Texan senator Ted Cruz has announced that he will run for president in 2016, becoming the first major candidate in the race to the White House.
Cruz made his announcement during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The 44-year-old Republican’s eligibility as a candidate has already hit controversy as Cruz was born in Canada, while the U.S. Constitution restricts the presidency to "natural-born citizens" of the United States. Timothy Carney, a fellow at the Washington D.C.-based think tank American Enterprise Institute, profiles the candidate.
Q: Who is Ted Cruz?
A:Ted Cruz is a U.S. Senator from Texas. He's a Republican, first elected in 2012. He is conservative, and is seen as a leader of the Tea Party movement. Cruz was born in Canada, but he was a U.S. citizen when he was born, and so he is allowed to run for president, according to the standard interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
Q: Is he a real counterweight to Democrat potential Hillary Clinton?
A:Cruz lacks the experience and political network Hillary Clinton has, but so did Barack Obama in 2008. He is focussing his attacks on corporate welfare, which will be an effective criticism of Clinton. First, though, he would need to win the Republican Party nomination against many strong candidates.
Q: What is he famous for?
A:Cruz is famous as an anti-establishment fighter. He challenged his own party's leadership as much as he battles Democrats. Most famously, he led the filibuster [prolonged debate to delay legislation – Ed.] that shut down the government for 17 days in 2013, in an effort to block President Obama's healthcare law.
Q: What’s the most important we heard in Cruz’s speech in Lynchburg, Virginia?
A:Cruz played up his very American and compelling family story, including his father from Cuba, his mother from a European background, and his wife with missionary experience. Also, he played up religious conservative issues more than most people expected.