DALLAS — Citizenship questions and protests cropped up Tuesday night as Sen. Ted Cruz hosted a Town Hall in Dallas to rally Texans to "Defund Obamacare," federal health care reforms that were passed by Congress and signed into law in 2010.
It's a visit that is increasing speculation about Cruz's political future. Is the freshman Republican setting up a run for the White House?
There were a few protesters among the crowd welcoming Sen. Cruz back to Texas; they were quickly escorted out by security.
Cruz wasted little time working the crowd.
"Having spent a little bit of time in Washington, D.C., it's great to be back in America," he said.
The Dallas stop is part of Cruz's "Defund Obamacare" tour.
"Obamacare is the No. 1 job-killer in America," he said.
The senator's cross-country junket is increasing his national presence and raising speculation that he may be setting up a presidential run.
"We're seeing the rise of the grass roots," Cruz said. "It's why I'm spending every day until September 30 working to help energize grass roots activists."
And Cruz — who was born in Canada — answered critics who question his eligibility should he decide to make a bid for the White House.
"My mother was an American citizen by birth, so under American law, I was a U.S. citizen by law," he said.
Cruz once again said he would renounce the Canadian citizenship that comes with his birthplace, calling the controversy "silly."
"I will note it seems to be the silly season in politics right now," he said.
The "Defund Obamacare" tour will also visit Tampa, Nashville and Birmingham later this week, with Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Wilmington on the schedule for next week.
While Cruz is a tea party favorite, his fight against Obamacare has created a kind of civil war inside the Republican Party.
While GOP leaders want it repealed, they say it should not be tied to funding the federal government, a condition that Cruz backs.