Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Screen capture of AOL News lead page
Internet giant America Online headlined its daily news coverage today with a story and polls covering the “Birthers,” a group of people it describes as “fringe conservatives convinced that Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because of supposed questions surrounding his birth status.”
Politico’s coverage of the questions that still linger over Obama’s birth, however, is far from kind.
“Viewed as irrelevant by the White House, and as embarrassing by much of the Republican Party,” writes Politico blogger Ben Smith, “the subculture still thrives from the conservative website WorldNetDaily, which claims that some 300,000 people have signed a petition demanding more information on Obama’s birth.”
Smith then states unequivocally that there is no basis for questioning Obama’s eligibility, that Obama “was in fact born in Honolulu in 1961″ and that “long-settled law” resolves his dual citizenship at birth, another fount of legal questions surrounding the sitting president’s eligibility to serve in the Oval Office. Smith cites Hawaii officials who have testified that there do exist records – though unreleased to the public or the courts – verifying Obama’s American birth.
To add fuel to his argument, Smith then quotes from several sources, including radio host Michael Medved, to compile a list of descriptions for those he brands as conspiracy theorists, including the following: embarrassing, destructive, crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitative, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters, the worst enemy of the conservative movement, weird, demented, sick, troubled and not suitable for civilized company.
Politico quotes David Emery, an urban legends writer for About.com, who suggests those that want to see proof of Obama’s eligibility are fueled by revulsion and rage.
“Thanks to the relentless agitation of the conspiracy theorists and the sheer quantity of hypothetical scenarios and legal arguments floating around,” Emery states, “they’ve clearly succeeded in planting unreasonable doubts in reasonable people’s minds.”
As WND has reported on several occasions, however, none of the so-called “evidence” of Obama’s constitutional eligibility produced thus far is beyond reasonable doubt nor as iron-clad as simply producing an authentic birth certificate, something everyday Americans are required to do regularly, but the president still refuses to do.
As Jerome Corsi, WND senior staff writer, explained, “The main reason doubts persist regarding Obama’s birth certificate is this question: If an original Hawaii-doctor-generated and Hawaii-hospital-released Obama birth certificate exists, why wouldn’t the senator and his campaign simply order the document released and end the controversy?
“That Obama has not ordered Hawaii officials to release the document,” Corsi writes, “leaves doubts as to whether an authentic Hawaii birth certificate exists for Obama.”
In its poll, AOL is asking readers: “Do you have any doubt about Obama’s eligibility to be president because of his birth status?”
With more than 250,000 responses, results were nearly split with 47 percent saying yes, and 53 percent saying no.
Readers were also asked, “How damaging is this conspiracy theory to Obama?”
With more than 178,00 responses, 52 percent said “Not at all,” 28 percent said “Somewhat,” and 20 percent said “Very.”
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Several of the cases have involved emergency appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court in which justices have declined even to hear arguments. Among the cases turned down without a hearing at the high court have been petitions by Philip Berg, Cort Wrotnowski, Leo Donofrio and Orly Taitz.
The USJF case mentioned in the AOL article was filed on behalf of presidential candidate Ambassador Alan Keyes and others.
As part of the case, a subpoena was served on Occidental College for its records. School officials immediately contacted lawyers for Obama and said the demand would have to be answered unless they intervened.
Obama’s lawyers then submitted a demand to the court arguing the case was moot because the election was over and the correct place to resolve such concerns was in Congress. The lawyers also alleged a variety of procedural errors.
In his response, Kreep pointed out that Obama’s lawyers failed for 27 days to notify the USJF of alleged procedural errors. He said the housing and academic records are of prime importance.
“From those records, statements as to whether MR. OBAMA is, indeed, a ‘natural born citizen’ may be found,” he said.
At the end of February, at least two active-duty soldiers serving in Iraq as well as a retired major general offered to be plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Obama’s eligibility.
Taitz explained the issue isn’t resolved as many Obama supporters claim.
The “Certification of Live Birth” posted on the Internet actually doesn’t confirm a birth location, she said.
“[Hawaii] statute 138 allows foreign born children of HI residents to get HI [Certificates of Live Birth] and get them based on a statement of one relative only,” she said.
She also said Hawaiian officials, while they confirmed a birth certificate exists, did not exclude the possibility it was “one obtained for a foreign born child.”
She also cited Obama’s immigration to Indonesia at age 5, when he was considered an Indonesian citizen.
Although Obama officials have told WND all such allegations are “garbage,” here is a partial listing and status update for some of the cases over Obama’s eligibility:
New Jersey attorney Mario Apuzzo has filed a case on behalf of Charles Kerchner and others alleging Congress didn’t properly ascertain that Obama is qualified to hold the office of president.
Pennsylvania Democrat Philip Berg has three cases pending, including Berg vs. Obama in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a separate Berg vs. Obama which is under seal at the U.S. District Court level and Hollister vs. Soetoro a/k/a Obama, brought on behalf of a retired military member who could be facing recall to active duty by Obama.
Leo Donofrio of New Jersey filed a lawsuit claiming Obama’s dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court but denied a full hearing.
Cort Wrotnowski filed suit against Connecticut’s secretary of state, making a similar argument to Donofrio. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was denied a full hearing.
Chicago attorney Andy Martin sought legal action requiring Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle to release Obama’s vital statistics record. The case was dismissed by Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Bert Ayabe.
Lt. Col. Donald Sullivan sought a temporary restraining order to stop the Electoral College vote in North Carolina until Barack Obama’s eligibility could be confirmed, alleging doubt about Obama’s citizenship. His case was denied.
In Ohio, David M. Neal sued to force the secretary of state to request documents from the Federal Elections Commission, the Democratic National Committee, the Ohio Democratic Party and Obama to show the presidential candidate was born in Hawaii. The case was denied.
In Washington state, Steven Marquis sued the secretary of state seeking a determination on Obama’s citizenship. The case was denied.
In Georgia, Rev. Tom Terry asked the state Supreme Court to authenticate Obama’s birth certificate. His request for an injunction against Georgia’s secretary of state was denied by Georgia Superior Court Judge Jerry W. Baxter.
California attorney Orly Taitz has brought a case, Lightfoot vs. Bowen, on behalf of Gail Lightfoot, the vice presidential candidate on the ballot with Ron Paul, four electors and two registered voters.