- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 21, 2013

The noisiest hubbub over the birthplace of Sen. Ted Cruz has not started yet. But it will. The Texas Republican, 42, was born in Canada, which has prompted critics to question his eligibility to run for president. “My mother was born in Wilmington, Del. She’s a U.S. citizen, so I’m a U.S. citizen,” Mr. Cruz told ABC News, when queried about it. “I’m not going to engage in a legal debate. The facts are clear.”

This is old territory. The question loomed in 2008 with then-presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, who was born in Panama. And while President Obama released his long form birth certificate two years ago to prove he was born in Hawaii, skeptics still doubt the claim. In simple review: according to the U.S. Constitution, a president must be 35 years of age, live within the U.S. for 14 years, and be a “natural born citizen.” Neither Constitution or U.S. Supreme Court, however, has defined that third requirement.

But there is reasonable discussion: a 53-page Congressional Research Service paper filed in 2009 by legislative attorney Jack Maskell parsed it out.

“The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term ‘natural born’ citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship ‘by birth’ or ‘at birth,’ either by being born ‘in’ the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship ‘at birth.’ Such term, however, would not include a person who was not a U.S. citizen by birth or at birth, and who was thus born an ‘alien’ required to go through the legal process of ‘naturalization’ to become a U.S. citizen,” Mr. Maskell explained.

“There is no requirement of two ‘citizen-parents,’ ” the report noted.

CRUZ BESTS PAUL

“The results are in,” says Allen B. West, who launched an online Republican presidential straw poll in June through his Guardian Fund, a political action committee currently raising money for a dozen conservative candidates who are either veterans or minorities. The winner of the straw poll was Sen. Ted Cruz with 58 percent of the vote, besting Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The pair of lawmakers were the final contenders in a runoff; the roster previously included Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Trump, and Rick Santorum. Mr. West claims there were “tens of thousands of ballots cast” in the poll, which ended Friday.

“Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are both strong leaders who deeply care about the future of America, but they can’t both be president,” he says. “This nation we love is heading down the wrong path. The liberal progressives in Washington view the U.S. as their experimental laboratory for their failed leftist policies and it’s compromising our economic prosperity, national security and individual liberty.”

ROLLING STONE GATHERS MOSS

The polls emerge: Two-thirds of Americans say Rolling Stone’s “Boston Bomber” glamorized cover image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is “inappropriate,” according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. The numbers: 65 percent disapproved of the image, 15 percent did not. Another 51 percent said the cover “glorifies” Mr. Tsarnaev’s actions, 26 percent disagreed and 23 percent were unsure.

BIG MENU

Some grocery stores in New York City are doing a brisk business by selling shipping barrels to welfare recipients who buy taxpayer-funded, nonperishable supplies with their food stamps, then pack the 55-gallon containers and ship them to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. So reveals the New York Post.

“The feds say the moveable feasts go against the intent of the $86 billion welfare program for impoverished Americans. A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service said welfare benefits are reserved for households that buy and prepare food together. She said states should intervene if people are caught shipping nonperishables abroad,” the newspaper said.

It is a jumbo-sized form of welfare abuse, says Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “I don’t want food stamp police to see what people do with their rice and beans, but it’s wrong,” Mr. Tanner told the Post. “The purpose of this program is to help Americans who don’t have enough to eat. This is not intended as a form of foreign aid.”

The U.S. spent $522.7 million on foreign aid to the Caribbean last fiscal year, government data show.

RIVERA FOR MAYOR?

Dressed only in a pair of rose-colored glasses and a white towel, Geraldo Rivera tweeted out a nearly nude portrait of himself early Sunday morning as evidence that “70 was the new 50.” The Fox News host turned 70 on July Fourth.

His most dutiful critics, meanwhile, recall that a decade ago, the eager newsman revealed U.S. troop movements on a live broadcast while embedded with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division during the war in Iraq. The Defense Department retracted his press credentials, saying he had “compromised operational information.”

This time around, critics are also vexed by the, uh, amount of information Mr. Rivera has revealed. And things got political.

He quickly drew comparison to Anthony D. Weiner, who left Congress after tweeting lurid images of himself only to declare his candidacy for New York City mayor.

“Geraldo throws his hat into the New York mayoral race,” joked CNN host Anthony Bourdain in a tweet Sunday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Geraldo’s towel,” tweeted Fox News host Greg Gutfeld.

RESTLESS DEMOCRATS

Republican strategists, please note: “Action August” is the motto of the month ahead at Organizing for Action, the aggressive, 3 million-member grass-roots group that grew from President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.

“While lawmakers are home for congressional recess, thousands of supporters will be holding events in key districts across the country,” advises executive Jon Carson.

On their agenda: immigration reform, “gun violence prevention,” “calling out climate deniers” and “telling the truth about Obamacare.”

POLL DU JOUR

77 percent of Americans say that “worse jobs, income and housing” among black Americans is not due to discrimination, “but mostly something else”; 60 percent of blacks agree, 83 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 70 percent of Hispanics agree.

20 percent of Americans overall say this condition is mostly due to “discrimination”; 37 percent of blacks, 15 percent of whites and 27 percent of Hispanics agree.

74 percent of Americans overall say black males are more likely to go to prison than white males not because of discrimination, but mostly because of “something else”; 48 percent of blacks, 80 percent of whites and 73 percent of Hispanics agree.

25 percent overall say the rate of incarceration among blacks is due mostly to discrimination; 50 percent of blacks, 19 percent of whites and 24 percent of Hispanics agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 4,373 U.S. adults conducted June 13 to July 5, and released Friday.

Shrugs of indifference, squawks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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