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 ↑
New Hampshire State Rep. Laurence Rappaport
New Hampshire State Rep. Laurence Rappaport, R-Colebrook, is tired of telling his constituents that he’s not sure of Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as president.
So late last week, Rappaport says, he met with New Hampshire’s secretary of state, William Gardner, who oversees the state’s elections, to demand answers. Rappaport took with him a pair of allegedly genuine, Kenyan birth certificates that declare Obama was born in Africa, and not in the U.S., as has been widely reported.
“Several of my constituents have raised the issue, ‘Where was Mr. Obama born? Was he born in Kenya, or was he born in Hawaii?’” Rappaport told WND. “I have two Kenyan birth certificates that I presented to Mr. Gardner, and he said he would ‘look into it.’”
“Regardless of where he was born, is he a natural born citizen as required by the Constitution? I don’t know the answer to that,” Rappaport said. “My understanding is that … a natural born citizen had to be someone with two American parents. If that’s true, his father was a Kenyan and therefore a British subject at the time. Then there’s the issue: If he was born out of the country, was his mother old enough at the time to confer citizenship?
“I expect somebody to come up with the legal answers to this,” Rappaport told WND, “and so far that hasn’t happened.”
“There’s been virtually nothing released regarding [Obama's] school records or his birth records, and the thing that bothers me is that I think as a citizen of the United States, we have the right to know that,” Rappaport said. “So far I haven’t gotten answers to any of those questions, and my constituents haven’t either. We feel we need to know this.”
Rappaport clarified that the Kenyan birth certificates he found online – one with a footprint, one without – aren’t necessarily reliable, as they haven’t been verified by experts, and Rappaport doesn’t claim to be an expert. He said he merely presented them to Gardner because online images are all the proof he has of Obama’s birth, whether in the U.S. or in Africa.
“Regardless of where this lands, I’m willing to accept the evidence as presented in a court,” Rappaport said, “but so far that hasn’t been done.”
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 over the dispute 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.
Thus far, dozens of the cases have been thrown out of court or dismissed without a hearing, and, as Rappaport pointed out, none of courts have yet required Obama produce documentation of his eligibility to serve as president.
WND has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes his long-form birth certificate, kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records and his adoption records.
What Rappaport has found, however, is a flood of support. WND asked him what kind of response he has gotten since news of his meeting with Gardner was first circulated online last week:
“Oh my! Do you even have to ask?” he laughed. “I haven’t been off the phone for two or three days now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve gotten over 100 emails.”
WND asked him if had also gotten angry email from Obama supporters, as WND receives regularly.
“No, not one,” he said, “and that tells me something too.”
In some of the initial, widely circulated reports of Rappaport’s meeting with Gardner, it was reported that New Hampshire’s secretary of state agreed to open an “investigation,” but Rappaport told WND Gardner merely said he’d “look into it.”
“I hope that either there’s a formal investigation – though that would fall under the Attorney General – of potential fraud,” Rappaport said. “But I’m not coming down on either side; I just want the answer. I think we’re due the answer.”
WND contacted Gardner’s office for confirmation of the meeting or comment, but received no response.
The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.