Last week, it was the Arizona secretary of state suggesting it’s “possible” he may try to block President Obama from the November ballot because of lingering questions about his birth certificate.
This week, it’s the Iowa Republican Party calling into question the president’s citizenship.
Don Racheter, chairman of the Iowa GOP’s platform committee, said in an interview Monday afternoon with Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson that members of the state party are questioning Obama’s citizenship through a plank in their platform draft.
“There are many Republicans who feel that Barack Obama is not a ‘natural born citizen’ because his father was not an American when he was born and, therefore, feel that according to the Constitution he’s not qualified to be president, should not have been allowed to be elected by the Electoral College or even nominated by the Democratic Party in 2008, so this is an election year,” Racheter told Henderson. “It’s a shot at him.”
Section 1.16 of the part of the platform draft related to elections states: “We believe candidates for President of the United States must show proof of being a ‘natural born citizen’ as required by Article II, Section I of the Constitution — beginning with the 2012 election.”
The meaning of the term “natural born citizen” has been the subject of debate. A November 2011 Congressional Research Service report suggests that the term refers to a person who is entitled to citizenship from birth, including those who were born in the United States and those who were born outside the country to parents who are U.S. citizens.
According to that definition, there’s little question whether Obama is a “natural born citizen.”
Obama was born in Hawaii in August 1961. His father, the late economist Barack Obama Sr., was born in Kenya and from 1959 to 1962 studied at the University of Hawaii, where he met Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, an anthropologist who was born in Kansas.
The move by the Iowa GOP platform committee, then, isn’t likely to have an impact on Obama’s reelection prospects. It does, however, provide the latest example of the “birther” movement playing an influential role in state Republican Party politics.
Henderson notes that in addition to the “natural born citizen” plank, the state GOP platform draft also includes sections related to the organic food movement and food imported from other countries.
Later this week, Obama is expected to visit Iowa — a state he won by nearly 10 points four years ago — holding events in Des Moines and Newton.