April 20th, 2010
05:04 PM ET
8 years ago

Arizona lawmakers still pushing 'birther' measure

President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on Arizona's ballot in 2012.

President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on Arizona's ballot in 2012.

Washington (CNN) - If Arizona lawmakers have their way, President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on the state's ballot in 2012.

On Monday, Arizona's House of Representatives voted 31-22 to advance legislation that would require presidential candidates to provide documents, including birth certificates, proving their citizenship.

The measure, an amendment to a state Senate bill, must now clear another vote in the House before going back to the Senate. If it clears both chambers, the bill could soon go to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who is a Republican. Brewer's office declined to comment on whether the governor supports the proposal.

Critics deride the measure as a "birther bill." That name derives from a fringe movement, dubbed "the birthers," that questions whether President Obama was born in the United States despite proof that he was born in Hawaii in 1961. CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors about the president's birthplace.

According to the Arizona legislation, parties seeking to put candidates on a state ballot would have to provide "documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate's age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for president of The United States."

If the Arizona secretary of state "has reasonable cause to believe that the candidate does not meet the citizenship, age and residency requirements prescribed by law, the Secretary of State shall not place that candidate's name on the ballot," the bill states.

The amendment's sponsor, Republican Rep. Judy M. Burges, said through a spokesman that the bill is "an attempt to bring back transparency and confidence in the electoral process."

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, assistant Democratic leader in the House, called Burges' amendment "crazy" but said it is likely to pass.

"This is just a political statement about our president, which is offensive," Sinema said. "They think that [President] Obama was born in Kenya, even though we have proof that he was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii," Sinema said.

But Sinema predicted the measure would not pass constitutional muster. States have rarely if ever waded into this area. Arizona has "become the laughingstock of the nation," Sinema said.

Filed under: Arizona • President Obama
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Flex

    100% pure racism.

    Mccain was born in Panama. But no one cares because he's white.


    April 20, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Terry from West Texas

    All Obama has to do is promise to produce his birth certificate if the members of the Arizona Legislature submit to a two question lie detector test.

    1. Have you ever done anything unethical or illegal while in office.
    2. Have you concealed your knowledge of the illegal activities of others from the public.

    I think that would put an end to Arizona's interest in the birther issue. Arizona is the third sleaziest state after Florida and Rhode Island.

    April 20, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. Thad

    I am actually surprised it was not Idaho who tried to pull this garbage... Oh you wild and crazy fearpublicans, what will you think of next?

    April 20, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. lovable liberal

    The wingnuts really want to start an insurrection.

    April 20, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Harry

    CNN Political Producer Shannon Travis:

    This is a non story, and if this "producer" doesn't know this it's just another example of why CNN is getting more pathetic everyday.

    STATES DON'T HAVE AUTHORITY TO REGULATE FEDERAL ELECTIONS... PERIOD. This is nothing but political buffoonary on the part of Arizona. The ACTUAL story is how foolish the State Legislature in Arizona is to be wasting time and money playing these games.

    April 20, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |

    Arizona, the last great redneck state. Birthers, deathers, anti-Hispanic stance, you gotta love it.

    April 20, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Jacq

    I lived in AZ for 4 years it was racist then and still backwoods as ever!

    April 20, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. S Callahan

    I never thought this as such a big deal until I read of the solider doctor who has taken a stand....a right stand at that.....what is the big deal...he should produce it......if he is honest about it...then the story is over.

    April 20, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. key

    As long as one parent is a natural born US citizen no matter were your child is born that child may become an US citizen I believe this is in the constitution.

    April 20, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Lori in St Pete

    Not a fan of johnnyboy, but U.S. military installations are considered U.S. territory anywhere in the world. My husband was born in a U.S. Army hospital in Germany to an American GI and Swiss woman. He grew up in Europe but has been an American citizen his entire life – never even had dual citizenship. He also served in the U.S. military for 22 years.

    However, if johnnyboy wasn't really born on a U.S. military installation, and had in fact been born in a Panamanian hospital, well that's a horse of a different feather.

    April 20, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Rick

    Demoncratic and CNN coverup, then why did his wife say he was born in Kenya, just nothing but more lies and destruction of America. Obama and his cronies lie and want to be kings, well time is getting closer where the upity ups are going to fall, the American people will dismantle the Obama regime soon.

