Donald Trump rarely misses when he swings hard at a rival. But when it comes to his questioning of Ted Cruz’s eligibility to run for president, Cruz has a formidable defense that draws on the backing of not only legal scholars but conservative media.
Confidence in the strength of his position came across clearly Thursday night as Cruz and Trump squared off on the issue for the first time in person at the Fox Business debate, with Cruz turning questions about how his Canadian birthplace affects his eligibility to run for president into a blow on Trump, saying that the real estate mogul is only stirring up those concerns because he is trailing Cruz in some polls in Iowa.
Cruz’s ability to authoritatively dismiss the issue stems in part from the backing he is enjoying from conservative talk radio, where some of the most influential hosts appear to be circling the wagons around Cruz on the matter since it burst to the forefront last week. Mark Levin, who claims around 7 million listeners a week, has been especially outspoken in objecting to Trump’s persistent pushing of the matter, something Cruz’s team has pointed to in arguing that they don’t expect the “birther” argument to move numbers with conservatives.
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