A stone’s throw away from the White House, more than 50 members of the press and curious onlookers alike crowded the intimate Edward R. Murrow Room at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. this afternoon to hear arguments why Barack Obama is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president of the United States.
The press conference was sponsored by Robert Schulz and his We The People Foundation, both of which just this last week ran an open letter to the former Illinois senator in his hometown Chicago Tribune, appealing to Obama to present for review any and all documentation which will prove his qualification to serve as president pursuant to Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Also attending the press conference: Philip Berg, a Pennsylvania attorney who, in August, filed the first lawsuit questioning Obama’s constitutional eligibility; Orly Taitz, a Chechnyan immigrant turned southern California dentist and lawyer who has filed a pair of suits in the Golden State, one of which was on behalf of Ambassador and former GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who ran as the Independent Party’s candidate for president in this past election.; and Rev. James David Manning, chief pastor at the Harlem-based ATLAH World Missionary Church.
The first to speak was Robert Schulz, noting immediately that the U.S. Supreme Court just a few hours prior had decided not to hear a case filed by New Jersey attorney and professional poker player Leo Donofrio against the NJ Secretary of State regarding constitutional qualifications of not only Barack Obama, but GOP candidate John McCain and Socialist Workers Party candidate Roger Calero as well.
Donofrio’s success or failure hinged upon the Court’s willingness to take up the definition of the “Natural Born Citizen” clause of the Constitution, as Donofrio argued that Obama in particular could not serve as president regardless of his birthplace because his father was a Kenyan citizen—and therefore a British national in 1961—and dual citizenship ran afoul of our founders’ intent as to who could and should lead their fledgling nation. A decidedly similar case is also currently pending before the Supreme Court and scheduled for conference on December 12 thanks to Justice Antonin Scalia. Wrotnowski v. Bysiewicz, an action essentially designed by Leo Donofrio, is similar to his own failed case, but with added historical perspective.
Neither Leo Donofrio nor Cort Wrotnowski were in attendance. In fact, Donofrio told America’s Right that he “made a conscious decision to distance ourselves from that press conference,” as his lawsuit and those filed by Berg and Taitz were “miles apart.”
Nonetheless, Schulz mentioned his case and deemed the Court’s decision on Donofrio v. Wells “the latest injury,” cited a “conspiracy of silence” with regards to the individual merits of Donofrio’s case and others, and bundled it together with the adverse decision against self-proclaimed “Internet powerhouse” and “legendary muckraker” Andy Martin in Hawaii and the dismissal of Berg’s case at the district court level in Philadelphia. He also lamented a now widely publicized e-mail response on the eligibility-related issue from Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, who responded to such an inquiry by noting that voters are responsible for vetting candidates at the presidential level and more.
“Mr. Martinez is wrong,” Schulz said. “He would have us believe that our form of government is a democracy rather than a constitutional republic. It is not too great a burden to demand that one who seeks the office of the president simply produce documents proving his legal eligibility.”
Schulz stated that “as supreme law of the land, the Constitution is all that stands between freedom and tyranny.” He noted that “the Constitution is not a menu” and that we “do not get to pick and choose” which provisions and guidelines to follow, maintaining that the Natural Born Citizen clause was designed by our founders to “safeguard our nation from outside influence.”
He also spoke about other deviations from our founding documents, about privacy issues leading to a police state, about illegal immigration, about violations of the tax clause and the Second Amendment, stating that “government has stepped way outside the boundaries which the people and the founders have placed on its power.”
By the time he abandoned the podium and handed the microphone over to Philip Berg, he had likely surpassed by leaps and bounds the attention span of most in the Murrow Room but, before sitting, left with one last flourish, warning of “widespread political and legal chaos” if the eligibility issue is not addressed.
“The Obama citizenship issue is so simple that a schoolchild could understand it, but if left to fester, it could lead this nation into a time of peril,” Schulz said. “On January 20th, he will utter an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution, knowing that in doing so, he has violated the very document he is obligated to protect.”
“Barack Obama is really a phony, and this is the largest hoax perpetrated against the United States in 200 years,” Berg said. “Obama places our Constitution in a crisis situation, and will be able to be blackmailed by other world leaders who know he is not qualified.”
Berg then reminded those in attendance that his case is currently active and pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, contrary to what a Chicago Tribune article last week had asserted. He also noted that his case is distinguishable from Leo Donofrio’s, later expanding upon the statement and telling America’s Right that while Donofrio’s case was looking to the Court to define the concept of “natural born,” his case was merely before the court to ascertain standing, though he has filed for an injunction to stay the December 15 Electoral College vote pending disposition on his petition for writ of certiorari.
