Cruz tries to sidestep 2016 question


Ashley Killough


(CNN) — He’s not saying yes. He’s not saying no.

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Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas danced around questions in a recent interview about whether he plans to run for president in 2016.

The first-term Republican senator has been peppered with such questions because his summer travel schedule reads like an itinerary for a potential presidential candidate: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida – four early-voting states in the primary and caucus calendar – are all on the list.

Asked in a recent interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl if he’s running for president, Cruz answered: “We are having a national debate about which direction the country should go.”

“And what I am doing now is trying to participate in that national debate,” he added. “I understand that everyone likes to focus on the politics.”

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In the interview that aired Sunday, Karl pressed further on whether Cruz is ready to run for president.

“You know, I’m not focused on the politics,” Cruz replied.

“Is it fair to say you’re not?” Karl asked.

“I’ve been in the Senate all of seven months. The last office I was elected to was student council. So this has been a bit of a whirlwind,” Cruz said.

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Cruz press secretary Catherine Frazier has explained the trips in the past by saying, “We’ve been receiving an overwhelming amount of requests to speak.”

“The senator is willing and excited go anywhere where people want to listen to his vision and message for restoring our nation’s economic growth,” she said.

Cruz’s eligibility for president, however, has come into question, given that he was born in Canada to a father from Cuba and a mother born in the United States. Cruz addressed the question in the ABC interview.

“My mother was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She is a U.S. citizen. So I am a U.S. citizen by birth,” he said.

During his appearance in Iowa on Friday, he was again asked by reporters if he was running for president. After Cruz gave a 160-word answer, Karl reported, the journalists followed up: “Was that a no or a yes?”

CNN’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.