DALLAS — Sen. Ted Cruz, after two days of bedevilment over his birthplace and eligibility for the presidency, returned to form Tuesday night with a rally before the conservative faithful aimed at ginning up support to defund the president’s health-care overhaul.
“You’re here because now is the single best time we have to defund Obamacare,” Cruz, R-Texas, said to raucous applause at a cavernous ballroom at the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas.
The event was part of Heritage Action for America’s “Defund Obamacare” tour, which began Monday in Fayetteville, Ark., and will make stops in nine cities. But Cruz is appearing only at the Dallas stop.
The tour is timed to the expiration at the end of September of the continuing resolution that finances the government, and Cruz said Tuesday night that he would call on House members to approve “every penny of the federal government, everything in its entirety, except Obamacare.”
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Cruz was interrupted several times by angry protesters, but he was unfazed, saying that he would be happy to “visit” with them later.
But even in Dallas, Cruz could not escape questions stemming from a report in The Dallas Morning News on Monday that because he was born in Calgary, Canada, he held both Canadian and American citizenship.
Some observers have noted the irony of Cruz being born in a nation with the sort of government health care he opposes in the U.S.
On Monday, Cruz — the child of an American mother and a Cuban-born father who moved to Texas from Canada when he was 4 — renounced his Canadian citizenship. “Nothing against Canada,” he said. But as a U.S. senator, he added, “I believe I should be only an American.”
The announcement was widely seen by analysts as another step leading to his entry in the 2016 Republican primary race.
Cruz, 42, maintains that because his mother was born in Delaware, he is a natural-born citizen and has the constitutional right to serve as president.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was born in the Panama Canal Zone to American parents and faced a few questions about his birthplace when he was his party’s presidential nominee in 2008.
Suspicions about Obama’s background have long flourished on the fringes of American politics, so much so that the so-called birthers who doubt he was born in Hawaii led the president to release his birth certificate in 2011.