#eligibility: WH Confirms Rep. Deal’s Letter; Some Obama Questions “Off-Limits?”by Phil on 01/10/2010
I had been previously reporting that Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA), currently a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, was in the process of sending a letter to Mr. Obama allegedly to request his birth certificate. On Friday, January 8, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the White House had, in fact, received the letter (coverage also at RadioPatriot, Anti-Mullah, and the News-Independent):
The White House on Thursday confirmed receipt of a letter from U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal that formally asks Barack Obama to address questions about his place of birth – and thus, whether he is qualified to be president.
The letter arrived Dec. 10. Beyond that, no one is willing to say much.
According to my AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington, Todd Smith, Deal’s chief of staff, likewise confirmed that the letter had been sent. But neither Smith nor his boss would comment on its content.
“[Deal] just did what he said he was going to do,” Smith said. “It’s not news.”
Likewise, White House spokeswoman Gannet Tseggai – while acknowledging receipt of Deal’s letter, declined to release a copy or discuss its content, saying that the issue of Obama’s birth has been addressed repeatedly. …
Deal said he has “no reason to think” that Obama is not a legal citizen – but added that questions raised by so-called “birthers” about Obama’s nationality warrant more proof.
“I have looked at the documentation that is publicly available and it leaves many things to be desired,” Deal said in November.
After declining to respond to numerous phone calls and e-mails seeking comment, Smith finally addressed the letter during a brief interview at Deal’s Washington office on Thursday.
He declined to provide a copy, saying it was out of deference to the president.
PeachPundit, Georgia’s most influential political blog, began taking issue with the sentiment expressed in the last sentence of the AJC quote, above:
With all due respect Mr. Smith and Representative Deal, this is news. You made it news. You have decided to go all in with “crazy” by deciding to question the legitimacy – in every way that word has meaning – of a sitting President.
You don’t want it to be news because you just want the World Net Daily readers to know that you’re really one of them. But you want the more mainstream voters to know you’re a normal mainstream establishment Republican.
Yet, commenter “Mozart” took issue with the posting by “Icarus:”
So, let me see if I can gather from Icarus’s view of the world:
Once a question has ever been answered (whether the answer is the truth or not), it can never be asked again without someone laying a title on the asker of “birther, weirdo, crackpot, nutball”, etc.?
And commenter “Harry” brought up an excellent point, very similar to where I personally go with the eligibility issue (except for a brief foray into ignorance, mistaking “native-born” with the constitutional phrase, “natural born”):
The idea of a constitution is to help us all argue from the same starting point. There are basic constitutional differences that can’t have to be resolved in order to format national policies, differences involving decentralized free market vs. centralized collectivism among other things, some questions more difficult than others. If we give in on the easy questions, where does that lead us? One of the easy questions should be, does Obama meet the constitutional test for the presidency? He managed to avoid addressing this issue in 2008, but there’s still 2012. Only native-born U.S. citizens (or those born abroad, but only to parents who were both citizens of the U.S.) may be president of the United States, can become president according to the constitution. Whether Obama meets this requirement can be very easily put to rest, by him providing his full, original certificate of live birth. He hasn’t done this. The abbreviated, ex-post-facto computer version he put on the internet proves nothing. Let’s see the real one.
Regardless of the overall negative tone, I do agree with “Icarus” in that this is news, and I don’t quite understand what hiding the letter from public view being “out of deference to the President” is about. Rep. Deal claims to have executed this activity out of requests from his constituents (under the auspices that the President should be transparent with his background), but yet Rep. Deal becomes suddenly opaque when anyone questions the content of the actual letter. Why even say that you’re going to send a letter if you don’t want to actually show the letter to the public?
