Cruz makes case for White House eligibility

Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzFour states sue to stop internet transition House approves stopgap funding, averting costly shutdown Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (R-Texas) on Sunday argued that his eligibility for the White House has long been a settled matter and blasted his Republican rivals who have sought to make an election issue out of his Canadian birth.

“The substance of the issue is clear and straight forward,” Cruz said on CNN’s "State of the Union." “As a legal matter, the Constitution and federal law are clear that the child of a U.S. citizen is a natural born citizen.”

Several of Cruz’s GOP rivals, led by front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJeb Bush: Reports of father supporting Clinton were 'inappropriate' Trump: I have 'very good' marital history Report: Trump Foundation lacks proper certification MORE, have sought to draw attention to the fact that Cruz was born outside the U.S.

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Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father and for years held dual U.S.-Canada citizenship. The Texas Republican renounced his Canadian citizenship after he became a U.S. senator.

The Constitution states that to be eligible for the White House, one must be a “natural born citizen.” That’s long been interpreted to include anyone born to a U.S. citizen, even outside the country.

“As a legal matter this issue is straightforward, what it’s really designed to do listen what the American people are focused on are the real problems facing this country,” Cruz said.

“In my view any candidates, or for that matter folks in the press who want to go down rabbit trails and circus sideshows are distracting from the real issues the American people are focused on,” he said.

Cruz, who is leading in Iowa just weeks before the caucuses, said that the attacks against him are intensifying because he’s moved to the top of the polls.

“The dynamic that’s happening is interesting,” Cruz said. “Almost three weeks ago, every Republican presidential candidate was attacking Donald Trump. Now almost every Republican presidential candidate is attacking me. And that kind of suggests maybe something has changed in the race.”

Cruz pointed to several other Republican candidates who have run for president despite being born outside the U.S., including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who was born on a military base in Panama, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, who was born to missionary parents in Mexico, and former Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), who was born in Arizona while it was still only a territory.