In a development that could provide a foreboding look at the 2012 election for Democrats fond of Barack Obama, the issue of his eligibility recently reached a flashpoint in a state House election in Arizona.
Arizona state Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, introduced during the last legislative session H. 2442, a proposal requiring future presidential candidates to show they’re qualified under the U.S. Constitution’s demand for a “natural born citizen.”
It was co-sponsored by three dozen lawmakers, and while it eventually died in the face of political opposition in the state Senate, it was one of a handful of state-level proposals that already have developed.
The issue flared during a meeting for state House candidates with editors and others at the Arizona Republic.
According to the newspaper’s report, by Gary Nelson, House District 18 Democrat candidate Michael Conway blasted GOP incumbent Cecil Ash for signing onto the bill.
The newspaper reported Conway questioned why Ash would support such a plan, and Ash responded that states don’t verify the eligibility of presidential candidates, and he thinks it should happen in the future.
He explained to the newspaper that it hasn’t been an issue before, because people know the parentage and heritage of Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and others.
“That’s not the case with President Obama,” he said.
He cited a New York Times poll revealing that 1 in 5 Americans believe Obama foreign-born and another nearly 1 in 4 have doubts.
Conway then pointed to the “Certification of Live Birth” that the Obama campaign posted online during his 2008 race, the newspaper said.
“And you don’t think you as a leader had the opportunity to let people know the truth? The electronic copy of the birth certificate had been released. It had been on the Internet. It had been on multiple news networks,” Conway claimed.
But Ash pointed out that the online document is not the same as a “birth certificate,” and the document posted by Obama could have been obtained under Hawaii law without proof of a birth in the state.
“That is the only copy there is, sir,” Conway said, according to the newspaper. “You know this.”
Then he accused Ash of being racist.
“The fact of the matter is, if he was white you wouldn’t have put the issue forward,” the newspaper reported he charged.
Ash said race has nothing to do with GOP opposition to Obama.
“I have never met any Republican who was upset about him being black,” the newspaper reported Ash said. “They don’t like his politics. They think he’s a socialist, and there’s a great many who think he’s not really a natural-born citizen of the United States.”
He said that’s what the bill was about: providing a methodology for documentation that would address future questions.
The newspaper explained that Obama was elected both to the U.S. Senate and the Oval Office, “without anyone disproving he was a U.S. citizen.”
It also cited “numerous independent investigations” as well as statements from “Hawaii state officials” who confirm Obama was born in the state Aug. 4, 1961.
“That makes him a U.S. citizen, and he, therefore, is constitutionally qualified to serve as president,” the reporter wrote.
However, while Hawaii officials have said they have seen Obama’s documentation, they have not revealed to the public what information it includes.
WND has reported on multiple legal challenges to Obama 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.”
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 his appointment of lawyers to defend against all requests for his documentation.
The issue’s appearance in Arizona was just the latest incident that has focused attention on the many unanswered questions about Obama’s heritage and background.
Among the others that have arisen:
Michigan congressional candidate Andrew Raczkowksi
Just one day after a poll by CNN included the startling revelation that 6 of 10 Americans doubt President Obama’s birth story, Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski, who won a Michigan GOP primary for Congress over establishment candidate Paul Welday, said he had concerns, too.
According to a report in Politico, he is on tape telling a meeting of supporters in Novi, Mich., “You have a president that seems to be, um … well … I don’t know if he even has been born in the United States, but … until I see a birth certificate.”
Raczkowski doesn’t care that his words are on tape, reportedly being circulated by Democrats in an attempt to damage his campaign.
“They don’t need an HD recorder – they can call me. I’m very open, they can call me; we can have an open discussion, perhaps even a debate,” he told the publication.
A candidate for Congress in New York’s Second District, a seat now held by Democrat Steve Israel, says there is a “usurper” in the Oval Office and impeachment isn’t the solution since “that would imply that he held the seat in a valid manner in the first place.”
“For our Constitution to continue to exist much longer Barack Hussein Obama aka Barry Soetoro must be removed from office,” the candidate’s statement said. “I would not seek to impeach him, as that would imply that he held the seat in a valid manner in the first place.”
Tolda’s speech was captured in two segments on video:
In it, he references the “usurper” in the office of the president.
But the blog expands on that, noting that Tolda was asked specifically about Obama’s eligibility to be president.
The candidate responded, “There is a process to remove seat holders that are not able to legally hold a seat. Until now the highest seat that was removed from the holder in this manner is a seat(s) in the U.S. Senate.
“I will seek to begin this process as soon as I am sworn in. Although I do not intend to pursue an impeachment, I would assist in any efforts started by others in office to impeach. Only so long as I can verify that it would not nullify my plans for the annulment-type removal that has been used on senators unfit to legally hold office in the past,” he said.
