'Birther' debate alive and well in New Hampshire
March 9th, 2011
08:32 AM ET
4 years ago

'Birther' debate alive and well in New Hampshire

(CNN) - A New Hampshire House committee voted unanimously, 18-0, on Wednesday to recommend killing an amendment that would require presidential candidates to present birth certificates when filing their candidacy for the first-in-the-nation primary.

The bill is expected to go to a full House floor vote next week.

The chairman of the state's House Election Law Committee told the New Hampshire Union Leader that if passed, the law would not take effect until January 2013, after the Granite State primary and the presidential general election. The bill, which will be considered in committee Wednesday, was originally scheduled to take effect 60 days after passage.

"We recognize the potential problems," Republican state Rep. David Bates told the Leader Tuesday. "It created the appearance that it was all centered on a putting barriers in the way of President Obama."

Bates said the date change "is to diffuse any perception that this was directed at President Obama and is purely a policy decision designed to ensure that candidates for president are qualified according to the requirements of the Constitution."

The so-called "birther" controversy, stemming from questions over President Obama's birthplace, has ignited debates across the country. Lawmakers in at least 10 states have introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to provide proof they are natural-born citizens.

President Obama was in fact born in Hawaii, and on Monday the Supreme Court again rejected an appeal from a "birther" proponent questioning the citizenship of the president.

However, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last year, 27 percent of those surveyed said Obama was definitely or probably not born in the United States, compared with 71 percent who said he was definitely or probably born in the country. More Republicans with 41 percent said Obama was not a natural-born citizen, compared with 15 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents surveyed.

The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Updated 1:43 p.m.

– CNN Correspondent Lisa Sylvester contributed to this report.


Filed under: New Hampshire
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. David

    We can see this is more important than creating jobs. Why doesn't every politician everywhere fight for a bill to cut there own wages and freeze there very own wages for a 100 years? And while there at it, cut their own medical and pension benefits, pay and struggle like every other American does in this country. Pensions are for High paid executives, not politicians. and paid medical benefits is something that unions have, not politicians. And speaking of unions, there should never be a union contractor working for the government in any way or form, this is a conflict of interest.

    March 9, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. deb

    This is such a NON-issue that just keeps raising it's ugly head! Get lives right wing nutcases! This is beyond ridiculous! Your ignorance is astounding!!!

    March 9, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Jon

    As a liberal and life-long Democrat, I'm very, very glad that the GOP is focusing on the big, important issues like this one. To Independents and people with two brain cells to rub together, these "birthers" look like clowns.

    March 9, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. John in Brooklyn

    Two thoughts:

    1) The law would be redundant since being a natural born citizen is a requirement for presidency. Every president (other than those grandfathered by being born prior to the passage of the constitution) has met the qualifications....including the current one.

    2) There have been movements throughout US history to remove the natural born citizen requirement (the most recent was the effort to draft Arnold Schwarzenegger for Vice President). If this happens, citizens not born in the US would, in effect, be required to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court (and win) to be permitted to be placed on the ballot in New Hampshire.

    Bottom line...this is a nasty, spiteful, unnecessary, and anti-imigrant (and, therefore, Anti-American) effort.

    March 9, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. RJ

    These "Birthers" need to get a grip on reality. They can deny that his birth ceritificate and the birth announcements in the Hawaian newspaper aren't real all they want. It's doesn't change the fact that they are in fact real.

    March 9, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Gary TX

    so am I understanding that this was never asked beofre? It's in the Constitution .. right? We are out of money and these states want to WASTE that money on something like this .. lawyers .. who needs them

    March 9, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Rob Johnson

    Well, the only problem is that the whole "Birther" controversy IS totally about Obama. If the new law isn't going to apply to him then I can't imagine why they would even bother.

    Where do these people think Obama was born? Africa? Doesn't it pose a problem that his mother had never been to Africa at the time of his birth? Have any of these birthers actually thought this through, or do they just hate Obama?

    March 9, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Bubba

    Hitler said that most people will tell small lies, but would never tell a big one; therefore they are always convinced by a Big Lie. Hitler would be in awe of Limbaugh and Beck, who just keep tossing them out there. This is a great one, since no proof will actually convince these doinks. How many of us actually have our original birth certificate in our hands? Mine's long gone when the hospital burned down, but I can get microfilm copies from the courthouse. Aha! MICROFILM~ like in a spy movie! Enemy agent for sure! You can't just go check out your original birth certificate like a library book! All anyone is going to present is a copy, so I guess no one will run in New Hampshire this year.

    March 9, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. burgh

    Why are we still having this conversation? He was born here...end of story! The Republicans will do anything to take the focus off of their dirty deeds and their assult on the middle class.

    March 9, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Taioseach

    *Groan"

    One more time, small minded people. President Bush and Vice President Cheney were still in office when Barrack Hussein Obama announced his intent to run for the office of President of the United states. Bush's popularity saw a resurgence after 911 and his brain, Karl Rove capitalized on the tragedy by playing upon the fears of Americans. A fear of another attack by radical Muslims. This was the button to push and they hammered on it. That button was called "National Security."

    Now, having said that why is it so difficult to grasp that if Barrack Hussein Obama wasn't a citizen, it would have been discovered. I'm sure his name alone insured that his background would be checked thoroughly in the interest of national security. He would never been elected President. By the way, anyone born a citizen of the United States can become President. Doesn't matter if he or she is Catholic, Jewish, MUSLIM, Red, Yellow, Brown or White (which so many have been).

    It's done, he's President, move on already.