(NOTE: Check back in the coming day or two for further discussion and analysis of what can be expected for Berg’s case.)
He also touched upon the audio evidence he has cited elsewhere, the tape of Sarah Obama explaining through an interpreter that she was present at the hospital in Mombasa for the birth of her now-famous grandson, and a tape of a radio morning show prank call to the Kenyan Ambassador, who stated that Obama’s birthplace was somewhat of a landmark in Kenya.
Berg laid out his arguments succinctly but not without passion, discussing Indonesia, citizenship and the laws on the books at the time. Only twice did he divert from the message and arguments and sound very much like the man the left makes him out to be – first when discussing Obama’s decision not to wear a flag pin and apparent failure to properly address the American flag during the Pledge of Allegiance, when he mentioned that Obama and the presumptive First Lady hoped to “change the National Anthem” in order to make it “softer for those in the Middle East,” and second when he spoke about media bias, stating that he wished he “could sue ABC, CBS, MSNBC, Fox, The New York Times and The Washington Post,” citing their non-stop coverage of Obama’s campaign without once asking about his birth certificate.
Despite the occasional lapse into stereotype, however, Berg presented his argument in a decidedly sober and cogent manner. He got a laugh from the whole room when discussing Obama’s failure to provide his college records—“I don’t think it has anything to do with grades, because McCain released his records and admitted that he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy”—and a few snorts and chuckles from the press when he argued that, should his assertions be true, Barack Obama “would actually be an illegal alien today.”
At the end, he said, it once again comes down to standing, noting that it was on the standing issue that his initial case had been dismissed.
“My case in district court was dismissed for one reason – standing,” Berg said. “According to the court, I don’t have standing, Bob doesn’t have standing, no one in this room has standing. We’re asking for one qualification out of three. We know he’s at least 35 years old. We’ll give him the 14 years in the country. We just want to know that he is natural born. It’s not that difficult.”
Next up was Orly Taitz, the southern California dentist and lawyer. A woman with a curious, unidentifiable, Arianna Huffington-like accent, Taitz explained that she was indeed from Kischinev (I had incorrectly heard it as “Chechnya” and mistakenly mentioned it here) and that, during this recent election cycle, “the media in the United States of America was worse than the media in communist Russia.”
“The anchormen and anchorwomen were reading from the same script,” Taitz said. “They might have had different haircuts and they might have had different outfits, but they were reading from the same script. The only reason that the vast majority of Americans do not know the details [of these cases] is because the media was aiding and abetting Obama in defrauding 300 million Americans.”
Taitz went on to mention the “procedural hiccup” confronting Leo Donofrio, and maintained that Cort Wrotnowski’s case was “much stronger.” She also mentioned that her first case, filed on behalf of Alan Keyes against the California Secretary of State, was indeed “not dismissed yet,” though noted that the court in her other case, Lightfoot v. Bowen, gave her the opportunity to take her case to the U.S. Supreme Court by dismissing her case outright. With regard to Lightfoot, Taitz noted that “in these cases, we have actual plaintiffs rather than a bunch of crazy attorneys bringing a case.”
Her cases indeed do include Keyes, the Independent Party’s candidate for president of the United States, as well as Keyes’ running mate Wiley Drake, Ron Paul’s apparent running mate Gail Lightfoot, and several electors and veterans of the U.S. military. One such man was Neil Turner, a certified 2008 California elector for the Constitutional Party and veteran of the U.S. Army.
“I would like Mr. Obama to look into the eyes of someone like Mr. Turner, who risked his life for this country, and say that he would not take a few minutes to release documents proving eligibility,” Taitz said. “This man risked his life for this country, and Obama cannot show his original birth certificate?”
Taitz had several strong points and good moments in her lengthy presentation, including when she argued that startlingly little needs to be done to show eligibility for the ballot in her state, citing one such example where she showcased the lackluster approach of California Secretary of State Bowen in vetting and certifying mere electors by showing that one such elector, certified by Bowen, has been dead since 2001. Another good moment came when Taitz once again argued against potential foreign influence with regard to the presidency by reading from a letter written by the first Chief Justice of the United States, John Jay, to George Washington in 1787.
Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on any but a natural born citizen.
However, the stronger aspects of her arguments and presentation were seemingly drowned out by, among other things, a disjointed and rambling indictment of the American media. She stated that the American media is owned by big companies, organizations which have extensive dealings with foreign companies. She spoke about a deal between NBC’s owner, General Electric, and Saudi oil powers, insinuating that the Saudis extended their influence through GE and NBC in order to stifle adverse coverage of Obama’s candidacy. She talked about global terrorism, posited that Obama had citizenship in at least four different nations, compared him with a leader of the Black Panther Party, and wondered aloud in an externalized internal monologue why the federal government would fine the broadcasters for the Super Bowl appearance of Janet Jackson’s right nipple but not the mainstream press for overlooking these lawsuits and favoring Barack Obama as they did. After the end of a lengthy tangent, only after insinuating that Watergate would never have been discovered if the media then acted as it has done now and after wondering why Osama bin Laden himself doesn’t state his eligibility and run, Taitz was finally silenced and given the proverbial hook by Bob Schulz, who stood up suddenly and made his way to the microphone in an thinly-veiled attempt to move things along.
