Is Obama a natural-born American?

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Echoing an earlier question raised about Sen. John McCain, some are now asking whether Barack Obama is eligible to be the president of the United States.

Jim Geraghty, reporting on the Campaign Spot, a National Review blog, had cited the “unlikely” possibility that Obama’s 1961 birth was not within the United States.

At the time, he wrote, “If Obama were born outside the United States, one could argue that he would not meet the legal definition of natural-born citizen … because U.S. law at the time of his birth required his natural-born parent his mother to have resided in the United States for ’10 years, at least [f]ive of which had to be after the age of 16.'”

He then pointed out Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, was 18 when Obama was born “so she wouldn’t have met the requirement of five years after the age of 16.”

But when the Daily Kos website posted an image that appeared to be Obama’s birth certificate, Geraghty announced he was satisfied.

However, investigative work done by the Insider now raises the possibility that the image posted on the Kos site, and an image later on the Obama campaign site, lack authenticity.

No kidding. Sharon and I have examined the image at Daily Kos, and for one thing, it’s missing the embossed seal. A document that phony won’t get you a driver’s license (at least not in Indiana), much less qualify you for the White House.

I really don’t expect anything to come of this, though. There’s no way that Sen. Obama gets to this point in a presidential campaign without this little detail being discussed and vetted by the power brokers behind the scenes. Either there’s a genuine birth certificate out there somewhere that the senator doesn’t want released, or somebody’s going to throw enough money at this problem to make it go away.

It happened for Sen. Obama’s opponent. Sen. McCain was declared a natural-born citizen retroactively by a resolution in the U.S. Senate because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. At the time of McCain’s birth, he didn’t meet the legal definition of a “natural-born citizen”, which would disqualify him as a candidate for president.

This development does set up the possibility of a very interesting precedent, however, with one or both of the major candidates not really eligible for the office under the Constitution. It’s conceivable that we’ll eventually see the citizenship requirement overturned altogether. Remember that brief ad campaign in 2000 pushing a constitutional amendment to allow naturalized citizens to become president?

Is there a President Schwarzenegger in our future?

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