Ted Cruz got the birther question about 30 minutes into Thursday night's debate, and he used his response to ridicule the notion that he might not be eligible for the White House because of his birth in Canada. He's eligible, he reiterated, because his mother was an American citizen. He said some birther theories are so extreme that even Donald Trump—the rival bringing up the issue most often—would be disqualified because his mother was born in Scotland. “On the issue of citizenship, Donald, I’m not going to use your mother’s birth against you," Cruz said, per CNN. Trump, he added, dismissed the issue as a non-starter last year but is now raising it anew. "Since September, the Constitution hasn't changed, but the poll numbers have." That got applause, as did this: “I’m not going to be taking legal advice from Donald Trump."
Trump, for his part, acknowledged that he's only bringing it up again because Cruz is doing better in the polls. “It’s true. He never had a chance, now he’s doing better, he’s got probably a 4% or 5% chance," he joked. But he insisted the issue is legit. "I'm not bringing a suit, I promise," he said. "But the Democrats are going to sue." He then raised the hypothetical of making Cruz his vice president but not being sure he'd be able to serve. After which, Cruz dished a hypothetical right back: I'll make you my VP, he told Trump, and then you can become president if you're right. "I like that," said Trump, who heard some boos from the audience while making his case. Maggie Haberman at the New York Times: "Cruz just did the very thing that literally every Republican has been talking about for months. He confronted Trump head-on, and did it more effectively than Jeb ever did."