DALLAS U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican whose recent travel has fueled speculation that he may run for president in 2016, has released his birth certificate, showing he was born in Canada to an American mother, the Dallas Morning News reported on Monday.
In a statement issued later, Cruz offered to renounce his Canadian citizenship in order to "be only an American."
President Barack Obama, a Democrat and the first black U.S. president, faced intense scrutiny from "birthers" about his eligibility to be president. Born in 1961 to an American mother and Kenyan father, Obama released his birth certificate in 2011, which showed he was born in Hawaii.
The Dallas Morning News posted on its website a photo of Cruz's birth certificate, which it said was released to the newspaper.
The U.S. Constitution states that only natural born U.S. citizens are eligible to hold the office of president. Some interpret that to mean born in the United States, while others say it includes someone who is born abroad to American parents.
Cruz, 42, was born in Calgary, Canada, while his Cuban-born father was working in the energy industry there, according to the birth certificate. His mother is American born.
Cruz released his birth certificate after several recent trips to Iowa, an early presidential caucus state. A conservative elected to the U.S. Senate last year, Cruz has strong support from Tea Party activists, who seek to reduce the size of the U.S. government.
The Dallas Morning News quoted Canadian legal experts as saying Cruz is technically a dual citizen of the United States and Canada and must renounce his Canadian citizenship to be president.
After initially saying through his spokeswoman that he did not believe he had dual citizenship, Cruz issued a statement saying that if reports that he was a Canadian citizen proved correct, "then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship."
"Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter," he said.
"Nothing against Canada, but I'm an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American."
(Reporting By Greg McCune; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Christopher Wilson)