Kansas Republicans: We need to see Obama's birth certificate
(CBS News) Kansas' Republican Secretary of State and two other Republican officials have determined that they do not have enough evidence to determine whether President Obama can appear on the Kansas ballot, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said they need to review the president's birth certificate and other documents before they can respond to a complaint alleging that Mr. Obama is not a "natural born citizen."
The State Objections Board, which the trio serve on, is seeking more information from three states -- Hawaii, Arizona, and Mississippi. (Hawaii holds the president's birth certificate; government officials in Arizona and Mississippi have conducted similar investigations.) "The State Objections Board is asking other states for evidence presented to them on this same issue of eligibility," Kay Curtis, spokeswoman for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, told CBS News.
"Given the cursory response from President Obama, the Board is merely attempting to obtain additional information before making a decision," said Curtis. Neither office of the Kansas Attorney General Schmidt or Kansas Lieutenant Governor Colyer returned calls for comment.
Mr. Obama has released his long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii, but so-called "birthers" persist with a variety of arguments that he is ineligible for the presidency. Generally, they claim that the birth certificate as released by the president is a forgery or that he is not eligible for the presidency despite being born in Hawaii.
There is substantial evidence, including birth announcements in Hawaiian newspapers, to support the president's claims about his birthplace. The 14th amendment states that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Arizona Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett has also flirted with keeping Mr. Obama off the ballot, claiming in May that his "responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications for the office they are seeking."
Mississippi lawmakers went to court to compel Hawaii to produce a birth certificate. Separately, a citizen of Mississippi alleged in a lawsuit that the president's Hawaii birth certificate was fake.
Kobach insisted that the complaint is not frivolous. "I do think the factual record could be supplemented," he said, according to the Capital-Journal.
Mr. Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and his maternal grandparents hail from Kansas.
Mitt Romney is almost certain to win the state whether or not Mr. Obama is on the ballot. Sen. John McCain won the state by 15 percentage points in 2008 despite losing the election. Kobach is an informal adviser to Romney's campaign.
The Mercury newspaper reported that the Kansas complaint, from a man named Joe Montgomery, alleges that Mr. Obama's father "retained his British and Kenyan citizenship and passed them on to his son." It claims that the president "has failed to provide any valid, certified, documentary evidence to legally establish birth in this country, much less to citizen parents." Under Kansas law, after its state primaries, any Kansan can object to the eligibility of a general election candidate for any office.
No one appeared at the Kansas hearing on behalf of President Obama or the Democratic Party of Kansas. In response to Montgomery's complaint, on the behalf of Obama for America, lawyer Kip Wainscott, from the Washington, D.C. law firm of Perkins Coie, had sent Kansas a two-page letter calling Montgomery's argument "utterly baseless."
"Like the scattered remnants of 'birthers' in other proceedings, the Objector presents this argument despite a series of cases in federal and state courts that have unequivocally rejected the same factual and legal contentions, and also despite public records that have been released demonstrating conclusively that the President was born in Hawaii in 1961," Wainscott wrote. "President Obama satisfies the requirements of Article II of the United States Constitution, is eligible to serve as President of the United States, and is eligible to stand for re-election to that office."
The State Objections Board is scheduled to meet again on Monday to discuss the objection and make the decision, at Memorial Hall in Topeka.
UPDATE: Montgomery withdrew his objection Friday afternoon in response to public reaction, the Huffington Post reported, effectively ending the challenge. He told Huffington Post he had wanted to start a dialogue. "I have not been successful in that objective," he said. "Not in achieving a constructive dialogue."
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