinner, he famously roasted birther-in-chief Donald Trump.

"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald," he said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like, 'Did we fake the moon landing?' 'What really happened on Roswell?' And "Where are Biggie and Tupac?"

The president also played his "birth video" for the audience, which turned out to be the opening scene from the "Lion King" when Simba is unveiled as the next king.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Ted Cruz • Texas
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. gembre

    Too bad Ethiopia does not allow dual citizenship. Hey Ted, maybe stick with your citizenship fo Canada 😉

    August 23, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. PaulCat

    I'm just waiting on Donald Trump.

    August 23, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    @peppy, your Canadian is the one who keeps talking unite the teatroll base. Nobody on this Earth, including this crazy guy, believes that this Canadian can be president of the US.
    Just like somebody else from AK who believed that this was god's plan (for her to derail mccain's campaign?) his daddy (like the flake from MN) says that his god spoke to him and told him that rafael was born for greatness.
    I guess being president of the US is a greater position than the title of prime minister of his birth country, Canada, eh?

    August 23, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Joke all you want to Teddy. But the joke is on you. You, senor, were born in CANADA, but you and your ilk think you should be allowed to be POTUS, whereas our duly elected and reelected POTUS was born right here in the good old U S of A, yet he is constantly referred to as Kenyan born. My question to you, your ilk, Trump the chump and the MSM is..... Why is it ok for you to run for POTUS but not President Obama IF he had been born in Kenya to his American mother??

    This is what we are trying to get at. No one questions where you were born. We know CANADA.

    I also wondered why you picked Ethiopia....thanks for clearing that up for me Sniffit!

    August 23, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Revolution

    I see 2016 can't get here fast enough for all of us

    August 23, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. ST

    Oh! do you know that we are all in a serious business and no joke at at all when it comes on Place of Birth! Are you from Ethiopia!!!! Was your father or mother from that country? If we mean business let us all be in that, if we mean jokes that is another thing. I hope you are aware of this, your Place of Birth is not a joke to anyone Cruz.

    August 23, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    Cruz reminds of Bill O'Reilly. A Big Bully !

    August 23, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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