Indiana congressional candidate Marvin Scott
Indiana congressional candidate Marvin Scott was responding to call-in questions from campaign supporters when he was confronted with a question about his position on the eligibility issue:
Scott, who is challenging Democrat incumbent Andre Carson, said, “Certainly, we have a right to know as citizens of this country. And that particular question has to be vetted over and over again to assure the public that the people who are representing us are fair and have ascended to that particular position because they have met all of the requirements, and therefore they are entitled to by a vote of the populace to be there.”
Scott has been a professor of sociology at Butler University for nearly 20 years and for nine years was president of a management-consulting firm.
He’s served as a consultant to public schools, colleges, universities and federal courts. His website explains he’s running for the House of Representatives because Republicans have a “long and rich history with basic principles: Individuals, not government, can make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home.”
Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
Louisiana’s Vitter says the dispute over Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president should be resolved in court.
“I support conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court,” Vitter said, according to an Associated Press report citing a video of the event.
It’s also significant that the AP reported on Vitter’s comments. The news wire has stated the president’s “birth certificate” has been made public even though the image of the document posted online actually is a “certification of live birth,” which was available to those not born in Hawaii.
Vitter was responding to a constituent at a town-hall meeting in Metairie, La., who asked about Obama’s “refusal to produce” a birth certificate.
The AP reported the crowd applauded the question.
Vitter said he didn’t have personal “standing” for litigation. But he said he supports the efforts to bring the question to court.
“I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it,” he said.
He said “first and foremost” Americans need to “fight the Obama agenda at the ballot box starting this fall.”
Vitter said, according to the AP report, that the matters of the nation are too important to be diverted by distractions.
U.S. Rep. Steve King
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, appears to have suggested he’s not entirely satisfied that all the questions about President Obama’s eligibility have been answered fully.
The issue came up as he talked about the national debt in a recent address in Congress, televised by C-SPAN and posted on YouTube:
The congressman referred to the estimated $44,000 that each child born in the United States owes at the moment of birth as his or her part of the federal debt.
“We worry about them carrying a student-loan debt … maybe $40,000 in student loans,” he said. “We’ll, I’d be happy to take that $40,000 loan and a guarantee of a college degree and think that child could pay that off.”
But for the $44,000 in federal debt obligations, all the individual gets is access to citizenship in the United States of America, he said.
“Little baby with ink on their foot, stamped right there on the birth certificate – there’s one in this country we haven’t seen,” he said. “But the footprints on those we have seen. Those little babies owe Uncle Sam $44,000.”
U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30 p.m. EDT / 10:30 p.m. CDT|
|South Carolina’s 4th District Primary – Bob Inglis|
Inglis was being grilled about whether he was a conservative.
“Are you conservative enough for the 4th District?” Stephen Colbert asked.
“I sure hope so,” Inglis responded.
Inglis noted he had been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the Christian Coalition.
Then Colbert said, “Complete this sentence. ‘Barack Obama was born in …’”
“Oh,” said Inglis, “Not Hawaii.”
Champaign, Ill., mayor Gerald Schweighart
A few weeks earlier, the mayor of Champaign, Ill., Gerald Schweighart, said Obama should produce his birth certificate.
The mayor was asked about Obama and responded he doesn’t think he’s “American.”
“If you are not willing to produce an original birth certificate, then you’ve got something to hide,” he said. “If he doesn’t have something to hide, produce it.”
Others raising questions are Tennessee state Senate speaker Ron Ramsey, Hawaii state Sen. Will Espero, Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Ritze, U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., and many others with similar questions.
Ramsey said, “I don’t know whether President Obama is a citizen of the United States or not. I don’t know what the whole deal is there.”
But Ramsey also said 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.”
There also have been 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. Among the states where election qualification or eligibility requirements are being considered or developed include Oklahoma, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Virginia and New York.
Hawaii state Sen. Will Espero
Hawaii state Sen. Will Espero, a Democrat, has suggested that legislation could be adopted to release Obama’s birth records and satisfy critics.
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.”
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 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.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
Even Sarah Palin, former vice-presidential candidate and best-selling author, affirmed that questions about Barack Obama’s eligibility for office are legitimate.
“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.”
U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Asked whether he believes Obama is eligible to be president, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, “What I don’t know is why the president cannot produce a birth certificate. I don’t know anyone else who can’t produce one. I think that’s a legitimate question.”
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said he believes Obama was born in the U.S., but he also said he thinks the president is trying to hide something:
“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.
New Hampshire State Rep. Laurence Rappaport
In September, New Hampshire State Rep. Laurence Rappaport, R-Colebrook, said he was tired of telling his constituents that he’s not sure of Obama’s eligibility to serve as president. He met with New Hampshire’s secretary of state, William Gardner, who oversees the state’s elections, to demand answers.
“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?”
A video of the interview follows:
A prominent array of commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Lou Dobbs, Peter Boyles and WND’s Chuck Norris and Pat Boone have all said unequivocally and publicly that the Obama eligibility issue is legitimate and worthy.
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.”