    April 20, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Baseball & Hotdogs anyone !?

    This is so sad! and such a reach!
    Just another indicator of the desperate measures people will go to... because they don't like the idea of THIS President being successful.
    I wish this person from Arizona would just come out and say what exactly is the indicator that President Obama is not American? (Not insinuation or crackpot speculation! but actual proof by any independent non-partisan credible source that can prove he's not American).

    When people like Rep. Burges refuse to accept the findings of our free press at every level (right or left leaning), which has debunked this story to no end, why should we not think she's either delusional? or an anarchists' of a deliberately insidious nature?

    April 20, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Lee W

    I don't have any doubts that John McCain met the citizenship requirements to run for the U.S. Presidency.

    But it IS so interesting that in point of fact, his birth certificate can't be produced because it was lost.

    Yet Obama's certificate, which has been presented again and again, will not be believed,

    God bless the land of the free to speak as lunatics.

    April 20, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Marry

    …as if Arizona had no other things to worry about! America – the land of unlimited possibilities! Including a bill that is so insulting, it is beyond comprehension! Some people should be sooooo ashamed of themselves! An administration that for 8 years set all their efforts on lining their pockets and bringing the country to its knees – at the cost of thousands of young Americans lives combined with a greed that brought the financial systems worldwide near a meltdown. And now these same people that tricked them then, scream they want their country back (to screw them again)! In the meantime these people do not realize that they got real lucky! A new, young and brilliant president that rolled up his sleeves and does amazing work to bring back the country! To all Americans – but that is not what they want. They just want things for themselves – not opportunity for all. Tea party, birthers, Foxes, Palins, McCains, Bachmanns, the Cantors – oh, so many more that are all full of crap (and I believe full of envy) – and the sad thing – to many people fall for the same old deceptions that harmed them before… Disgusting and upsetting!!!

    April 20, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Future expat

    "I propose they rename their state West Carolina. Have a nice day!"

    Hahaha. Nice. I was about to say how Arizona seems to be competing with South Carolina to be the nation's biggest embarrassment, but you phrased it perfectly!

    April 20, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. NVa Native

    "Stupid is as stupid does ........."

    April 20, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. John Wilbur

    Perhaps everyone doesn't understand what is really going on here. This action is the kind of thing one should expect of a country that is slowly (or maybe not so slowly) going down the drain. As a nation we are in decline. This is a symptom.

    President Obama, as smart as he is, cannot make up for a nation of fools.

    April 20, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Benito

    man the next thing they will want is VIDEO! come on someone in AZ tell your lawmakers to pay attention to you and not the made up stuff that the birthers are selling. hahaha

    April 20, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. hazel


    There's an abundance of beautiful pictures of the Grand Canyon you can look at, and you'd save yourself both travel expenses and the horrible embarrassment of being in a state governed by such tiny-brained, racist legislators.


    April 20, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Donnatella

    I can't wait until the next election, not only will President Obama show his birth certificate, he is going to kick butt to his opponent just for them bringing this up, this whole senario is going to blow up in the republicans face. I don't care what they say if he were white none of this would be happening. Arizona, a place to take off of my list for retirement.

    April 20, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. j

    This law is just plain silly.

    April 20, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. Marty, FL

    This kind of nonsense and waste of taxpayer money/time is why many Americans no longer take the GOP serious (and why I left the Republican Party).

    April 20, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Russ

    Is Arizona even a state? I've been there many times and it sure looks a lot like Mexico. I apologize if I offended any Mexicans with that comparison.

    April 20, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Most states, you can't register your kids for school without showing them the kid's birth certificate, and most places require a birth certificate to get a driver's license. What's wrong with requiring a President to prove he meets a Constitutional requirement for the job.

    Yeah, personally, I'm sure Obama really is a born-in-the-USA US citizen–if nothing else, in order to get the DoD security clearances I'm sure he has, his background was very thoroughly investigated.

    Actually, I suspect Obama is playing games with his birth certificate just to make the birthers look bad.

    April 20, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Im embarrassed to live in AZ. This state scares me sometimes, it is so backwards and behind the curve that we wonder why John McCain loves it here.

    April 20, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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