WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama toasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday night, celebrating the United States' relationship with its neighbor to the north in a state dinner in the East Room of the White House.
Obama celebrated the shared values of the two countries -- things like equality, opportunity and the belief that "if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it ... no matter the circumstances of your birth."
And no one, the president joked, should know that better than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
"Where else could a boy born in Calgary grow up to run for president of the United States?" Obama said.
Cruz, indeed, was born in Canada; he is a U.S. citizen because of his American-born mother. GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has tried to raise doubts about Cruz's eligibility to be president, but most legal scholars side with the senator.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest also poked fun at Cruz and the Republican Party in January on this issue, telling reporters: "I think it would be quite ironic if after seven or eight years of drama over the president's birth certificate, if Republican primary voters were to choose Sen. Cruz as their nominee, somebody who actually wasn't born in the United States and only 18 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship."
Obama also thanked Canada Thursday night for not building a wall along its southern border, and he told Trudeau that he has edged out another famous Canadian named Justin.
"Here in America," he said, "you may well be the most popular Canadian named Justin."