Heading into the 2012 election, members of Congress probably should expect to be grilled in their various town-hall meetings on the eligibility of Barack Obama to be president.
That circumstance has followed the announcement from Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona that there is probable cause there was forgery in the creation of Obama's birth certificate released by the White House last year, and fraud in its presentation as a real document. His Cold Case Posse's investigation into Obama's eligibility for the Arizona presidential ballot continues.
Among the latest members to be challenged on the issue was U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., who was confronted by questions from a computer document expert who has examined Obama's purported birth certificate.
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The report comes from Mara Zebest, an author and editor of dozens of books on computer software, who has concluded that Obama's document is a fraud.
Earlier, an email from Lungren's office staff seemed to concede that there are questions about Obama's eligibility, but the congressman said he doesn't have those concerns. He held to that line during the questions from Zebest.
Zebest, in a report on a website questioning Obama's eligibility, said she confronted Lungren at two recent town hall meetings, in Citrus Heights on March 13 and Rancho Cordova on March 15.
In the meetings, questions were submitted and then the congressman determined which to answer.
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"With the current rules ... Lungren listens to all the comments ... takes notes ... everyone takes turns at the mic ... and after everyone speaks ... after Lungren has had time to think about what he wants to say in response ... he then gives his response and there's NO reactions allowed at this point," Zebest said.
She said that at the first meeting she referenced the Arpaio investigation and its evidence that Obama's Selective Service card may be fraudulent.
She asked, "When will there be a congressional investigation?"
Zebest paraphrased the congressman's response: "On the eligibility issue ... I believe the president was born in Hawaii. I had a private conversation with the governor of Hawaii in which she told me that she saw his birth certificate. And keep in mind this is a Republican governor ... so I believe what she told me."
Since the format didn't allow a follow up, Zebest went to the next meeting, where she told Lungren, "Your response was to tell me that you talked with a governor who said she saw the document. I have several problems with that response. First, that was the previous governor, and according to Hawaiian law, it is illegal for the governor to see the document, so why would she be allowed to see it?
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"The current governor said he would put the issue to rest and later confessed he could not find any document on file. But assuming Gov. Lingle at her word ... that she saw the document .... is Gov. Lingle a document forensic expert? Because Arpaio is an official law enforcement agency and has had forensic experts examine the documents presented by the White House and there is no doubt for the [Cold Case] Posse investigators that the documents put forth by Obama are forgeries."
Zebest said everyone in the room "applauded my little speech."
"I got more applause than I did the previous town hall night and even received high fives from audience members while returning to my seat. Another person jumped up to get into line after I sat down (he later told me that when he heard me speak on the topic ... I gave him courage to do the same)," she said.
"When it came time for Lungren to respond ... the good news is he dropped the excuse of the 'Hawaiian governor said so' – LOL. He didn't dare go there again. The bad news was his response was [paraphrasing] 'Look... I don't think the eligibility issue is important. Take it to court if you feel so strongly about it ... and elections have consequences,'" she reported.
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Zebest promised she has "no intention" of letting the topic die.
Video from the first meeting:
Video from the second:
The earlier response from Lungren's office came when another woman questioned Obama's eligibility.
In the reply, the unidentified staff member noted, "It is truly mind-boggling that the [Obama birth] certificate could have so many obvious issues. I really think that he is laughing at us. He has pre-empted all naysayers by declaring that there will always be conspiracy theorists, etc. Unfortunately, I think that this makes it politically impossible (for anyone who wants to be taken seriously) to challenge its authenticity. At least that seems to be the sentiment here on the Hill and I can't say that I disagree."
The comments follow the pattern of many statements from members of Congress: The eligibility isn't being questioned or has been resolved. But most of the statements are made without evidence of any resolution.
WND previously reported how Jerry W. Mansfield, an information research specialist in the Knowledge Services Group of the Congressional Research Service, issued a memo to prepare members of Congress to rebut and defuse questions constituents were asking regarding Obama's presidential eligibility under the natural-born citizen requirement of the Constitution.
WND has posted the CRS memo on Scribd.com for download.
Attached to the memo was an attack-piece published by FactCheck.org to dismiss claims that Obama's short-form Certification of Live Birth, originally published during the 2008 presidential campaign by DailyKos.com, was a forgery.
Many of the statements from members of Congress also appear to make assumptions about Obama, such as the validity of the long-form birth certificate released by the White House, even though numerous experts have concluded that it is a fake.
When Obama released the image on April 27, after years of stating that the document was not available, the Hawaii Department of Health and governor's office refused even to confirm for WND that the image released was an accurate representation of the state's records.
And the questions about Obama's status continue to grow. A recent poll showed fully half the nation wants Congress to investigate his eligibility.
Also instead of resolving the issue, the image that Obama released to the public on April 27 has raised new ones. For example, during an interview by NBC News' national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, former Hawaii health department chief Chiyome Fukino, who has claimed to have examined the "original" documentation in the state archives, said the original document was "half typed and half handwritten."
