'Birther' bill supporters among GOP Platform Committee members
August 25th, 2012
05:18 PM ET
2 years ago

'Birther' bill supporters among GOP Platform Committee members

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - At an event in Michigan on Friday, Mitt Romney joked about the veracity of President Obama's birth certificate and once again called attention to the GOP's awkward dance with a grassroots movement that has long questioned the president's citizenship and eligibility to hold office.

While the "birther" cause seems confined to the harebrained fringes of American politics, it's actually somewhat closer to the official domain of Republican politics than party leaders would like to admit.

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As CNN wrote in May, Republican members of Congress and state-level GOP officials continue to publicly raise questions about Obama's citizenship.

Some elected officials have even pushed legislation requiring candidates for office to submit a certified birth certificate before securing ballot access.

Two such Republicans were involved in the drafting of the GOP's official platform earlier this week - though it must be stressed that nothing in the platform raises doubts about Obama's citizenship.

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a co-chairman of the platform committee, co-sponsored a 2009 House bill called the "Presidential Eligibility Act."

The bill would have required presidential candidates to submit a copy of one's birth certificate before seeking office. It died in committee.

At the time, Blackburn said she had no doubts about Obama's citizenship. But she defended the proposal, saying that "the best way to prevent this distraction from manifesting itself in future elections is to implement a standard of proof that all candidates must abide by when they pursue the office of president."

A second platform committee member, Alabama state Sen. Cam Ward, co-sponsored a 2011 bill in the state house requiring candidates "to submit a certified copy of his or her birth certificate before his or her name is placed on a ballot."

Then there's Kim Lehman, a member of the Republican National Committee from Iowa who was also involved in drafting the party platform. Lehman hasn't questioned Obama's citizenship - just his religion.

She caused a stir in 2010 when she falsely claimed that Obama is a Muslim and accused the media of concealing his true faith.

Those are only three people on a committee of over 100 people – and none of them raised questions about Obama's citizenship in their many hours of platform deliberations this week.

But their presence in the room in Tampa is a reminder that the conspiracy-dabbling fringe isn't as far away from the GOP mainstream as Republican officials would prefer.

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    The deal behind the idea of challenging Obama's place of birth qualifications was simple. Once he showed in 2009 that his priorities in office were very much for a liberal agenda rather than national interest as he had proclaimed in the 2008 campaign, it seemed a convenient technicality which could remove him from office early. But it wasn't to be. It doesn't matter anymore. We will obviously have to stick it out until November when we can vote in the Romney Administration. The nation has taken a huge hit because of Obama's ideological agenda, but we will survive and manage our way back out and recover the economy starting in January. We are bringing in the best team to make that happen. Romney/ Ryan 2012.

    August 25, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. jrm03063

    We all get this – it's the least well kept secret in America – "birthers" simply don't accept the idea that an African American has what it takes to be President. Therefore, if a person of color becomes President – he's obviously not an American! What an amazing place America could be – if more people actually took THINKING seriously.

    August 25, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. CBR

    The position of those Republicans is said with a wink and a smile. Mr. Romney's remarks are clear. He does not believe that Mr. Obama was born in the USA. Perhaps that is because none of these individuals know where Hawaii is and that it is a state.

    The so-called innocence that Mr. Romney shows is a cover. When he makes remarks like the one over the birth certificate He does so to keep the "Birther" questions in the headlines. That was not mistake but it was a deliberate attempt to appease "birthers" and to show tacit approval to those in the platform committee.

    August 25, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. John

    YCNN needs to get back to the philosophy of Ted Turner! Lead or get the hell out of the way! You are nothing but followers and time slot fillers. Have you watched CNN lately? Your biased reporting is almost as bad as that of the New York Times! Get Fair and Balanced! That is all I ask!

    August 25, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    The GOP/Tea Party has been taken over the extreme social conservative wing since the beginning of the last Bush administration. All moderate GOP House and Senate members have been purged from the party leading to a gridlock in Washington.

    August 25, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. Kenny K

    Well, they should ask every candidate. As Romney said, we are still waiting to hear about request for Romney's birth certificate from BIRTHERS.

    August 25, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Craig

    This discussion would not be happening if Obama were white.

    August 25, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. 1608

    I would like to vote mittin..my neighbors cat.

    August 25, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Don

    huh? How is this not an opinion piece? Drawing your own conclusions? Report the news, don't make it.

    August 25, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. tommariner

    C'mon - everybody knows this is a hit piece designed to influence that all those Republicans arriving in Tampa are really out-of-touch turkeys. I'm certain that next week he will write how the Democrat convention attendees believe the CIA and Bush flew planes into the twin towers and want to ban all fossil-fueled vehicles. No really.

