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Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
MIAMI, Fla. – Some national news media are declaring that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is a natural-born citizen and thus eligible for the presidency or vice presidency, even though Rubio’s constitutional eligibility remains unclear and the popular Florida Republican has himself downplayed any interest in running on a White House ticket.
In a Daily Caller piece today titled “Coming soon: Rubio ‘birthers,'” journalist Matt Lewis warns, “There is already a movement afoot (led by some on the fringe) to disqualify him from serving as president (which would presumably disqualify him from serving as vice president). That’s right – some are arguing that Rubio is not eligible because he is not a ‘natural-born citizen.'”
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Lewis explains the logic by citing a May 22 WND report examining the issue, which noted, “While the Constitution does not define ‘natural-born citizen,’ there is strong evidence that the Founding Fathers understood it to mean someone born of two American citizens.”
Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller thinks those questioning Marco Rubio’s natural-born citizenship are racists or misguided adherents to the Constitution.
That report examined both Rubio and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both of whose parents were legal U.S. residents but not legal U.S. citizens when the future politicians were born.
“Who knows how big this thing will get?” asks Lewis. “Maybe it’s just a small fringe movement – but it is a ‘thing.’ The good news here, of course, is that the rise of Rubio birthers proves that birthers are not merely partisan hypocrites who solely attack Democrats like Obama. They are, instead, either consistent racists – or consistently misguided adherents to the Constitution. But hey – at least they aren’t partisan hacks.”
“He is [a natural-born citizen of the U.S.],” declared Elspeth Reeve of the Atlantic Wire, referring to Rubio in reaction to the Daily Caller’s analysis.
And despite a one-on-one, exclusive interview with Rubio last night, Fox News host Sean Hannity did not raise the eligibility question, but merely stated, “One name is often mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee in 2012. He is the wildly popular freshman senator from the great state of Florida, Marco Rubio.”
In a speech last night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Rubio reportedly received laughter as he clowned, “I have no interest in serving as vice president for anyone who could possibly live all eight years of the presidency.”
“What happens in politics is the minute you start thinking there’s something else out there for you, it starts affecting everything you do,” he added. “The reality of it is I’m not going to be the vice presidential nominee, but I look forward to working with whoever our nominee is.”
During his interview with Hannity, Rubio summed up his thoughts on the current crop of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president:
I think it is an underrated field. As I tell people all the time, running for president is not a decision, it is a process. You can’t just say I want to be president. You have to go on and actually do it. That means long days on the road. Speech after speech, audience after audience a lot of hands you have to shake, waking up at 4:00 in the morning to do morning shows and staying at cheap hotels all across Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and the early states, all because you want to be president. That tests people and from that process you’re going to get someone who has the stomach to face the kinds of issues that a president has to face.
So I am confident that when the primaries are over, we’re going to have a nominee on the Republican side that is going to lead our country in the right direction. True be told, I think any of them would be better than who we have there right now.
He also took aim at President Obama’s policies, stating, “Look, the country’s headed in a terrible direction. And the policies that this administration has pursued and some of the folks you mentioned have supported have not worked. In fact, unemployment is higher, our economy is not growing. None of this is good news by the way. I love my country a lot more than I love my political party. I want America to do well. But the policies that are being pursued in Washington are not going to get us there.”
Rubio’s press secretary Alex Burgos told WND the senator’s parents “were
permanent legal residents of the U.S.” at the time Marco was born in Florida in 1971.
Then four years after Marco was born, “Mario and
Oriales Rubio became naturalized U.S. citizens on Nov. 5, 1975,” Burgos indicated.
When asked specifically if Sen. Rubio considered himself to be a natural-born citizen, Burgos responded, “Yes.”
The Constitution mandates a presidential candidate to be a natural-born
citizen, a requirement that has dogged Obama since
the 2008 campaign.
The Founders’ chief concern, as demonstrated in a 1787 letter from
John Jay to George Washington, was that the commander-in-chief not have
Jay, who later became president of the Continental Congress and
the first Supreme Court chief justice, wrote: “Permit me to hint,
whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the
admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national
Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the
American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural
The definition of natural-born citizen approved by the first U.S.
Congress can be seen in the Naturalization Act of 1790, which regarded
it as a child born of two American parents. The law, specifying that a
natural-born citizen need not be born on U.S. soil, stated: “The
children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea,
or out of the limits of the United States shall be considered as natural
born citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not
descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United
The first U.S. Congress included 20 delegates to the
Constitutional Convention. Among the 20 were eight members of the
Committee of Eleven that drafted the Constitution’s natural-born citizen
While the act was repealed five years later, it, nevertheless,
represented the will of the Congress that the U.S. not be led by someone
with dual loyalties.
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio, a principal framer of the Fourteenth
Amendment, affirmed in a discussion in the House on March 9, 1866, that a
natural-born citizen is “born within the jurisdiction of the United
States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty.”
“The Law of Nations,”
a 1758 work by Swiss legal philosopher Emmerich de Vattel, was read by
many of the American Founders and informed their understanding of law
later established in the Constitution.
Vattel specified that a natural-born citizen is born of two
citizens and made it clear that the father’s citizenship was a loyalty
Vattel writes: “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those
born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot
exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the
citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their
fathers, and succeed to all their rights. … In order to be of the
country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a
citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the
place of his birth, and not his country.”
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