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Republican Cruz Pushes Back On Questions About His U.S. Citizenship

By Luciana Lopez

MASON CITY, Iowa (Reuters) — Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz on Friday defended his American citizenship at a campaign stop in Iowa, pushing back against questions raised by rival Donald Trump, who suggested Cruz’s Canadian birthplace might complicate his White House bid.

“I’ve never been naturalized,” said Cruz, the U.S. senator from Texas who is among the front-runners for the party’s nomination. “It was the process of being born that made me a U.S. citizen.”

Cruz is a U.S. citizen by birth because his mother was American, although he was born in Canada.

As Cruz has pulled ahead of the Republican pack in the key early-voting state of Iowa, businessman Donald Trump, who leads Republicans nationally, has stepped up aggressively questioning whether Cruz is a natural-born citizen and calling the senator’s Canadian birth a potential problem for the party.

Cruz spoke at Praise Community Church in Mason City, Iowa, where he is on the fifth day of a six-day bus tour across the state.

Presidents must be “natural-born citizens” under the U.S. Constitution. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, but his mother was a U.S. citizen, which he says meets the requirements to run.

“The child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen,” Cruz said.

“As a legal matter the question is quite straightforward,” he added.

Cruz cited other similar examples, including Senator John McCain. In the 2008 presidential race, McCain, the Republican nominee, had faced questions on his citizenship because he was born, to American parents, on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone, which was then under U.S. control.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at the Goldfield Old Schoolhouse in Goldfield, Iowa January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

Mitt Romney Shuts Down The Birthers — A Few Years Too Late

Ted Cruz is getting some assistance in combating the latest assault of birtherism from Donald Trump, from an unlikely corner: The 2012 Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, whom Cruz has previously ridiculed for being a weak and too moderate candidate. And just to show that he can be with it, the former GOP standard-bearer even threw in a Jedi mind-trick.

There are a few problems here with Mitt’s attempted pop-culture reference: First of all, among the three people named in that tweet, Ted Cruz and Mitt’s father George Romney were born outside the United States — while President Obama was in fact born in America, despite the conspiracy theories that have been spun over the years.

But also, in that famous scene from the original Star Wars, those were the droids that the Stormtroopers were looking for.

And while it might be nice to see Romney come out in support of the facts, it’s a little late. Back in the 2012 election season Romney gladly campaigned alongside none other than Donald Trump — and even refused to condemn Trump’s conspiracy-mongering about President Obama’s birthplace and citizenship.

And then during the general election campaign, during a stop in his original native state of Michigan, Romney himself got in on the act of making a birther joke against the president.

“Now I love being home in this place, where Ann and I were raised — where both of us were born. Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born at Harper Hospital,” Mitt told the crowd, which then proceeded to roar with laughter and applause as he delivered the punchline: “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate — they know that this is the place that we were born and raised!”

“The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States,” a Romney adviser said. “He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised.”

But that November, Obama defeated Romney in the state of Michigan, 54 percent to 45 percent.

All of this brings us to the real irony here: After years of paranoia and barely-veiled racist barbs getting thrown at Barack Obama over his life story — casting him as an un-American outsider — the target for this kind of persecution is now a champion for the hardline right.

Ann Coulter Goes Birther — On Ted Cruz

Donald Trump is getting some backup in his newest political assault on Ted Cruz, a redeployment of the “birther” mythos, this time aimed at the senator from Texas. Ann Coulter is declaring that Ted Cruz isn’t a “natural born citizen” eligible to run for president. And she’s upping the ante even more, by linking Cruz’s own dubious American citizenship to what she perceives as his weakness on immigration.

The right-wing pundit, who has been selling her anti-immigration book ¡Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole, has campaigned actively with Trump, even telling a crowd at one of his rallies that The Donald’s campaign meant, “God hasn’t given up on America yet.” Wednesday morning, she took to Twitter to broadcast the notion that Cruz being an eligible citizen under the Constitution:

Trump brought this nonissue to the fore Tuesday, declaring: “Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem.”

Cruz was born in the Canadian province of Alberta, to a U.S. citizen mother. His father, Rafael Cruz, was a Cuban exile who at some point became a Canadian citizen, which he eventually renounced in order to swear U.S. citizenship in 2005. In 2014, Cruz the Younger legally renounced his own dual citizenship with Canada — after the very fact of his having it had apparently taken him by surprise.

Despite the fact that Cruz is plainly eligible to run for president, Coulter continued:

And worst of all, she said Cruz is just like an “anchor baby.”

It’s unclear if Coulter is implying that Ted Cruz was an anchor baby for his dad in the United States — or for his mom in Canada.

Photo: Photo: Ann Coulter speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Donald Trump Goes Birther Again — This Time On Ted Cruz

Well, well, Donald Trump is now having some fun with his new main rival, Ted Cruz. And this new line of attack against Cruz is actually an old line of attack for Trump, one he used to great effect against a certain somebody else. Trump is once again alleging that his hated foe might not really be an eligible U.S. citizen.

Remember that Trump practically built his political following back in 2010 and 2011 by promulgating all manner of conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birthplace. So it only makes sense that he could really have a ball against a candidate who was actually born in another country.

Cruz was born in the Canadian province of Alberta. In 2014, he legally renounced his dual citizenship in Canada — after the very fact of his having it had taken him somewhat by surprise.

The Washington Post reports:

“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when asked about the topic. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”

And just to up the ante here, Trump seemingly invoked the language of protection rackets:

Trump added, “I’d hate to see something like that get in his way. But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.”

Shorter message from Trump to Cruz: That’s a nice American identity you’ve got there — would sure be a shame if something happened to it.

For his part, Cruz has responded via Twitter — by invoking the classic “Jump the Shark” scene from Happy Days.

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidates businessman Donald Trump (L) and Senator Ted Cruz (R) pose together before the start of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada December 15, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker