Garth Kant is WND Washington news editor. Previously, he spent five years writing, copy-editing and producing at "CNN Headline News," three years writing, copy-editing and training writers at MSNBC, and also served several local TV newsrooms as producer, executive producer and assistant news director. He is the author of the McGraw-Hill textbook, "How to Write Television News."More ↓Less ↑
WASHINGTON – To hear Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, describe it, the difference between President Obama and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas – on the question of their eligibility for the highest office in the land – may be a case of comparing apples and oranges.
The congressman said with Cruz, it is a legal question of whether he is eligible to serve as president – whereas the issue with Obama is not really about where he was born, but whether his documentation is authentic.
The Cruz birth certificate shows he was born in Canada in 1970 to an American mother, which gave him American citizenship.
Obama, on the other hand, is the subject of Stockman’s proposed legislation calling for a congressional investigation of both the president’s constitutional eligibility and the authenticity of the birth certificate he released to show he was born in Hawaii.
In an exclusive interview with WND, Stockman said, in the case of Obama, it is more of a question about the validity of the documentation as well as his forthrightness, whereas with Cruz, it is more of a matter for legal and constitutional scholars to decide.
Stockman was happy to talk about his fellow Texan and tea-party favorite, saying, “He’s a good friend of mine and a great guy. In fact, I believe we go to the same church in Houston.”
The congressman said he doesn’t really know if Cruz is eligible for the presidency, but Cruz has been upfront and Obama was not.
Stockman noted that it took a long time for Obama to produce a document, and even now, questions linger.
“One of the things I always questioned was the documentation of the president, whether that was fraudulent,” he explained. “But I don’t question Cruz. Ted came right out and said, ‘Here’s the documentation.’”
WND columnist and former adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Lord Monckton also has said the issue with Obama is not where he was born, but whether his documentation is authentic.
Monckton has claimed the birth certificate Obama finally produced after years of prodding is “plainly a forgery” and could be dismantled with software.
“It appears in layers on the screen in such a way you can remove quite separately each of the individual dates,” Monckton has said.
“You use Adobe Illustrator and each of the individual dates is in its own separate layer. This thing has been fabricated,” he explained.
Stockman mentioned another element that separates the case of Cruz and that of the president: the persistence of reports that Obama was listed as a foreign student in school and the fact he has yet to release records that would disprove that.
Another issue for Cruz is whether he has dual citizenship. The Dallas Morning News says, although Cruz was born an American citizen, under Canadian law he also became a citizen of that country at birth.
The paper claims Cruz will retain dual citizenship unless he renounces his Canadian citizenship.
Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the Dallas paper, “Sen. Cruz became a U.S. citizen at birth, and he never had to go through a naturalization process after birth to become a U.S. citizen.”
She added, “To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship, so there is nothing to renounce.”
The Dallas Morning News headline reads, “Dual citizenship may pose problem if Ted Cruz seeks presidency,” but the article does not cite anyone claiming dual citizenship would prevent someone from becoming president.
Stockman said, not being a lawyer, he doesn’t know if being a dual citizen would disqualify Cruz for the presidency.
The main question for Cruz now may be whether he is a “natural born citizen,” as the Constitution requires of the president.
Scholars and legal experts disagree on whether that means one who is born in this country.
Some experts insist “natural born citizen” must mean born in the U.S. because the qualifications for other jobs listed in the Constitution just mention being a “citizen” without the “natural born” qualification.
One commentator has already noted that the argument being forwarded by Cruz is the same as what Obama used: that being a citizen is the same as a natural born citizen.
However, there are many more nuances.
Experts on the Constitution remain divided now, just as they were a couple years ago when Obama was insisting he was a natural born citizen.
“The arguments and the experts are the same today as they were in 2011, except now the left would like to declare Cruz ineligible (because he had only one U.S. citizen parent at the time of his birth and was born in Canada) and then the left wanted to argue Obama was a natural born citizen (because he had one U.S. citizen parent at his birth and was born in Hawaii).”
The analyst continued, “That’s why the birth certificate became so important. If Obama had only one U.S. citizen parent at birth, he might have been qualified to be a U.S. citizen at birth, but if he was born in Kenya, then he was not eligible.”
Many analysts read Vattel’s book, “Law of Nations,” for its lesson on the topic, a book George Washington also consulted.
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, considered a leftist, and Theodore Olsen, often considered right-leaning, co-authored a legal brief for John McCain arguing he was a natural born citizen because both his parents were U.S. citizens at the time of his birth and the founders never meant to exclude from eligibility someone who was born outside the U.S., just because the parents were serving the nation in the U.S. military at the time, the analyst said.
They explained McCain ultimately provided proof (including the name of the attending physician) he was born on the Naval Base in the Panama Canal Zone, adding additional support to the claim he was born on “U.S. soil.”
Eventually, Congress passed a joint resolution for McCain, co-sponsored by Obama, concluding McCain was a natural born citizen eligible to run for president.
