Ted Cruz
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reuters

Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, dismissed talk of running for president in 2016 in an interview broadcast on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.

“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,” Cruz said Friday while in Iowa, home of the first presidential caucuses. “I’m not focused on the politics. … I’ve been in the office for all of seven months; the last office I was elected to was student council. So this has been a bit of a whirlwind.”

ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Cruz about his eligibility for the White House, which has been questioned since he was born in Canada.

“My mother was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She’s a U.S. citizen, so I’m a U.S. citizen,” Cruz said.

“I’m not going to engage in a legal debate. The facts are clear,” he added. “I can tell you where I was born and who my parents were. And then as a legal matter, others can worry about that. I’m not going to engage.”

Cruz has made himself as a staunch opponent of immigration reform that includes “pathway to citizenship” for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. That’s a key component of the immigration bill his fellow (and rival) Republican Hispanic “rising star,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, helped push through the Senate.

Cruz said Rubio “proceeded in good faith” in his efforts, but added: “I think a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who followed the rules.”