Sen. Cruz downplays his renunciation of Canadian citizenship
Controversy still dogs President Obama from some quarters despite proof he was born in Hawaii.
Cruz, a Texas Republican and tea party favorite, was born in Canada, to a Cuban father and U.S.-born mother. His mother's status has allowed him to be a citizen of both the United States and Canada, but he said Tuesday in Houston, "I believe it makes sense for me to be only an American."
Previous foreign-born Americans - notably Republicans John McCain and George Romney - have run for president with some mention but no serious challenges of their eligibility.
Cruz is helping lead an effort to shut down the government if that's what it takes to stop implementation of Obama's landmark health-care overhaul.
While some "birthers" still challenge Obama's citizenship - and therefore his right to be president - his situation is different from Cruz's.
The son of a Kenyan father and American mother, Obama was born in Hawaii, according to his birth certificate. Though birthers reject that evidence, many establishment Republicans saw that controversy as an unwelcome distraction in Obama's two elections, and the movement never expanded much beyond the party's fringes. At tea party events, Cruz has declined to be drawn into debates about Obama's birthplace, though he says the president has "pushed relentlessly for European-style socialism" in America.
Cruz acknowledges being born in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970. He says that after moving to Texas as a child, he never made an affirmative claim to dual citizenship, and he's now promising to drop his Canadian citizenship if in fact he holds it.
The U.S. Constitution says only a "natural born Citizen" may be president. Legal scholars generally agree the description covers foreign-born children of U.S. parents.
McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, was born on a U.S. military base in the Panama Canal Zone. George Romney, a former Michigan governor who ran for president in 1968, was born in Mexico. His son, Mitt Romney, was the 2012 GOP nominee.