    March 9, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Diane

    It must be great for the Republicans to know that at least 41% of their party members will believe whatever they're told.
    Misleading the public is very "patriotic", don't cha know.
    we don't hear an "leaders" of the party setting them straight, do we?

    March 9, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. PalmReader

    "The chairman of the state's House Election Law Committee told the New Hampshire Union Leader that if passed, the law would not take effect until January 2013, after the Granite State primary and the presidential general election."

    The Birther movement is an example of just how out of control the Republican Party has become. Other examples might include allowing the Anti-Abortionists, the TeaPers, and any other nutcase group to run around the country demanding our politicians continue this insanity of taking more and more rights away from the *regular* folks. Can't for a minute think that Santorum, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Daniels, Romeny, Bachmann, Palin, Huckabee, Barbour, Hunstman, or Trump could each - or any one of them - ever display the leadership skills needed to keep their own party united, let alone do best for the entire country. If one thing is glaringly obvious this presidential cycle, it's the LACK of leadership coming from the Republican Party. Doesn't bode well for either the GOPers, or the Country, should any one of these fools actually become President.

    March 9, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Ernie

    This is not a bad idea, what I can't understand is, if the bill is passed why does it go into affect in Jan 2013. This makes no sence. If this was a regular bill for the people of New Hampshire it would take affect "Immediately". Presidental candidtaes are no different than the people of New Hampshire, This is the problem with politician they always pass bills that take affect in the future not the present. Remember everyone the people don't pass the laws it's the law makesr that do. It's for the people to take a good hard look at the politicians that are elected to office, and find out what qualifications they have to be elected to offiece. They alwasy pass bills to take affect in the future that means that they won't be around when the bill takes affect. So once their off of office all their doing is laughing because they know there is nothing anyone can do to change the law. Law Maker's 1 American Tax Payer 0

    March 9, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Don

    The birther nonsense has become a colossal waste of time and effort that I believe shows the moral and mental bankruptcy of America's right. The fact that this is still being discussed and considered in New Hampshire's State House, with all the real issues being faced by that august body, is revealing. Rather than being removed from politics as this article suggests, it is entirely political, regardless of the timing.

    I find myself being sorry for American conservatives who reject such nonsense, since this must fly completely in the face of their agenda; threatening not only many of their pet projects but the very basis of credibility of American conservatives.

    March 9, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. davkat

    This is stupid and an unnessary waste of tax payer money! In over 200 years this has not been an issue. As soon as a black man with a funny sounding name, born from a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya becomes president, every troll starts climbing from under their rock and spouting nonscience. We need more education so people can stop doing stupid things, but of course, they are going to cut the funding so that we can remain 17th in the world in math and 28th in the world in science. Hope you are proud!

    March 9, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. Former soldier

    So, where do we start. I guess that the greatest concern is not over the ignorance of abill like this, but, more importantly that so many people in our society are so easily fooled into believing something so factually incorrect. This extends to evolution, climate change, and trickle down economics. I am afraid America has gone off of the cliff. We have succumb to ignorance because we are afraid the world is changing. Instead of adpating, we are fighting it. And, if the folks who believe this would read up a bit about evolution, they would realize that adapting is important for survival. Our reluctance to adapt will turn us into a 3rd world country. We are already well on that path.

    March 9, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. livin' the good life

    It's ALWAYS comforting AND re'ass'uring knowing that our elected "officials" are busy dealing with jobs, education, insurance and other more IMPORTANT matters for us Americans along with SPENDING time AND money for these priorities...

    March 9, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    Why stop there? Why not have them present DNA samples to prove their children are theirs? How about full-body cavity searches? Its amazing that the people who are screaming about pat-downs in airports are demanding birth certificates for presidential candidates.

    March 9, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. anagram_kid

    Let’s look at the bigger picture. I am not sure how many people have realized this yet, but we are no longer living in a set of small colonies where allegiance to the British monarchy is a genuine concern. This part of the criteria for president is archaic. I wonder why no one ever points out that one of the requirements is not that the president be a man. Could it be that our founding fathers were so short sighted that since women were not allowed to vote it was assumed they could never be president?
    In any case our outstanding president was born in HI and is a US citizen. Get over it birthers.

    March 9, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. Anonymous

    The witch hunt over Obama may be a joke, but is it wrong for us to ask proof of who someone is and where they are from before they run for the highest office in this country? In order to get a passport, a certificate of live birth is required. So if that peson has a passport, proof has been offered. Asking for this should be sifficient.

    March 9, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Kathy

    "Republicans with 41 percent said Obama was not a natural-born citizen, compared with 15 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents surveyed. " – Just can't fix stupid!! Also, my birthcertificate does not have foot prints on it, there is no "long form" and it is difficult to obtain them. In one legal case I was involved a birht ceritificate was produced to the judge ONLY. If people get ahold of birth certificates they can create bogus SS numbers and cards.

    March 9, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Bob

    The problem with this is how many people can actually produce their original birth certificates? Not many, I'll bet. And if you request one from the state, you would get one like Obama had. That is a result of privacy laws.

    March 9, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. Rafael

    Why can't Obama produce a BIRTH CERTIFICATE not a life birth or any other and be done with this issue once and for all. What is he hiding? Show the damn thing! Man!

    March 9, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. April

    Never have I seen an issue like this go on as long as this has... Can we please move the heck on & get this country back on task? Small minds discuss people, Great minds discuss ideas!

    March 9, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. kyle

    2013, too late, this bill is all about Obama.

    March 9, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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