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.