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 new Washington Post/ABC poll has asked whether Americans believe President Obama was born in the United States – arguably one component of the Constitution’s demand that presidents be “natural born” citizens – and it has revealed that even one in seven Democrats says he was born “in another country.”
Producers of the poll, which done by the mainstream media is a reflection itself of how much concern over Obama’s eligibility has grown, described the assessment and its finding that 20 percent of all respondents said he was born abroad to 77 percent with faith that he was born in the United States as taking “another bite at the birther apple.”
But when David Weigel blogged about it at the newspaper, citing 31 percent of Republicans who doubt Obama’s citizenship and explaining “birtherism has remained a stubborn belief in the conservative base, despite widespread denunciation from elite conservatives,” one forum page participant tried to put it in perspective.
“So, this poll shows 31 percent and the Gallup poll … on the last ‘fringe’ threat showed up to 46 percent. Either way, that’s TENS OF MILLIONS of Americans,” wrote “JakeD2.” Actually, 31 percent of the U.S. population would range about 100 million.
“I’m still not sure how that large of a group qualifies as ‘fringe’ (you realize that 50 percent plus 1 would actually be a MAJORITY, right?). More importantly, for the sake of clearing up any confusion and the historical record, Obama should simply consent to the release of his LONG FORM birth certificate. Why won’t he do that?”
In the middle of 2009, a scientific poll revealed that most Americans were aware of the dispute over Obama’s eligibility. By then there had been numerous lawsuits alleging that Obama failed to meet the “natural born citizen” requirement of the Constitution.
Although that term is not defined in the Constitution, experts who have analyzed the term in the context of the time it was written believe that meant a person born in the U.S. of two U.S. citizens. While Obama has stated that he was born in Hawaii, his father never was a U.S. citizen, making Obama a dual citizen at birth. Many contend that alone disqualifies him from being a “natural born” citizen. Others contend he might not even have been born in Hawaii, since the “Certification of Live Birth” Obama’s campaign released is only a summary form of a type that was available to children not born in Hawaii at the time.
“[Some] among those inclined to think Obama was born abroad also say that’s their suspicion only, not a judgment based on solid evidence,” the poll reports.
Of course that’s what the dozens of lawsuits and other challenges to Obama, including a court challenge being assembled by Lt. Lt. Terry Lakin, have been about: Seeking documentation one way or another. Lakin has refused to follow Army orders until he’s seen documentation of Obama’s eligibility to be commander-in-chief, and his attorneys have expressed confidence that during a coming court-martial hearing, there will be the right of “discovery” to document the validity of the chain of command up to Obama.
The poll cast itself as a referendum on those who approve or disapprove of Obama.
“In addition to Obama disapprovers, people who are more apt than others to say Obama was born in another country include conservatives, Republicans, supporters of the tea party political movement (31 percent in each group), evangelical white Protestants (33 percent), and supporters of John McCain in 2008 (30 percent) – all groups broadly critical of Obama.”
Further, it suggested an “educational element” in the controversy. “People who haven’t gone beyond high school [are] nearly twice as apt as those with postgraduate degrees to suggest Obama was born abroad.”
The comments following Weigel’s commentary suggested the depth to which the controversy has permeated.
Wrote a participant in Weigel’s forum page, “Oh, I believe that Obama was born in Hawaii on the date specified, and that he’s a natural-born citizen, and that he’s our legitimately elected president. I have no problem with any of that. I just wonder what ELSE is on that long-form birth certificate that he stubbornly refuses to release. Just like his transcripts from Columbia. Lots of secrets in this president’s past, and traditional investigative journalists (like the Washington Post) have given him a free pass.”
Also on the Post blogs, Chris Cillizza wrote of the poll, “The results make clear that while suspicion about the president’s place of birth is far from widespread, there is a certain – and not entirely insignificant – segment of the population that carries doubts.”
Commenters following Cillizza’s column were blunt:
“Let’s just see the documents – there is nothing wrong with that,” wrote one. “To actually create a name ‘birther’ and be derogatory toward people who simply want the documents released is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. Obama HAS TO BE HIDDING SOMETHING – AND THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS LIABLE.”
Another added, “Why do you simply dodge the issue?? The issue is the files in Hawaii have not been opened up. And the college records have not been opened up. Surely you support Obama’s advocacy of transparency. So, let’s hear a call to OPEN UP all the files – nothing hidden.”
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 was 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.
“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.