U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.
While much of the media and political establishment relegate presidential eligibility issues to the “fringe,” a congressman is trying to make his bill requiring future presidential candidates prove “natural born citizenship” a major campaign issue.
Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., recently dispatched a message to constituents and supporters asking for help in an effort to defeat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 2010 election.
He introduced the proposal saying, “I wrote to you not long ago asking that you stand behind me in defending our nation’s constitution. … My bill (H.R. 1503) that would require all candidates for president in the future to provide documentation (such as a birth certificate) to prove they are natural born citizens of the United States, has resulted in the national liberal left making me Target #1 for defeat in the 2010 congressional elections.
“As I said before,” he continued, “I’m being lambasted by the media and late-night comics and Nancy Pelosi’s team has already paid for tens of thousands of automated phone calls in my district and are raising a multi-million-dollar campaign war chest to defeat me.”
But today, he noted, there’s a “much larger cause” at stake.
“My campaign has contributed upwards of $35,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee to help its efforts in retiring Nancy Pelosi in the upcoming elections,” he said. “I made this decision as I believe ousting Pelosi’s super-liberal and strong-handed ways is just as – if not more – important than my own personal re-election.”
The provisions of Posey’s H.R. 1503 are straightforward:
“To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”
The bill also provides:
“Congress finds that under … the Constitution of the United States, in order to be eligible to serve as President, an individual must be a natural born citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 35 years and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years.”
The sponsors’ goal is to have the bill become effective for the
2012 presidential election. The legislation now is pending in a House committee.
Posey and the others who have signed on as co-sponsors — Reps. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas; Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Ted Poe, R-Texas; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; John Campbell, R-Calif.; John R. Carter, R-Texas; John Culberson, R-Texas; Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; and Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas — have received both praise and criticism.
Posey’s chief of staff, Tonnie Wybensinger, told WND the congressman has been surprised by the support he’s received for the bill once people understand his goal.
“We have gotten a lot of very positive feedback from our constituents from across the country, not people who necessarily are accusing Obama of not being a citizen, but who wanted to clarify the Constitution,” she said.
The congressional spokeswoman said many times people have expressed the belief that presidential candidates already are required to document their citizenship, birthplace and other information to be a candidate.
In fact, that is not necessarily so.
Wybensinger said Posey launched the plan to require documentation of a candidate’s eligibility “to put an end to the controversy.”
She said the campaign hasn’t necessarily used polling data to determine that the issue is one that strikes a chord with constituents, but a WND petition of citizens demanding Obama’s documentation be release is closing in on half a million signatures already.
Wybensinger told WND most people are surprised to discover that it’s not already a standard requirement and support closing the loophole as Posey has proposed.
“When we’ve been able to explain what this bill actually does, in putting this controversy to an end and the fact it’s not about President Obama, they say, ‘That makes sense,'” she said.
Other members of Congress also have expressed concern, but instead of making it a top priority, they are letting it slide in favor of discussions about the war in Afghanistan, the recession and other issues, she said.
She also said there’s been a problem with getting the mainstream media to report the issue as outlined in the bill and not as some sort of “fringe” question.
“We’ve had a hard time getting the mainstream media to report this fairly,” she said.
Wybensinger said Posey has been an advocate of government accountability and transparency since before he was in Congress. She said he filed the current legislation hoping he could, through a routine procedure, close off the debate over presidential candidates’ eligibility.
“That’s the whole point of this legislation, so we never have to talk about it again and we can move forward,” she said.
“As long as this is out there, the controversy is going to continue.”
In a previous interview on the Andrea Shea King Show, Posey explained his concerns.
“The last election is over. I don’t think that outcome is going to change. Personally, I think it’s futile to go there, but looking toward the future I think it would be reckless if we do not do everything we could to eliminate problems like that in the future. And that’s why I filed the bill,” he said.
“I don’t think a Supreme Court would remove a president from office if they heard the case. But … we should make a good-faith effort to make sure that things in the future are as they should be,” he said.
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.
Complicating the situation is Obama’s decision to spend sums estimated in excess of $1.7 million to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest all of the questions.
WND has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes 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, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
Because of the dearth of information about Obama’s eligibility, WND founder Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post billboards asking a simple question: “Where’s the birth certificate?”
The campaign followed a petition that has collected more than 480,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.
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.
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