Chelsea Schilling is a commentary editor and staff writer for WND and a proud U.S. Army veteran. She has also worked as a news producer at USA Radio Network and as a news reporter for the Sacramento Union.More ↓Less ↑
Tennessee state Senate speaker and Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey
Tennessee state Senate speaker and gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey has joined the growing ranks of officials and prominent commentators who say they are unsure of whether President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen.
Ramsey was asked Feb. 2 about the issue by Maclin Davis, a former state lawmaker and attorney for the state GOP, the Associated Press reported.
“I don’t know whether President Obama is a citizen of the United States or not,” Ramsey responded. “I don’t know what the whole deal is there.”
However, Ramsey added that he doesn’t believe citizens are concerned about Obama’s citizenship status.
“But I’m going to tell you something,” he said. “When you walk out on the street down here, people don’t really care about this issue.”
He said dwelling on the issue of whether Obama is eligible to hold office distracts from the Republican message on jobs, education and fiscal conservatism.
“When we get off on sidelines like that, that’s when people say ‘aw,’ they close their ears and don’t listen,” Ramsey said. “I’m not saying you’re not right, Mac, I’m not saying you’re not right – but that’s not how you win elections.”
According to the report, Ramsey acknowledged that he might be causing some apprehension among his political staff for even addressing the eligibility issue.
“I’ve got a table full of advisers sitting over there, and they’ll probably start cringing right about now when I start talking about some of this stuff,” he said.
Ramsey is just the latest addition to a long line of lawmakers and prominent personalities who have questioned Obama’s citizenship status or asked why he hasn’t released a birth certificate.
As WND reported, Democrats plan to raise the issue of Obama’s eligibility to occupy the Oval Office during this year’s U.S. Senate races.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Robert Menendez has distributed a memo to U.S. Senate campaign offices stating Democrats need to demand that their opponents answer a series of questions, including, “Do you believe that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen?”
While Espero said he believes Obama was born in Hawaii, he explained, “My decision to file the legislation was primarily a result of the fuss over President Obama’s birth records and the lingering questions,” Espero said.
Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Ritze
Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Ritze sponsored a proposal to demand eligibility documentation from candidates for political office, including the president. Ritze, who says he regularly gets questions from his constituents about Obama’s eligibility, said an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” on the issues of candidate qualifications and eligibility.
U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.
In March 2009, Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., proposed H.R. 1503, known as the Presidential Eligibility Act. It is still pending in a House committee and has nearly a dozen co-sponsors, including Reps. 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.; and Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas; Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; and Kenny Marchant, R-Texas.
The measure seeks 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 … to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”
Arizona state Sen. Sylvia Allen
Arizona state Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the controversy over Obama and his birth certificate has raised questions.
“It just makes sense and will stop any controversy in the future to just show you are a natural born citizen,” she told the Arizona Capitol Times.
Arizona state Rep. Judy Burges
Arizona state Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, told WND she has been getting questions from other states about H2442, a proposal she sponsored to require future presidential candidates to reveal show they are qualified under the U.S. Constitution’s demand for a “natural born citizen.” The bill is co-sponsored by some three dozen lawmakers who also want state officials to independently verify the accuracy of documentation.
U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga.
Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., sent a Dec. 10 letter to the White House formally requesting that President Obama address questions about his place of birth – and thus, whether he is qualified to be president. Deal, who is running for governor, said several months ago he would ask Obama to prove his eligibility.
“I have looked at the documentation that is publicly available, and it leaves many things to be desired,” Deal said in November.
“I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records – all of that is fair game,” Palin said. “The McCain-Palin campaign didn’t do a good enough job in that area.”
Former House majority leader Tom DeLay
In October, former House majority leader Tom DeLay offered his views on Obama’s birth, saying, “Why wouldn’t the president of the United States show the American people his birth certificate? You have to show a birth certificate to play Little League baseball. It’s a question that should be answered. It’s in the Constitution that you have to be a natural born citizen of the United States to be president.”
“I believe he’s a natural born citizen of the United States. Therefore, even if he acts un-American and seems to go against American interests, he’s still an American-born citizen,” he said. “All that being said, probably Barack Obama could solve this problem and make the birthers back off by simply showing … his long form birth certificate.”
Because that isn’t happening, “There’s some other issue there.”
“I don’t know what it is that he doesn’t want people to see the birth certificate. I don’t think it has to do with his natural-born citizenship,” Franks continued. “He’s spent an awful lot of money to keep people from seeing the birth certificate. … I think it has to do with something else.”
Feminist icon Camille Paglia
Even feminist icon Camille Paglia, a Salon.com columnist who earlier wrote about the ambiguities of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, told a National Public Radio audience that those who have questions about his eligibility actually have a point. “Yes, there were ambiguities about Obama’s birth certificate that have never been satisfactorily resolved. And the embargo on Obama’s educational records remains troubling,” she wrote.
“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.”
Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz.
In his Jan. 26 appearance on “Hardball,” former Rep. J.D. Hayworth was asked by Chris Matthews, “Are you as far right as the birthers? Are you one of those who believes that the president should have to prove that he’s a citizen of the United States and not an illegal immigrant? Are you that far right?”
Hayworth replied, “Well, gosh, we all had to bring our birth certificates to show we were who we said we were, and we were the age we said we were, to play football in youth sports. Shouldn’t we know exactly that anyone who wants to run for public office is a natural-born citizen of the United States, and is who they say they are?”
“Should the governor of Hawaii produce evidence that the president is one of us, an American?” Matthews asked. “Do you think that’s a worthy pastime for the governor of Hawaii right now?”
“No, I … Look, I’m just saying the president should come forward with the information, that’s all,” said Hayworth. “Why should we depend on the governor of Hawaii?”
Longtime New York radio talker Lynn Samuels did the same. “We don’t even know where he was born,” she said. “I absolutely believe he was not born in this country.”
WND has reported on multiple 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 Obama 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.
Further, others question his citizenship by virtue of his attendance in Indonesian schools during his childhood and question on what passport did he travel to Pakistan three decades ago.
Adding fuel to the fire is Obama’s persistent refusal to release documents that could provide answers and the appointment – and payments to one of his eligibility lawyers at a cost confirmed to be at least $1.7 million – of numerous lawyers to defend against all requests for his documentation. That’s in addition to the work done by U.S. attorneys defending Obama’s eligibility, as in this case.
While his supporters cite an online version of a “Certification of Live Birth” from Hawaii as his birth verification, critics point out such documents actually were issued for children not born in the state.
The ultimate question unaddressed to date: Is Obama a natural-born citizen, and, if so, why hasn’t documentation been provided? And, of course, if he is not, what does it mean to the 2008 election or the U.S. Constitution if it is revealed that there has been a violation?
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
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.