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Thanks to commenter “Black Lion” here at The Right Side of Life, we became aware of the following exchange between an unnamed individual and Rep. Deal’s office, via OhForGoodnessSake. I’m going to add my own analysis between the paragraphs:
Yesterday, a Friend of Politijab called Rep. Deal’s office and spoke with his Chief of Staff, Todd Smith, about Deal’s letter to the President of the United States, apparently asking to see his birth certificate:
1. I asked Mr. Smith if Congressman Deal was going to release the letter he had sent to President Obama and he stated, “not at this time.” I asked Mr. Smith what the letter had requested from President Obama and he stated, “proof of President Obama’s citizenship and natural born citizen status so they could put this issue to rest.” I asked Mr. Smith if he was aware that President Obama had released his birth certificate online to factcheck and that the State of Hawaii had confirmed that President Obama was born in Hawaii. Mr. Smith said, “yes, but someone had told him that something on the back of the birth certificate was not right.” I asked Mr. Smith where he obtained this info and he would not tell me. Basically, Mr. Smith stated that they are waiting for the President to respond to their letter. Mr. Smith claims Congressman Deal has not done a press release on this and are not after publicity but are doing this because of his constituents concerns. Then I asked him if Mr. Smith was aware that release of the birth certificate (again) would not put this matter to rest as he claims Congressman Deal wants because of the nbc = 2 citizen parents BS. Mr. Smith states there are no other congressmen involved at the present time; however, they have discussed this issue with some other congressmen but would not say who. I asked if I could send Mr. Smith some information regarding this issue and he stated, “no, that he had all the information he needed.”
Regarding the COLB, Mr. Smith was correct to question it, considering the FactCheck.org blog is the only organization that has ever actually inspected the alleged original document, and even that inspection is not professional.
Regarding additional information, again, that apparently was the whole point of the letter — though, again, to be fair, we really don’t know exactly what Rep. Deal has asked of the President.
2. I asked Mr. Smith if Congressman Deal believed that to be a nbc = 2 citizen parents and he stated that he wasn’t sure what Congressman Deal believed but their constituents felt their was some questions regarding this issue (natural born citizen) that had merit. My response was of course, that in my opinion, this was well settled law. I asked to send him some info regarding this and he refused to accept any info.
Let’s not put the cart before the horse. The 2-citizen parent issue is certainly a sub-issue of the eligibility question, but apparently the content of the letter is intended to solicit a response from the President that might supersede even this issue. Nobody at this time knows. Further, while I appreciate the tenaciousness of the caller, Mr. Smith isn’t there to be lectured to, but to answer questions.
3. I asked Mr. Smith if Congressman Deal supported the CGJ/AGJ and he did not answer my question one way or the other. So, not sure. I pointed out to Mr. Smith that these groups had already tried, convicted and sentenced President Obama in their online grand juries.
Again, based on the currently unknown contents of the letter, the common law grand jury concept may be irrelevant regarding this letter.
4. I asked Mr. Smith if Congressman Deal was aware that President Obama had been threatened. Mr. Smith was aware of those threats. I asked Mr. Smith if Congressman Deal was aware that judges who had rendered decisions in the eligibility lawsuits had been threatened, accused of treason, etc., etc. Mr. Smith stated, “that he was not aware of this.” I asked Mr. Smith if he wanted some information regarding this and he stated, “no”.
The whole point of having a Representative ask the President for his bona fides is so that the question doesn’t have to be answered in Court. And, Rep. Deal has standing to ask these questions.
After all, isn’t that what the opposition has allegedly “wanted” all along? Some federal officer in the Legislative branch to do the questioning? Well, here it is!
5. Mr. Smith asked me if I had contacted my representatives regarding this issue.(Deal letter) My reply was, “no, because none of my representatives had signed the letter to President Obama.” However, that I had spoken to some Congressmen’s (staffers) regarding this issue in the past. Mr. Smith asked who my reps were and I told him.
6. I was about to ask Mr. Smith if Congressman Deal had read the judges decisions in these eligibility lawsuits but Mr. Smith asked what my stance was regarding this issue. I told him that President Obama was eligible to be POTUS (had released his BC and Hawaii confirmed) and that if you were born in America, you were a natural born citizen–end of story. Mr. Smith stated, “this conversation is over” and would not answer any more of my questions, but asked for my name, which I gave him, again. (I identified myself and my State at the beginning of our conversation.) I stated, “fine, thank you”, and hung up the phone.
What the caller may not be aware of is that no judge has ever rendered a decision regarding a specific question of presidential eligibility. If they had, then the Courts would have already defined “natural born citizen” with respect to presidential eligibility (and that is a very fine distinction), and we wouldn’t be having this debate. What many judges have done, however, is offered their opinions on actual questions posed to them, such as whether or not the Court should be tasked with actually removing the President (which it constitutionally cannot do).
One such excellent opinion regarding the Court’s relationship with presidential eligibility can be found via the Barnett v. Obama decision by Judge Carter, providing what I called “A Teachable Moment.”