“I pray, Lord, that we can overcome the wickedness which has overtaken our politicians, the media, and even in our court systems at the highest level,” Rev. Manning said, “and that this long-legged mack-daddy will not be allowed to take the oath of office on the 20th of January.”
Manning began by stating that he likely will not be “very well-received” back at his church in Harlem, “among many who have voted for Barack Hussein Obama,” but warned that “it is not the color of one’s skin” and that “there’s a much higher calling of justice and righteousness.” Manning went on to say that he was angry.
“I am incensed that our nation has taken this blasphemous turn,” he said, “incensed and outraged with how the media have covered this election. After the Ohio caucus, the media went crazy over Barack Hussein Obama, presented him as a man without stain, a man without blemish, and in many quarters as a savior.”
Manning held that today’s media was like the media in the “Jim Crow south,” which “refused to report on the struggle of black people hoping to have their voices heard.” The media, he said, would not perform due diligence and report the facts – just like now. This time, he said, the media’s failure has produced Obama, a perceived savior in much of his community. In fact, Manning mentioned that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has held up Obama as “the Messiah,” and noted that “he is indeed thought of within the African-American community as a Messiah, as a spiritual figure of great significance relative to that of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”
The flamboyant pastor, however, declared that while this election has indeed been historical, it is not historical in the way that many people, including those in his community and his church, may think.
“This has been a historical election, and January 20th will be a historical day,” Manning said. “However, the road to the office of president of the United States still runs exclusively through the womb of a white woman. There has never been a black womb which has produced a black president. As of today, unless you have a white womb, you cannot produce a son who will be president of the United States.”
“We don’t know who this man is,” he said, cautioning his fellow African-Americans not to accept this fruit of a white woman as their redeemer. “He’s no Booker T. Washington, I’ll tell you that. He’s no Martin Luther King. But he does possess the potential to be the most prolific con-man in the history of this country. It is my prayer that January 20th will not happen, that Barack Hussein Obama will not be inaugurated. This man has come from the womb of a white woman.”
With that, the room opened up for questions. They came from reporters with Slate.com and Salon.com, from the Atlantic Television News and from the Hispanic Outlook. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post sat silent. At one point, a woman who identified herself as “Shelli Baker of Morning Song Radio” raised her hand for a question but instead took command of the microphone herself and proceeded to embark on a 15-minute diatribe exploring everything from NAFTA to the World Bank to the Amero to John Ashcroft to Hitler to Saudi Arabian oil to Mitt Romney and to NAFTA all over again. Dana Milbank got up and left. Finally, another reporter raised the possibility of a civil racketeering suit, and Salon’s Mike Madden asked Schulz about his plans should the courts refuse to take any of these cases and Obama continue, unfettered, into the White House just a stone’s throw away.
“We’re going to ask people in all 50 states to choose three people to send to a month-long Congress—call it a Continental Congress if you’d like—to discuss these issues,” Schulz said, after about ten minutes of failing to grasp the nature of the question and exploring nearly every other topic but that which was asked. “We need to discuss our republic, and what we can do about this. This nation is heading toward a vortex of constitutional crisis, and the people must act as the final arbiters of the Constitution.”
Please read my commentary, Fighting an Uphill Battle in Rollerskates.
There were strong points and not-so-strong points at today’s press conference, some fairly good moments and some screamingly bad ones. Both Dana Milbank at The Washington Post and Mike Madden at Salon wrote scathing accounts of the event. While I may not share the same feelings of Milbank or Madden per se, I can say that if they were my arguments to make, I would have handled things a little differently, a little more succinctly, and in a more focused manner than did the folks at the front of the room.
As many of you know, I do my best to present these sorts of things–including the new court filings and such–as objectively as possible, and have tried to do so here. Since there are some things I’d like to say about what I saw this afternoon, about how I think it fits into the arguments being made, and how it may defeat them, I plan to do so in a separate piece. So check back tomorrow (Tuesday) for my commentary, and in a day or two for information about where Berg’s case stands now, where it will likely end up, and how it will get there.
In the meantime, I lost a night of studying. Please don’t expect too much in terms of similarly expansive content over the next few days. Thanks for understanding.