Ex-FEC Chair: Ted Cruz’s Birth Issue Is A Closer Call Than John McCain’s Was

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Trevor Potter — a former Federal Election Commission chairman who served as Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign legal counsel in 2008 — told Bloomberg View that he doesn’t think Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has as strong a case for his eligibility to be President as McCain did.

“After conducting our legal analysis of the term ‘natural born citizen’ we were very comfortable with Senator McCain’s eligibility based on multiple factors,” Potter said. “Without those specific factors — two U.S. citizen parents, birth on a U.S. base on U.S.-controlled territory — our comfort level that the candidate met the constitutional requirement would have declined.”

McCain’s birth to two American citizens on a U.S. military base in the Panama Canal zone — a U.S.-controlled territory at the time — received scrutiny during his 2008 campaign for the White House. Now similar concerns — inflamed by Donald Trump — are being raised about Cruz, who was born to an American mother in Canada in 1970.

Potter said the campaign took challenges involving McCain’s birth seriously, and after looking into it, believed that all the facts in McCain’s case would have supported his presidential eligibility in court.

“One American parent and one foreign parent; a birth in a foreign country and not on a U.S. base; and not while the parents were in the service of the nation; dual citizenship for an entire adult life — all of those facts are certainly different from Senator McCain’s case,” Potter said.

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