Also, there’s a very good reason why Mr. Smith asked for the caller’s stance on the eligibility question: Rep. Deal has already received plenty of negativity simply for asking the question, so there really was no point in Mr. Smith potentially having to hear another earful once more. The request has been made, and while I certainly would love to see the letter itself, this may not be the end of the story either.
OhForGoodnessSake ends their posting thusly:
Congressman Deal’s Chief of Staff sounds like he may be a Birther, himself, at least from this report. “This conversation is over,” he says. Oh, yeah, tough guy? It will be over when Congressman Deal is censured from the floor of the House.
I see. So we should start censuring House Members when they ask inconvenient questions of the President? The last time I checked, we still live under a constitutional republic, not a tyrannical dictatorship.
What’s even more striking about castigating those of us who question is that, of all individuals, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) mentioned the following back during the 2008 presidential campaign, in response to Sen. McCain’s medical records release: “everything should be public:”
Update: Concerned citizens are great: apparently the Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), had similar remarks as well:
So, how about the President’s recent trip to Hawaii? Any chance he visited the hospital in which he was born? Which one was that again? According to WorldNetDaily, we still don’t know for sure:
President Obama’s official spokesman deflected a question today about the president’s alleged place of birth.
At the White House press briefing, Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent there, asked, “While he was in Hawaii, did the president visit the hospital where he was reportedly born, which is which one?”
Spokesman Robert Gibb deflected.
“I don’t believe I saw any pool reports of hospital visits,” he said.
Concerning some allegations of Mr. Obama and the CIA, according to a posting by Rev. Dr. James Manning, he is accusing Columbia University of treason by suggesting that the university fraudulently covered for Mr. Obama while he was in an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan sometime during the years of 1981 to 1983 (video is at the link).
Regarding this allegation, there is a slight problem with the claim. While there was informal fighting by Osama bin Laden against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan as early as 1979, Al Qaeda did not exist until 1988, according to the Anti-Defamation League and GlobalSecurity.org. Furthermore, at this time, Dr. Manning does not seem to have produced any evidence for his allegations.
However, Dr. Manning is not the only individual who is bringing up such an admittedly controversial concept.
Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist Wayne Madsen reported last Tuesday that “a veteran member of the White House Press Corps” said that certain questions regarding the President’s background — specifically, Occidental College, Columbia University, and Mr. Obama’s first employer, Business International Corporation — “are definitely off-limits” (h/t ResistNet):
WMR has learned from a veteran member of the White House Press Corps that the Obama administration has made it known through White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and other White House Communications officials that certain questions posed by the reporters who cover the White House are definitely off-limits.
On the banned list are any questions about Obama’s post-Columbia University employment with Business International Corporation (BIC), a global financial and political information company that WMR previously reported was a front for the CIA.
White House Press Corps members have been quietly told that any questions related to BIC, Obama’s withheld records while he was a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1979 to 1981, or his records at Columbia, are forbidden. At the same time he was attending Occidental, Obama, using the name Barry Soetoro and an Indonesian passport issued under the same name, traveled to Pakistan during the U.S. buildup to assist the Afghan mujaheddin.
The word from the White House Press Corps is that if anyone were to ask Obama about BIC or possible past CIA work, domestically or abroad, the offending reporter would see a quick pulling of the White House press credential.
The White House website states the following about openness and transparency by the Obama administration:
“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Such allegations of off-limit questions regarding Mr. Obama’s past are not new, as I’ve previously reported. Yet, if true, don’t we, as Americans, have a right to know the background of the President? Could there be a “there” there? Potentially; we don’t know, and that’s the point. However, when a well-credentialed reporter is being explicitly told that specific questions are forbidden from being asked, it would appear that there’s a heck of a lot of smoke coming from a fire not too far away.
The fact of the matter is that nobody knows, for sure, who Mr. Obama is, based on the substantially lacking amount of original documentation concerning his bona fides. And regarding eligibility, I’ve always maintained that I don’t know if he’s eligible to be President. Yet, as Mr. Madsen points out once again, the President claims to be committed to “an unprecedented level of openness in Government.”
Perhaps the President is correct — being as willingly closed as he is regarding his background really could be “an unprecedented level!”
See the following links regarding the eligibility saga:
- The background:
- The questions:
- The State Department and Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) Natural Born Citizen Resolution (April 10, 2008)