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 member of Congress from California says there’s no need for the president to have been born in the United States – or to have two parents who are U.S. citizens – to be a “natural born citizen” and be eligible for the Oval Office.
U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., told WND today that he believes President Obama, who’s been named as a defendant in multiple legal and other challenges claiming he is not eligible to be president, is enjoying the dispute over his background.
Further, Bilbray said the document that Obama critics should be hunting for is the passport he used when he traveled to Indonesia and other places early in his life.
The controversy over Bilbray’s comments developed when a YouTube.com video was posted. In the video of a television interview on “The Ed Show,” Bilbray said, “It’s just like people thinking that you gotta be born in the United States to be president. You don’t have to be. That’s a legend. We got to clarify that.”
The video explains it was recorded about a week ago and appeared shortly later on YouTube. The site indicates the video, which also has extensive quotations about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was posted by an organization opposing any attempt to change the Constitution to allow Schwarzenegger, who was not born in the U.S., to seek the presidency.
“If the constitutional term ‘natural born citizen’ does not mean ‘born in the United States,’ and it does not mean ‘born of parents who are both United States citizens,’ what DOES it mean?
“I am shocked, stunned, dumbfounded and totally dismayed that a person serving in the U.S. House of Representatives could say such a thing,” he wrote.
The dispute over Obama arises from questions over his 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.”
WND has covered a multitude of cases, some of then challenging 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 his appointment of lawyers to defend against all requests for his documentation.
At stake is whether the U.S. actually has elected and sworn into office a presidential candidate who does not meet the Constitution’s demands for eligibility.
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.
Bilbray disagreed with most of the arguments raised by the challenges. He said a natural born citizen is someone who is born in the U.S. or overseas if the birth is registered with the government.
He said the key is having a parent who has an obligation to the United States, such as Obama’s mother. Bilbray said it doesn’t matter that Obama’s father, governed by his Kenyan nationality, was a British subject when Obama was born.
But he also explained parents can denounce a U.S. citizenship for a child, and that’s why Obama critics should be hunting not for any birth documentation but the passports on which Obama traveled earlier in his life.
Personally, Bilbray said he believes Obama was born in Hawaii, “but I don’t know what his status is.”
“He’s a U.S. citizen until proven otherwise,” he said.
“I think the president is enjoying this exercise,” he told WND. “I think he doesn’t want to clarify it. I think he’s enjoying it.
“It’s an exercise that he uses to try to discredit his opponents. A lot of this is a distraction. This citizenship issue is used as a way of distracting from what he’s doing politically,” he said.
He called Obama the “most extreme left-wing president ever.”
The Post & Email noted that several of the attorneys who have been fighting the Obama eligibility cases, Mario Apuzzo and Leo Donofio, have done extensive research on the meanings, the wording and the origins of “natural born citizen.”
“Each of them has established, independently and conclusively, that the ‘natural born Citizen’ requirement of Article II of the United States Constitution clearly has its origins in the work of the political philosopher Emmerich de Vattel, who defined ‘natural born Citizen’ as meaning ‘born in the country of parents who are citizens,’” the commentary said.
It continued, “The U.S. congressman, Brian Bilbray, who was captured on video making an unfounded and false statement regarding an extremely important and significant provision of the United States Constitution in a public television appearance, is exposing himself as seriously uninformed regarding that document. In fact, one could argue that this public misrepresentation of such an essential requirement of the U.S. Constitution renders this man unfit to serve in public office,” it said.
On the YouTube website, one of the forum participants lost his cool: “Bilbray is a JACKASS! The Naturalized LAW is not a ‘legend,’ it’s a Constitutional REQUIREMENT. This stupid idiot actually got voted into office?!?!”