Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A newly unearthed recording reveals a state attorney general explaining how the president’s eligibility could be tested in the courts by a lawyer defending a client against an accusation brought under legislation signed by Obama.
The recording of Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli puts him on a growing list of elected leaders, members of Congress and state officials who have addressed concerns over Obama’s eligibility to occupy the White House.
Cuccinelli released a statement this week that the recording, apparently made either while he was campaigning for the office or shortly after he was elected, was a “hypothetical” answer to a “hypothetical” question.
Spokesman Brian Gottstein in Cuccinelli’s office today explained to WND Cuccinelli is battling the Obama White House on many fronts: health care, the EPA’s determination on carbon dioxide and others.
“If it does get taken to court, we’ll deal with it then. That’s right now not what he’s doing.”
Gottstein continued, “We just have no interest in the issue. We’re going after the administration on all these other fronts. This is not on our radar screen. Our consistent message has been this was not an issue in his campaign. And it’s not an issue now.”
In an earlier statement released to Politico, Cuccinelli tried to separate himself from the recording, stating, “I absolutely believe that President Obama was born in the United States. I don’t buy into the claims that he wasn’t.”
But the audio record makes clear his views:
The recording appeared first on the liberal blogger “Not Larry Sabato” site. An unknown questioner asks: “What can we do about Obama and the birth certificate thing?”
“It’ll get tested in my view when he signs a law and someone is convicted of violating it, and one of their defenses will be it’s not a law if someone qualified to be president isn’t signing it,” Cuccinelli responds.
When asked if he could do something as attorney general, Cuccinelli says, “Only if there’s a conflict where we’re suing the federal government for a law they’ve passed.”
He replies that is “possible.”
But he said a state couldn’t simply file a case.
“Someone’s going to have to come forward with nailed-down testimony that he was born in Place B, wherever that is. The speculation is Kenya,” the recording reveals Cuccinelli explaining. “And that doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility.”
According to a report at the Raw Story, the Not Larry Sabato blog obtained the tape with the promise not to reveal exactly when and how it was made – because that would compromise the identity of the person who provided it.
Online forum participants had both praise and criticism for the comments.
“ok. if he really is a u.s. citizen, why has he fought tooth and nail the dozens of lawsuits demanding he show real proof?” wrote one. “why would any honest man fight dozens of times against something that should be simple and straightforward if it were really true?”
“I just have one comment that Americans should consider. Obama wants us to put MORE information on the census form than he has given us himself to be our president!” added another.
“I am glad McDonnel (sic) has the since (sic) to come out of the rain and distance himself from Cuccinelli. I AM SO MAD I COULD SPIT,” said another.
The last writer’s reference was to Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose office issued a statement that the question of Obama’s eligibility was a “nonissue.”
He responded, “I’m not going to get involved in that,” at first when he was asked if he thinks the president is an “American citizen and a Christian.”
But he responded, “I don’t know,” when pressed over whether he thinks Obama is a citizen.
“Is he a Christian?” Dominick followed.
“I don’t know,” Broun said, explaining that that’s something known only to the individual and God. “I’m a Christian but only me and the Lord know that for sure.”
Among others who have said they have doubts are Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey, a long list of lawmakers in the state of Arizona, and U.S. Reps. Bill Posey, R-Fla.; 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; and others.
As WND reported, even Democrats are raising the question, although as a political maneuver. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Robert Menendez 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?”
WND has also reported efforts to raise the question of Obama’s eligibility at the state and national levels. Several state legislatures are working on proposals that would require presidential candidates to submit proof of their eligibility.
The issue was not the first created by Cuccinelli in his new position in Virginia. He earlier wrote to the state’s public universities explaining they could not impose anti-discrimination plans that favor homosexuals because it’s not in state policy.
Cuccinelli, who was a state senator since 2002, also suggested on another recording that Social Security numbers were the government’s way of tracking residents.
In a recording, he said he and his wife were considering, for their seventh child, not getting a Social Security number.
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 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.; 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 H. 2442, a proposal she sponsored to require future presidential candidates to 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.”
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.