'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. Tony in Maine

    What's scary is that one of the two major political parties in the United States, the GOP, has some seriously delusional leaders.

    August 25, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. Harry Kuheim

    There still hasn't been and answer given on how Obama got a Foreign Student Loan...either he lied to get the loan or his handlers have Doctored his Birth Certificate since his days as a Student and later a Senator.

    No one else could hide behind the color of his skin and accuse everyone who questions anything he says as a Racist. How about some satisfactory answers before a second term?

    August 25, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. Jacob

    These people who are part of the GOP should be embarrassed. It is more telling of who they are that they aren't embarrassed at all.

    August 25, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. Dnc

    "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." CNN, can't you tell the difference between reporting and an opinion? "Harebrained" should not be in a REPORTER'S vocabulary. How about truth and fairness?

    August 25, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  5. Vicki

    Hopefully they will have a good convention in the Convention Center that the government helped build. Got this from Ed Schulz who knows that it takes a lot of people to help a person reach their full potential from teachers, to parents, to government loans and to people who will work with you and plan a business.

    August 25, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. 1nsite

    Complete waste of tax payer time and money. No wonder they didn't work on their 2010 platform of jobs, jobs, jobs.

    August 25, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    It's not his birth certificate, it's his color. They never once questioned Mitt Romney's father (born in Mexico), or John McCain (born in Panama).

    Face the truth for once.

    August 25, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  8. michael in houston

    This is a good thing for America. It increases awareness that the GOP of today is comprised of fanatical leaders and supporters that are fast becoming enemies of democrasy. The continuation of its grip that is choking off rational behavior is coming to an end. They are now the party of Palin, Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, Gingrich, Rove, Rush, Hannity, the witch from Delaware. There is nothing redeeming, promising, worthy, or strong about them and their base. We as a Nation better wake up from this chokehold of lunacy and make the GOP a shrinking minority until they are void of power.

    August 25, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. Really?

    Well D'Sousza's documenary sheds some light on who Obama really is and answers a lot of questions many people had. Romney/Ryan 2012 .... That is if you want a chance to hold on to the freedoms so many of our veterans defended.

    August 25, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. Steven Colo

    They're disavowing their birther stance, trying to hide their abortion and Medicare stances, and insisting that trickle down works. Reality's not the GOP's strong suit.

    August 25, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  11. Ted

    Trying to revive dead issues, CNN?

    August 25, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  12. Yonni

    Good for them. They will have the opportunity to nominate fellow Birther for president.

    August 25, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. Tony

    Democrats should introduce a bill called the "Congressional IQ Test Act." Candidates running for House or Senate must pass an IQ test. Democrats will get the veto-proof majorities in both chambers in no time.

    August 25, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  14. Matthew Jones

    How are birthers at the GOP convention? Their platform is completely false. Pure propaganda. They keep missing the part where his Mother was born in Kansas, making him a US Citizen at birth. Regardless of where he was born, or who his Father is.

    The Constitution does not define the phrase natural-born citizen, and various opinions have been offered over time regarding its precise meaning. A 2011 Congressional Research Service report stated

    The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term "natural born" citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship "by birth" or "at birth", either by being born "in" the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship "at birth". Such term, however, would not include a person who was not a U.S. citizen by birth or at birth, and who was thus born an "alien" required to go through the legal process of "naturalization" to become a U.S. citizen.

    August 25, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. faxurtz

    What is the REAL meaning of born in America?
    Most Americans has Polish German Dutch and even Russian sounding names and recently Latino also...
    which brings us back to the point ... were their parents legal citizens?.........
    Beacuse these are the same people who are DEPORTING children BORN in America parented by so called non citizens...
    When A Fool Is Talking Its Not Always A Fool Who Is Listening !!

    August 25, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. Maryw

    These people are a real threat to democracy

    August 25, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  17. marty

    After reading about the revelations of Cam Ward and Kim Lehman re: births and religion plus Mr. Romney's cutsy attempt at humor , I think it's time to draft a bill at the Republican convention suggesting psychiatric testing for all members of Congress and all who declare a candidacy for any political office. From the disgusting 'you lie' ugliness of Joe Wilson to the current ugliness orchestrated by the new persons called Citizens United, the United States of America has become the Divided States by Unamericans.

    August 25, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  18. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The modern day republican party has become the "hairbrained fringes of American politics" referred to in this article.

    August 26, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  19. MrManhattan

    The Republicans have been building that monster in the basement for going on three decades.

    Now they act surprised when it comes upstairs and sits down in the dining room!

    August 26, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  20. Omar Lewis

    A large number of people can't admit their racist nature so the come up with acusations of Obama being muslim or born outside the US or some other insane theory to excuse their prajudice nature. Just have the balls to admit you are racist and we will give you more respect for it.Fact: John Mackain was born in Panama outside the american base in a private hospital. I don't see you right wing nuts questioning his citizenship.

    August 26, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  21. h

    Obama is not a U.S Citizen it's amazing when a group of people question ones background they are called "birthers" "conspiracy therosit" its very annoying how about we call everyone who believes he's an American citizen "Sheeple" Unawaken zombies

    August 26, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  22. Dave in Arizona

    I'd go the other way and propose an amendment removing the requirement of natural born citizen status altogether.

    If a person is a good enough person with good enough proposals to earn the support of the American people, why should it matter where they were born or where their parents called home? Loyalty cannot be measured or guaranteed by the presence of a US state birth certificate; it's a fallible requirement for multiple reasons. So let the American people be the judge.

    August 26, 2012 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  23. AK_steve

    And yet they tell us they are focused on jobs. But spend most of their time trying to discredit the president every chance they get. GOP = Party before People.

    August 26, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  24. Mike

    Ignorance like this make me want to stop paying taxes. Is this what my tax dollars are being wasted on? I can't wait for my generation to start leading this country. These old people in office now are stuck in the past. They all need to just go fishing, indefinitely.

    August 26, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  25. daryl

    Is this a report or an editorial? Use of terms like harebrained or fringe generally implies an opinion, not an unbiased report. Unfortunately there are still unanswered questions about our president's birthplace and religion.

    August 26, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
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