Will his birther issue derail Ted Cruz’s presidential dream?

  Ted Cruz’s Canadian birth continues to dog the darling of Republican conservatives even as the Texas senator rides his growing political momentum toward a…
Will his birther issue derail Ted Cruz’s presidential dream?

FILE- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (C) puts his hand on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about political donations and freedom of speech.Questions of whether Ted Cruz is legitimately a “natural born” U.S. citizen continue to plague him.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ted Cruz’s Canadian birth continues to dog the darling of Republican conservatives even as the Texas senator rides his growing political momentum toward a possible run for the presidency.

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It goes to show that presidential politics can make for strange bedfellows, for Cruz now finds himself sharing with President Barack Obama the same kind of questioning from critics over their so-called birther issue.

And as Obama could likely tell Cruz, it’s an issue that doesn’t go away, even if you’re almost halfway through your second term in the White House.

When asked about whether he’s eligible, Cruz’s stock answer of late has been:

“I was born in Calgary. My father is Cuban. My mother is American. My mother was a U.S. citizen by birth, so under U.S. law, I was an American citizen by birth. Those are the facts.”

Cruz maintains that he is an American citizen by birth, fulfilling the requirement of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution that a person needs to be a “natural born citizen” to be president.

But just as Obama is still hammered by some critics about his birther issue, so too do questions continue to be raised in some quarters about Cruz’s constitutional standing to become president because of his birth in Canada.

For Cruz, the issue has been given a life of its own because of the ambiguity of the constitutional language, how ill-defined the term “natural-born citizen” is, and the fact it was never used in law after 1790.

Courts also have never had to rule on the issue, which was raised in a presidential campaign long before Cruz was even born or Obama ever thought about running for president.

In fact, the issue arose when Mitt Romney’s father George, then governor of Michigan, decided to seek the 1968 GOP presidential nomination.

The issue of his eligibility came up because George Romney had been born in Mexico to American parents.

The consensus among experts then, much as with Cruz today, seemed to be that Romney was eligible to be president. Romney, however, withdrew from the race in February 1968.

With Cruz, the question of his eligibility came to the forefront last year after reports of his dual citizenship that had led some, such as real estate magnate Donald Trump to wonder if he was eligible to hold the highest office in America.

“If he was born in Canada, perhaps not,” said Trump, who had been one of Obama’s strongest critics on the birther issue.

The Cruz family was living in Canada at the time of Ted’s birth because his father was working for the oil industry there.

Cruz grew up in Texas, graduated from high school there, and went on to attend and graduate from Princeton University and the Harvard Law School.

In May, Cruz took steps to try to make the issue moot when his petition renouncing his Canadian citizenship was formally accepted.

“Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was four and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter,” Cruz said in a statement.

“Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American.”

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