    The only coverage that CNN is going to give Tampa will be the "gotcha" shots that show the worst.

    August 25, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. skmind

    "But their presence in the room in Tampa is a reminder that the conspiracy-dabbling fringe isn't as far away from the GOP mainstream as Republican officials would prefer."

    Who says that Republican officials do not prefer birthers?

    August 25, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. City Girl

    What a frightening group of people the current GOP base is. If they ever get control of the Presidency, Senate, House and Supreme Court (which is what they're trying to do in the upcoming election) America is doomed. The GOP has been on a slow, but steady, progression downward since the election of Reagan when the GOP finally figured out that infiltrating evangelical religion would be the easiest way to control our (formerly) democratic government. They scare me!

    August 25, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. Lahdee Dah

    Is anyone really surprised by this?

    August 25, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. Steve Fielder

    Tea Party activists, Birthers, and other assorted Nativists now make up the largest portion of the GOP's political support-base. Can their views still truly be described as "fringe"?

    August 25, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. lisa2010

    what's wrong with our country, all of sudden we have a black president, we questioned him about being born in america... why didn't we have that coversations with other presidents in the past, because they were white, they could've been born in the UK, germany etc... so if we elect a woman as president will we question whether she had a sex change...

    August 25, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. TAK

    Mitt Romney is a tax evader unless he releases his returns for the last six years.

    August 25, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. scott

    I wonder how many people know that John McCain was born in Panama, and NOT, in the United States?

    August 25, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  18. FactChecker

    They sound stupid

    August 25, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  19. Jay Dee

    I find it funny that Romney still uses the birther issue when we should be questioning his religion and his family ties in Mexico. His family left the USA 125 years ago to move to Mexico to expand on their Mormon beliefs of polygamy or plural marriages. His family still lives in Colonia Juarez and Colonia Dublan, just 175 miles south of the border. Mitt Romney's father, George, was born in Colonia Dublan, one of the colonies in northern Mexico that the Romneys settled in after their arrival. His mother, Lenore LaFount Romney, was born in Utah. George left Mexico with his family when he was five years old to escape the Mexican Revolution and eventually became Governor of Michigan. I find it peculiar that his father George also tried to run for president of the United States after being born in Mexico, being an illegal alien with his own birther issue. So in essence, Michigan voters elected an Mexican alien as their governor. Does having these family ties give way to the possibilities that Romney will ease on the Mexican alien situation? Doesn't it make you wonder why the Romney family takes their toys and run to another country each time they don't get their way? Mitt offshores his money to avoid taxes, and his family runs to Mexico when polygamy is outlawed. I'm sorry, but this draws a picture that this nominee has ulterior motives that benefit south of the border. I vote for Obama is 2012.

    August 25, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. guss

    I guess the republicans message on their policies are not bought by the educated american people,,!! So they create doubts and fear about the presdint,,how sad,,!! To me I say if u realy luv this great country and u want it to furish in gold,,then choose the right person and people to do the job done,,how can people look at romeny and think he will do better,, how can they accept a person who say's anything to get acceptd,,how can they accept a man tht don't have any principles,,always flip floping,,thts a very dangerous person to trust,,!! Romeny is a person tht has almost evrything in his life,,,wats a piece thts missing in his life is totale power of the world,,!! How can he understand people tht are strugling day to day in their lives whn he never had to strugle to get food or pay bills,,!! He's only interested in himself and gettin the power to establishe his kids and grandkids future,,!!

    August 25, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Hienrick Metz

    The hippocracy of the republican party amazes me. They want a birth certificate that has been presented and verified while their candidate doesn't produce tax returns and in effect says trust me. ... I don't

    August 25, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Obama was born in the USA .

    And Mitt Romney's five sons avoided voluntary military service.

    August 25, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. M-W-T

    Please explain how she got the newspaper in Hawaii to post his birth announcement and his hospital records over 50 years ago. And most of all, How did she know all this was going to happen???
    Come on all you republican IDIOTS.......lets hear it!

    August 25, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. fryuujin

    the red states drying up. maybe some trickle down economics or faith basic charity will help. Lets ask Mitt. answer – let there be an orderly bankruptcy.

    keep voting GOP suckers.

    and by the way climate change is a hoax. Got to be Fox told us so.

    August 25, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. enuff

    What about showing tax returns? Where is their problem with that? Especially when the candidate comments that big business is doing fine with their off-shore tax-free accounts?

    August 25, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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