Another element in the confusing scenario is an interpretation of Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution that considers “natural born citizen” to mean being a U.S. citizen at birth, regardless of location. Thus, Obama would be eligible because his mother was a U.S. citizen when he was born. This is the position that the Congressional Research Service took in two separate opinions written in 2010 and 2011.
The argument over Obama did not end here because his mother, Ann Dunham, was underage at the time Obama was born and the naturalization statutes at the time may have disqualified her from transferring citizenship to her son because it was not clear she was in the U.S. for seven years (after attaining the age of 21) before Obama was born.
The analyst said there are constitutional experts on every side of the question – including law professors who have published in respected law journals arguing Article 1, Section 2 is archaic and should be ignored – or even worse, that it is xenophobic or racist and should be ignored because we have become a “multicultural, multiracial” nation.
But there are similarities: “Again, it depends on which definition you use, but Cruz being a dual citizen at birth would disqualify him under Vattel. Obama was also a citizen of the British Empire at birth because his father was a citizen of Kenya when Obama was born and Kenyan law at the time conveyed Kenyan and British Commonwealth citizenship. The left argues Kenyan law also demanded a person born to a Kenyan national had to affirm their Kenyan citizenship upon reaching majority age – something Obama did not do. So Obama was a dual citizen – or even a triple citizen, arguably a citizen of Kenya, the British Commonwealth, and the country … when he was born – but was only a USA citizen when he ran for presidency.”
A News 4 report from Jacksonville noted that U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho has promised to back Texas Rep. Steve Stockman’s proposed bill to investigate the president’s birth certificate.
“So I called Steve up when I got back. He says, ‘Yeah, we’re doing it. You want to get on that?’” I says, ‘yeah,’” said Yoho.
And at ThisWeek, a report cites the questions being raised about that issue by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas.
He said Congress should have investigated Obama’s birth circumstances and eligibility, but it is probably too late to deal with the issue now.
“If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it,” he said. “But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.”
Several others in the House, including Reps. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., also recently have raised questions.
Most mainstream media outlets cite the document Obama released as proof positive, and ignore the findings of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s law enforcement Cold Case Posse in Arizona that has stated on the record that the document is a fraud.
Trump repeatedly has insisted Obama has not documented his eligibility. At one point, he offered $5 million to the charity or charities of Obama’s choice if he would release his passport records and authorize the colleges he attended to release his applications and other records.
Trump argues that those documents would show whether or not Obama ever accepted scholarship or other aid as a foreign student.
Trump’s recent conversation with ABC’s Jonathan Karl started with Karl noting that Trump took on the “not serious” issue of eligibility.
“Why does that make me not serious?” Trump demanded. “I think that resonated with a lot of people.”
Karl replied: “You don’t still question he was born in the United States, do you?”
“I have no idea,” Trump said. “I don’t know. Was there a birth certificate? You tell me. You know some people say that was not his birth certificate. I’m saying I don’t know. Nobody knows, and you don’t know either. Jonathan you’re a smart guy, and you don’t know.”
When Karl admitted he was “pretty sure,” Trump jumped on the statement.
“You just said you’re pretty sure … you have to be 100 percent sure,” he said. “Jonathan, you said you’re pretty convinced, so let’s just see what happens over time.”
In 2011, a contingent of citizens in Maricopa Count asked Arpaio to look into the issue because they were concerned an ineligible candidate would be on their 2012 presidential election ballot.
Zullo has concluded Obama’s birth certificate contains anomalies that are unexplainable unless the document had been fabricated piecemeal by human intervention, rather than being copied from a genuine paper document.
“Mr. Obama has in fact not offered any verifiable authoritative document of any legal significance or possessing any evidentiary value as to the origins of his purported birth narrative or location of the birth event,” Zullo said. “One of our most serious concerns is that the White House document appears to have been fabricated piecemeal on a computer, constructed by drawing together digitized data from several unknown sources.”
Zullo also has noted that the governor of Hawaii was unable to produce an original birth document for Obama, and it should have been easy to find.
See some of Zullo’s evidence:
Most recently, Grace Vuoto of the World Tribune reported that among the experts challenging the birth certificate is certified document analyst Reed Hayes, who has served as an expert for Perkins Coie, the law firm that has been defending Obama in eligibility cases.
“We have obtained an affidavit from a certified document analyzer, Reed Hayes, that states the document is a 100 percent forgery, no doubt about it,” Zullo told the World Tribune.
“Mr. Obama’s operatives cannot discredit [Hayes],” the investigator told the news outlet. “Mr. Hayes has been used as the firm’s reliable expert. The very firm the president is using to defend him on the birth certificate case has used Mr. Hayes in their cases.”
The Tribune reported Hayes agreed to take a look at the documentation and called almost immediately.
“There is something wrong with this,” Hayes had said.
Hayes produced a 40-page report in which he says “based on my observations and findings, it is clear that the Certificate of Live Birth I examined is not a scan of an original paper birth certificate, but a digitally manufactured document created by utilizing material from various sources.”
“In over 20 years of examining documentation of various types, I have never seen a document that is so seriously questionable in so many respects. In my opinion, the birth certificate is entirely fabricated,” he said in the report.