March 13th, 2009
08:15 PM ET
2 years ago

Republican wants WH candidates to prove citizenship

During the presidential campaign, Obama produced a certified copy of his birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health but some still believe he does not meet the constitutional requirement to be the president.
During the presidential campaign, Obama produced a certified copy of his birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health but some still believe he does not meet the constitutional requirement to be the president.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida, introduced legislation this week requiring candidates to produce a birth certificate to be eligible to run in future presidential elections, triggering a sharp reaction from Democrats who accused him of "questioning President Obama's citizenship."

Posey submitted a bill with no fanfare Thursday that instructs the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to be amended to add the birth certificate requirement. The Constitution requires that a president or a vice president be "a natural born citizen."

Read: Posey's bill

During the presidential campaign, some people - mostly Republicans - questioned whether Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was a U.S. citizen. Obama's mother was a U.S. citizen, while his father was from Kenya.

Obama produced a certified copy of his birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health, but critics argued that it was a fake or had been altered. The Supreme Court has turned down several requests that it hear challenges to the president's citizenship.


"Opponents of President Bush used the 2000 election results and the court decisions to question the legitimacy of President Bush to serve as President," Posey said in a statement. "Opponents of President Obama are raising the birth certificate issue as a means of questioning his eligibility to serve as president. Neither of these situations are healthy for our Republic.

"This bill, by simply requiring such documentation for future candidates for President will remove this issue as a reason for questioning the legitimacy of a candidate elected as President."

Posey spokesman George Cecala emphasized several times to CNN that the congressman was "not trying to fan the flames" of the Obama citizenship dust-up nor was he "trying to jab someone in the eye." Instead, Posey was "just trying to clarify the law," Cecala said.

Cecala added that Posey, who was elected in 2008, decided to introduce the bill because of concerns raised by constituents and other people from across the country. So far, the bill has no cosponsors and Posey did not inform the Republican leadership he was introducing it, according to Cecala.

"This was not meant as an insult to the president," Cecala said. "It is simply meant as a way to clarify future election laws and to dispel the issue so we can move on with doing business for the country," he said.

But Florida Democrats do not see it that way and expressed their criticism of Posey in an e-mail to supporters.

"Congressman Posey should be focused on creating jobs and jumpstarting the economy, but it seems he's only obsessed with pandering to the right wing," Karen Thurman, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, charged in the Friday afternoon note.

So does Posey believe that Obama is truly a U.S. citizen?

"I think we are going to take the president at his word for it, just like we take every other candidate's word for it," Cecala said.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. David S. Robins

    John McCain never produced his birth certificate either and he was born outside the U.S. in the Panama Canal Zone. One wonders if Congressman Posey would have introduced the same law if McCain had won. Republicans are such hypocrites.

    March 14, 2009 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  2. Conservatives are MORONS!!

    u got to be kidding

    March 14, 2009 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  3. Kansas Voter

    This is from the same party that wanted to remove term limits when Nixon was president so he could rule as long as they could get him elected. Watergate killed that. And recently those same Republicans were talking about removing the requirement for being a natural born American so Arnold Swartzeneger (a naturalized American) could be elected President. Perhaps they should just come out and admit that the only people they think should be allowed to run for President are old white men who have voted the straight Republican ticket for at least twenty years and are willing to pander to the ultimate right wing of the Republicans at that.
    I'm just saying.

    March 14, 2009 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  4. Sheri

    This is terrible. Republicans YOU LOST GET USED TO ITTTTTTTTT!

    March 14, 2009 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  5. Joseph

    Congressman Posey said that "Opponents of President Bush used the 2000 election results and the court decisions to question the legitimacy of President Bush to serve as President," Posey said in a statement. "Opponents of President Obama are raising the birth certificate issue as a means of questioning his eligibility to serve as president. Neither of these situations are healthy for our Republic". He actually has a very good point although there is a clear difference between two presidents. The President Bush was born a natural US citizen so there should be no question about him whatsoever. By contrast, the problem for President Obama will linger long even after he leaves the office. The constitution should be amended to clarify this issue.

    March 14, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  6. Charles from Atlanta

    Do you know a birth certificate can be fake too. So what's the point?

    March 14, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. SNAPPA

    HE WON THE ELECTION, GET OVER IT!!!

    March 14, 2009 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  8. Jaime Plaza

    If you were born in Hawaii (4 August 1961 for Pres. Obama), which when I last checked was one of the 50 states of the United States since 1959, then you were a naturalized U. S. citizen. Please let us stop this nonsense and concentrate on making the United States of America the great country that she is.