But the statement conflicts with the document that Obama released, which his staff members described as "proof positive" of a Hawaiian birth. Only the signatures and dates are "handwritten," not half the document.
An extensive report from Zebest, who has contributed as author or editor to dozens of books on computer software, concluded the image clearly is a fraud. She's one of many experts in computers, imaging and documents that have called the document a fraud.
Among the statements from members of Congress:
- U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock: "The Constitution is the starting point for determining eligibility to serve as president. The Constitution requires that to be eligible to serve as president an individual must be a natural born citizen of the United States, be at least 35 years old, and have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least 14 years." He said candidates are vetted both inside the government and out, and Obama has passed all of the hurdles.
- Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said, "In the run-up to the 2008 federal election and in its aftermath, many Texans have written to express their thoughts and concerns about the electoral process. Some have even raised concerns about the eligibility of candidates to serve in elected office under the Constitution. The courts and the Federal Elections Commission play a central role in determining the eligibility of candidates to serve in the offices they seek. You can be certain that I will continue to be vigilant in making sure that these institutions perform their critical role in overseeing fair and transparent elections."
- Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., The "Constitution of our nation requires natural born citizenship in order to serve as President of the United States of America." But then she explains that the "Office of Vital Records within the Hawaiian Department of Health has confirmed the birth and citizenship of President Obama." Nowhere in the letter to her constituent does she explain why the confirmation of "citizenship" equates to meeting the requirement for "natural-born citizenship."
- Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., "I believe that President Obama has met all the requirements of citizenship as set forth by the U.S. State Department, and therefore is eligible for the office of the presidency."
- Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., said concerned citizens need to go to court over Obama's eligibility, even though courts ranging up to the U.S. Supreme Court have refused in dozens of cases already to hear arguments on the merits of the dispute:
- Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.: "Thank you for your recent e-mail. Senator Obama meets the constitutional requirements for presidential office. Rumors pertaining to his citizenship status have been circulating on the Internet, and this information has been debunked by Snopes.com, which investigates the truth behind Internet rumors."
- Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.: "Presidential candidates are vetted by voters at least twice – first in theprimary elections and again in the general election. President-Elect Obamawon the Democratic Party's nomination after one of the most fiercelycontested presidential primaries in American history. And, he has now beenduly elected by the majority of voters in the United States. Throughout boththe primary and general election, concerns about Mr. Obama's birthplace wereraised. The voters have made clear their view that Mr. Obama meets thequalifications to hold the office of president."
- Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio: "President Obama has provided several news organizations with a copy of hisbirth certificate, showing he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4,1961. Hawaii became a state in 1959, and all individuals born in Hawaiiafter its admission are considered natural-born United States citizens. Inaddition, the Hawaii State Health Department recently issued a publicstatement verifying the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate."
- U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla.: "The claim that Barack Obama is not a citizen of the U.S. is false. This rumor is simply election year politics." She referred questioners to Snopes for documentation.
- Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.: "The courts have held that President Obama is a natural-born American citizen. Moreover, in December 2008, the Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit challenging Mr. Obama's eligibility to serve as president, concurring with three other federal courts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Washington. The courts have confirmed the determination of state officials in Hawaii that health department records prove that Barack Obama was born a U.S. citizen in Honolulu."
- Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.: "President Obama demonstrated his citizenship during his campaign by circulating copies of his birth certificate, which showed he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961."
- Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa.: "I amconfident that Mr. Obama meets all the constitutional requirements to be our 44thpresident. Mr. Obama has posted a copy of his birth certificate on his campaignwebsite and submitted an additional copy to the independent websiteFactCheck.org. The birth certificate demonstrates that he was born in Honolulu,Hawaii in 1961, thereby making him a natural-born citizen eligible to bepresident."
- U.S. Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif.: "As you know, some questions were raised about whether President Obama is anatural born citizen. There was a recent lawsuit arguing that he is noteligible for the Presidency for this reason. I understand that the SupremeCourt considered hearing this lawsuit, but it ultimately turned down therequest to have the case considered before the full court. I furtherunderstand that the director of Hawaii's Department of Health recentlyconfirmed that President Obama was born in Honolulu and has personallyverified that her agency has his original birth certificate on record. Asyou know, the U.S. Congress certified his election on January 8, and he wassworn into office on January 20, 2009. While I may disagree with President Obama on a multitude of issues, he hasbeen elected as President of the United States through a fair process andhas shown sufficient documentation, via a state birth certificate, that hasbeen verified as being authentic. In short, therefore, I do not believesufficient evidence was brought to light to conclude that President Obamawas ineligible for the office."
- U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H.: "President Obama publicly posted hisbirth certificate on his campaign website which confirms that he was born inHawaii in 1961. This birth certificate confirms that President Obama is anatural born citizen of the United States, above the age of 35, and istherefore qualified to be President of the United States of America. If youwould like to view President Obama's birth certificate, I encourage you togo to the website http://fightthesmears.com/articles/5/birthcertificate."
- Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, "The Constitution and federal law require that, among other things, onlynative-born U.S. citizens (or those born abroad, but only to parents whowere both American citizens) may be President of the United States. InPresident Obama's case, some individuals have filed lawsuits in state andfederal courts alleging that he has not proven that he is an Americancitizen, but each of those lawsuits have been dismissed. This includes arecent decision by the United States Supreme Court to not review an"application for emergency stay" filed by a New Jersey resident claimingthat the President is not a natural born citizen because his father was bornin Kenya. Furthermore, both the Director of Hawaii's Department of Healthand the state's Registrar of Vital Statistics recently confirmed that Mr.Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and, as such, meets theconstitutional citizenship requirements for the presidency. If contrarydocumentation is produced and verified, this matter will necessarily beresolved by the judicial branch of our government under the Constitution."
- Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa.: "On June 13, 2008, the Obama campaign released a copy of his birth certificate after numerous claims were made about his eligibility to hold the office of President. The released copy created additional questions, because it contained a blacked out department file number and was apparently missing a seal, and it was impossible to detect raised text, a common characteristic of official documents. There were satisfactory answers to such questions, however: the department file number had been blacked out to prevent hackers from breaking into the Health Department's system, and the State places the seal on the back of the certificate. The website Factcheck.org investigated the matter and provided high-resolution photos taken at multiple angles that revealed the raised text and the seal on the back of the document. ... Accordingly, it has been concluded that President Obama has met the constitutional qualifications to be President of the United States."
- U.S. Rep Vic Snyder, D-Ark.: "According to State of Hawai'i officials, the Hawai'i State Department of Health has President-elect Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with that state's policies and procedures.
- Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.: "The U.S. Constitution is our nation's supreme law and cannot be circumvented for any reason. It is my understanding that state officials in Hawaii have attested to the validity of President Obama's birth certificate showing that he was born in that state, which would make him a U.S. citizen. I also have read that both of Hawaii's major newspapers ran birth announcements in August 1961 documenting President Obama's birth in Honolulu. Based on these documents, most members of Congress from both parties appear satisfied that the president is a U.S. citizen. That would preclude any effort to remove him through the impeachment process, which requires a majority in the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate, on the basis of his constitutional eligibility for office."
- Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., "As a senator representing Colorado, I want to speak very clearly on this issue. President Barack Obama is a 'natural born' citizen of America, and he is eligible to be our nation's Commander in Chief. The legality of his birth certificate has been verified by numerous federal agencies, third party investigative groups, national media outlets, and primary source documentation. The United States Department of State and the Hawaii Department of Health have both verified the legality of the 'Certification of Birth' document provided by President Obama. In addition, highly regarded 'fact check' websites such as factcheck.org, snopes.com, and politifact.com support the findings of the federal agencies through their own independent investigations."
- Sen. Mark. R. Warner, D-Va., "The facts have consistently shown that President Obama was born in the United States. As a natural-born American citizen, he is fully eligible to serve as president of our country."
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., "Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution specifies the qualifications for this executive office. It states that no person except for a natural born American citizen is eligible to run for President of the United States. Also, the candidate must be at least thirty-five years of age and have resided in the United States for at least fourteen years. President Obama meets these constitutional requirements. If you were not already aware, on April 27, 2011 the White House released a copy of President Obama's long form birth certificate. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons born in the United States are considered citizens of the United States. Under these criteria, President Obama, a 47-year old U.S. citizen, who has resided in the United States for longer than fourteen years, is eligible to be President.
- Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., "Independent and official investigations as well as legal proceedings have validated President Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as President of the United States. The Health Director and Head of Vital Statistics for the state of Hawaii (an official source) has also examined and declared the authenticity of the birth certificate and most recently President Obama released his full birth certificate. If change is to take place it's likely to come in the form of an election. This is part of the reason everyone needs to make sure we vote for the people who will represent our views correctly. This is also why we must continue to talk to our friends and relatives in other states about their own elected officials and encourage them to let their voices be heard."
There have been a few who have expressed concern over the situation:
- Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., in a posting on Canada Free Press by Dean Haskins, "I believe that there should be a more formal process of review and validation as a matter of routine certification of candidates. The office of the presidency is undermined if Americans don't have confidence that the candidates for the highest office in the land are qualified for the position as required by the Constitution. … "
- Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., did not tell a questioner the issue of Obama's eligibility was settled by the April release of the "Certificate of Live Birth" image by the White House. "Regardless of whether the license that he showed is true or fake, I've not seen it other than what was portrayed in the news," Walberg said. But he said he's taken on many other urgent issues and then suggested a repair of the Obama presidency is coming soon, in the 2012 election.
- Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, "Many of the issues, like the birth certificate, are within the jurisdiction of the courts, not Congress. Our power over the president is impeachment for 'high crimes and misdemeanors.' We learned from Clinton that lying, even under oath, probably doesn't rise to those standards ... so I'm looking for the crime. Perhaps his violation of the war powers act? It's something my colleagues and I are considering."