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. California Gary

    That's a good one Ted! I can't stop laughing.........but the truth of the matter is, I'm laughing at you, not with you.

    August 23, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Bill

    Keep talking, Teddy. Just more fodder for ads against the GOP.

    August 23, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I am secretly a citizen of Ethiopia."

    Dudes crude. No doubt about it.

    August 23, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. O'drama ya Mama

    the birther movement soon to backfire on GOP...

    August 23, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Does Ethiopia have socialized medicine like Canada? As for secrets, it is no secret that Cruz is an idiot.

    August 23, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Duke

    Is it just me or does this guy look startlingly like Bill O'Reily? Possibly brothers? It would explain a lot...

    August 23, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Jake from Canada

    I love the way that Ted Cruz thinks that "the left" is actually seriously considering his birth certificate. He was born in Canada, but, it appears he has the right to run-great. But, I didn't hear him say that the Tea Party was "silly" for questioning Barack Obama, who was actually born in the U.S. with an American Mother btw. So, liberals have chosen the higher ground.

    August 23, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Ted will soon be taking his right wingnut comedy to the Fox comedy lineup.

    August 23, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Lisa P.

    More distraction from a guy who's got nothing to offer but hot air and obstruction. Where's your birth certificate, Sen. Cruz? And your passport and Social Security applications? Did you lie about your citizenship status? I don't particularly care but I'm sure your true blue American patriot Tea Party groupies are just dying to know, because they are all so very very interested in that sort of thing.

    August 23, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    y'all are already laughing at you, rafael edward cruz. Just like the mutant from AK YOU are the joke!
    You will NEVER be president not just because you were born in Calgary, Canada and are a Canadian citizen but because you are also Cuban as your daddy was a Cuban national.
    That being said you are too crazy to be anything imore than shat you are. Loudmouth McCarthy wannabe canadian living in your daddy's 50s era trying to make up for your daddy running out of Cuba the first chance he got.

    August 23, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Gunderson

    Old Gunderson no sure where he from. Maybe California, Land of opportunity. no? Maybe Minnesota, land of water world. no?

    August 23, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. jinx9to88

    What a joke! The laugh is on him if he thinks he can with the small group of crazies that follow him. Mittens had a better chance of winning then Cruz and we all know how that turned out.

    August 23, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Boomer in Mo

    It was just a joke folks. On the other hand, Cruz is scary and really mean.

    August 23, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Joan

    The Democrats are not questioning his birth certificate. They are just pointing out the hypocrisy of the whole birther movement started by Trump and his merry men.

    August 23, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. somebody

    The recent silliness isn't really about a 2016 run (although he may do that later). It's about raising $$ for 2014 and keeping the base fired up to vote. Mid term elections are all about turn out.

    August 23, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. jinx9to88

    I just made a trip to the Fox news website and not one article about Cruz and the birther issue, funny! Why is that?

    August 23, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Data Driven


    Interesting choice for the punchline.

    August 23, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |

    Rapheal Cruz is a Akin,Mourdoch clone. A loose cannon.The clock is ticking,keep talking Rapheal.

    August 23, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. racegirl1

    Teddy you may be joking but how do we know where you were born. How do we know that was actually your birth certificate? Well, maybe you will know how Obama feels, I certainly hope so. Let's see if you can get as good as you gave.

    August 23, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    FOIA up those background check documents from when he was a federal employee, CNN. Let's see whether he was lying this week about "I had no idea I had dual citizenship." Oh, wait, IOKIYAR, sorry...we'll have to wait until a darker complexioned Dem says something similarly verified for CNN to bother trying to get the docs.

    August 23, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Interesting choice for the punchline."

    It was easier to pronounce through the dogwhistle than Nigeria.

    August 23, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. PEPPY

    People please keep your eye on the ball. These are just distractions by the lame street media to cover the great inept ones failures. bammy cant leave soon enough

    August 23, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Warren

    He is just so funny....It seem strange to me that someone that was not born on the soil of the United States of America could even run for President.

    August 23, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Lisa P.

    Data Driven


    Interesting choice for the punchline.
    August 23, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm
    "Cuba" or "Canada" would have been a little too close to home. But Ethiopia is right next to Kenya! What is it they say about the best defense being a good offense? More distraction. I wonder what from...?

    August 23, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Motuma

    As you keep joking, A time is coming where your children apply for Ethiopian Citizenship. we are a black people who win the battle with Italian Invader. We are proud people with our black identity, a promised land,mentioned many times in Holy Bible and Qur'an.Our land is blessed ,Jamaicans walk with bare foot.But to be frank our GDP per capita Income is the lowest compared to USA.But this doesn't guarantee any body to crack a joke.

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