    March 14, 2009 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  9. WisconsinEric

    The economy's in trouble, people are losing jobs, we need a record economic stimulus, our education system is falling further behind the rest of the world (so we're less competitive), our banking system needs major reform, etc. etc. . . . and all this Republican can think of to do is by implication) to ask for the President's birth certificate? You've got to be kidding! I've read criticism that Republicans don't get it, but this is a new attempt to achieve total irrelevance.

    March 14, 2009 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  10. keith

    hear we go again wont they check the birth certificates of all former presidents, im sure some of the former white presidents were immigrants from other countries, and is Hawaii a state if not then i guess all citizens of hawaii are not u.s. citizens?

    March 14, 2009 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  11. Eric

    Are you serious? With all the problems this country is facing right now– THIS is what republicans want to focus on- looney conspiracy theories and pointless legislation? This is past obstructionism and well into insanity.

    March 14, 2009 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  12. Bill in Dallas

    This is the typical crap you see from the GOP. They don't deserve to function as an opposition party they are a band of sore looser and cry babies. Grow up and get serious our country needs a truly loyal opposition and not a talk show radio mentality.

    March 14, 2009 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  13. Get Real!!

    "Opponents of President Bush used the 2000 election results and the court decisions to question the legitimacy of President Bush to serve as President,"

    I guess that was ok – but question the legitimacy of Obama to serve as President and the democrats are up in arms! Talk about a double standard. What's good for one President (disrespect, hatred, bashing) is good for the next President. Democrats can dish it out but certainly cannot take it.

    Every American born in the United States is given a birth certificate so it shouldn't be a big deal for Obama to produce his birth certificate. Let's just shut everybody up right now – produce your birth certificate Obama!

    March 14, 2009 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  14. R

    what a waste of time

    March 14, 2009 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  15. Lisa C.

    Frustrated, eh? You don't get more childish than this. I say go ahead and accept this new legislation. Like always, it'll only affect those who he'd truly want in office. Perhaps he'll try to amend his own legislation when his guy can't produce a birth certificate. This is too funny! These guys are looking like circus clowns right about now.

    March 14, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. Lauren, FL

    This the dumbest thing I have ever heard. If your mother is a US citizen...you are a US citizen regardless of where you were born. John McCain was born in Panama to US citizen parents, but not on American soil. This such a waste of time and energy. Maybe the Florida constituents that take issue with this should address many employers requirements that you must speak be bilingual to work for their company. Maybe challenging this might put some dent in Florida's unemployment rates.

    March 14, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  17. Jake

    If Obama is legit why did he and the Democratic party fight so hard to avoid proof? Unlike most natural born Americans there were a lot of legitimate questions raised about where he was born (Kenya as his grandmother said) or Hawaii. Was his citizenship given up when his step father, a Muslim, moved to Indonisia as Obama's Muslim school papers state? Indonisia did not allow non-Muslims to attend school there yet he attended school. Don't these questions legitimately need to be answered? I think so.

    March 14, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  18. rob c

    Come on posey. We know u don't want obama as prez but its too late. Comparing the 2000 election to this is a bad comparison. No ballots were destroyed no election stolen. If this is all u have time for leave the government. Tax payers shouldn't have to pay u so u can attack the prez and pursue your own agenda. Let's work on getting people back to work. Stop hating!!!!!

    March 14, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. candidgyal

    Oh please! Just another politician trying to put his name in history's book. Makes no sense.

    March 14, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Michael from Clermont Fl

    We finally have a president that cares about the American people and once again you have the Republican party wanting to screw that up. Why can't we just have special elections and FIRE these republicans from office for submitting stupid legislation and wasting our taxpayer money. And if the Republicans truly want to help why don't they introduce legislation requiring all members of Congress to take a paycut that would build confidence in our so called leader; I am considering running for public office simply because I think our elected officials are not doing there job.

    March 14, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Barbara J.

    The Constitution requires that a president or a vice president be "a natural born citizen."
    I agree with Congressman Posey. This legislation needs to be passed. We have spent almost three years of serious questions being asked about Obama being eligible for the Presidency. We whould never have to go through this again. If the President has nothing to hide it would have been a simple matter to produce his original birth certificate, instead of spending millions to keep it hidden along with college records and everything else that would show who he really is. This has been a huge distraction the whole time he has been in office. I say Never Again...Pass the Legislation.

    September 4, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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