Sen. Ted Cruz will be a guest on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” this Sunday. The Texas senator is a rising star in the Republican Party and thought to be a possible presidential candidate in 2016. With an impressive resume – degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law, first Hispanic solicitor general of Texas, youngest solicitor general in the history of the United States – and a particular skill for rhetoric (he’s also a former national debate champion) Cruz is definitely a politician to watch this Sunday and in general.
Here are five signs that this fiery first-term senator is eyeing a 2016 presidential run:
1) Trips 1, 2 and 3 to Iowa. Cruz has been in the Senate for less than a year, but he’s already made two trips to Iowa, with a third one scheduled in October. Lawmakers rarely wind up in Iowa by accident, and they certainly don’t just find themselves there on three separate occasions in less than 12 months. For the conservative Cruz the state known for fried butter and the first electoral event in the nation would be a key piece of his presidential primary puzzle. The state boasts a strong and involved evangelical base to whom Cruz appeals, and retail politicking is a key to success – a strength of the one-time Ivy League debate champion.
2) That other trip to New Hampshire. In between those trips to Iowa and, of course, to his home state of Texas, Cruz found time to make it up to New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state (Iowa holds a caucus, and both states are very particular about this language). In August, Cruz spoke at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican State Committee. Cruz’s libertarian streak appeals to a “live free or die” mentality popular in the Granite State and, again, his skills at retail politicking would certainly come in handy in the small New England state.
3) Goodbye to that pesky Canadian citizenship. Cruz has one potential roadblock to his candidacy: He was actually born in Canada. The Constitution doesn’t set that many restrictions on who can run for president. One just needs to be over the age of 35, have lived in the U.S. at least 14 years, and be a natural born citizen. What exactly is a natural born citizen? Good question. The constitution doesn’t define it. But the definitions include an individual born abroad to American parents. Cruz’s mother was from Delaware and so, under this definition, he would be qualified to run. Cruz has made a point of clarifying said qualification, and in August he even went so far as to renounce his Canadian citizenship after reportedly learning that he had dual citizenship.
4) Oh yeah, and that trip to South Carolina. Seriously, this guy is racking up the frequent flyer miles. In early May, Cruz spoke at the Silver Elephant Dinner in South Carolina, the state that holds the first in the South primary. The annual fundraising dinner is hosted by the state Republican Party and has featured many big Republican names including Ronald Reagan. Cruz has hit the first three voting states in the presidential primary in less than a year. Is there another way to interpret all that travel?
5) His own language on the subject. The final indicator of Cruz’s intentions for political tea-leaf readers is his own purposely vague rhetoric on the matter. When asked by ABC News‘ Jonathan Karl if he was planning to run in 2016, Cruz gave a classically evasive response. “I’m not focused on the politics,” he said. “I’ve been in the Senate all of seven months. The last office I was elected to was student council.” Avoid direct answers is presidential politics 101.
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