WATCH ABOVE: Ted Cruz announced his bid for the Republican nomination for President in 2016 on Twitter Monday. Aarti Pole reports.
The son of Cuban immigrant and American mother, Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970, while his parents were working in the oil business. He’s since renounced his Canadian citizenship, and lawyers from both parties have said they think he’s eligible to run for president.
The U.S. Constitution says only a “natural born Citizen” may be president. Legal scholars, however, generally agree the description covers foreign-born children of U.S. parents.
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.
Some conservatives claimed President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and thus not eligible to be U.S. president. Obama is an American citizen; his father was Kenyan, his mother American.
Cruz and his wife Heidi, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, live in Houston with their two daughters, Caroline and Catherine. His father is now a Texas pastor who draws plenty of his own attention, saying in the past that Obama is a “Marxist” who should be sent “back to Kenya.”
Cruz played to his audience in New Hampshire recently, quoting from the state motto and saying: “To value liberty and freedom above all else — live free or die. That sums up what it means to be an American.”
But in Iowa, he spoke out against the federal standard for renewable fuel production, a key incentive for consumption of ethanol and therefore important to Iowa agriculture. He said he has “every bit of faith that businesses can continue to compete, continue to do well without going on bended knee to the government.”
He won election to the Senate in 2012 as a political rookie, riding a tea party wave to upset a candidate with decades of experience and deep connections inside the Republican Party.
He’s proceeded since with the same disregard for the GOP establishment, at times maneuvering quixotically in the Senate to mount an aggressive opposition to President Barack Obama. It’s an approach that has annoyed fellow Republicans — Arizona Sen. John McCain famously labeled Cruz as one of the Senate’s “wacko birds” — but Cruz is unapologetic.
As he recently told voters in New Hampshire, “If you see a candidate who Washington embraces, run and hide.”
Prior to his election to the Senate, Cruz’s career was centered on practicing law at the highest level. A graduate of Harvard Law School and clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, Cruz led a Houston-based firm’s Supreme Court practice, taught such litigation at the University of Texas and was charged with representing the state before the high court as its solicitor general.
He also served in the George W. Bush administration, at both the Federal Trade Commission and as an associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.
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