Sen. Rand Paul stands on a small platform while speaking to a crowd of approximately 60 people during a Republican campaign stop in Carroll Thursday afternoon. Paul outlined several points of his campaign strategy and asked voters to give him consideration at the upcoming Iowa caucuses.
Sen. Rand Paul stands on a small platform while speaking to a crowd of approximately 60 people during a Republican campaign stop in Carroll Thursday afternoon. Paul outlined several points of his campaign strategy and asked voters to give him consideration at the upcoming Iowa caucuses.

January 8, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul Thursday suggested rival Ted Cruz may not be constitutionally credentialed to serve as commander in chief because of his Canadian birth.

What’s more, a now boiling controversy over the matter could frustrate Republican efforts in November, Paul said in Carroll.

Cruz, 45, a U.S. senator from Texas, was born in Calgary, Canada, a son of a U.S. citizen mother, and a father who is from Cuba.

“Without question Ted Cruz would meet the qualifications to be prime minister of Canada,” Paul said. “Whether or not he’s a natural born citizen of the United States is something the courts would have to figure out.”

In an interview with the Daily Times Herald and Carroll Broadcasting following a campaign event at the Santa Maria Winery, Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, said a Cruz ascension to standard-bearer for the party makes Republicans vulnerable because of the citizenship question.

“There’s already one Democrat congressman who is threatening to sue over that so there probably will be a court case,” Paul said,, referencing comments from Alan Grayson of Florida.

The challenge could come if Cruz becomes the GOP nominee, opening a late-stage political conflict, Paul said.

“I don’t know the outcome of it, and I think that’s one reason why some people make conjecture is: has it been decided before?” Paul said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue.

Paul also said there is blatant hypocrisy among many on the right who have reveled in challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship, even though he was born in  Hawaii to a Kansas-raised mother, facts Paul accepted.

“I just think there was a double standard,” Paul said. “For years and years people went after Barack Obama and he was born in Hawaii. And yet, there’s a candidate now that was born in Canada, and there doesn’t seem to be the same sense of outcry from the same people.”

Article II of the U.S. Constitution says: “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

But the Naturalization Act of 1790 says “the children of citizens of the United States, that may born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.”

According to an extensive piece on Cruz’s citizenship in the Los Angeles Times, legal scholars largely agree that he is a U.S. citizen based on his parentage.

“Despite the happenstance of a birth across the border, there is no question that Sen. Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a ‘natural born citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution,” Neal Katyal and Paul Clement wrote in the Harvard Law Review in March.

Another GOP candidate for the White House, Donald Trump, has been making high-profile digs at Cruz over his birthplace.

Trump has said Cruz should preempt a challenge by going to the courts now himself to seek a definitive ruling.

Cruz would be the first president to be born outside of the United States.

The matter did not emerge in Carroll this week during a Cruz campaign event.

As for Paul, he spoke to a crowd of about 60 people at Santa Maria in the late afternoon.

His message: bipartisan spending bonanzas and an adventurous foreign policy jeopardize the financial security of the United States.

The oft-repeated comments from candidates about gridlock in Washington, D.C., are actually upside-down, Paul said, adding that he thinks cooperation among congressional Republicans and Democrats leads to overspending.

“Everybody gets what they want, and then you get stuck with the bill,” Paul said.

The No. 1 threat to the nation is debt, he said.

“Right and left have come together to spend us into oblivion,” Paul said.

On foreign policy, Paul said the U.S. role in toppling dictators in Libya and Iraq allowed Iran and the Islamic State to grow stronger.

Paul said the U.S. should maintain a strong military, but he believes the debt is a greater concern, and said he’s the only Republican candidate who would rein in defense spending.

Chad Wittrock, 30, a self-employed graphic designer in Arcadia, said he likes Paul’s points of view on militarization and taxes.

“I lean toward the libertarian point of view,” Wittrock said. “Obviously, so does Rand.”

At this point, Wittrock acknowledges that Paul is performing poorly in Iowa polls. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of major polls has Paul with 2 percent support in Iowa.

“I’m a little nervous about that to be honest with you,” Wittrock said.

Undecided voter Judy Schapman, 71, of Carroll, said Paul’s straightforwardness is appealing.

“I liked that he’s so honest about things,” Schapman said. “I really like honesty and just being an ordinary person.”