John McCain's birthright: Fit for the presidency: The Swamp
 
The Swamp
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Posted February 18, 2008 7:00 AM
The Swamp

by John Crewdson

Stand back while I drive a stake through the heart of the week's Blogospherical Conundrum: Is Arizona Sen. John McCain, who looks set to become the Republican presidential nominee, constitutionally qualified to be president?

Article II of the U.S. Constitution utters that "no person except a natural born Citizen... shall be eligible to the Office of President."

But what does "natural born Citizen" mean?

When the same question has been asked about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the answer is always a flat no. The constitution specifies that presidents must be "natural born" American citizens, and Schwarzenegger, although a naturalized citizen, took his first breath in Austria, where his father had been a Nazi storm trooper.

George Romney, the father of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who just cleared the way for McCain by dropping his own bid for this year's Republican presidential nomination, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico.

But when the elder Romney ran for president in 1968 the issue of his constitutional eligibility for the presidency never reached ramming speed before he was forced to retire from the campaign after claiming he had been "brainwashed" by the Johnson administration on an inspection visit to Vietnam.

When John McCain was born in August of 1936, his father, also named John, was a Naval officer stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, then a U.S.-administered and protected territory.

The child of two U.S. citizen parents is automatically a "birthright" U.S. citizen, no matter where in the world the child is born. If only one parent is a U.S. citizen, however, then that parent must show that he or she lived in the U.S. for at least ten years prior to the child’s birth, with at least five of those years after the age of 14.

Had McCain been born in Zambia to a Norwegian mother and an American father, he would have fallen into the second category. But both his parents were American citizens, so he became a "birthright" citizen at birth.

Let's set the Swamp's Time Machine to March 16, 1790, the second session of the very first U.S. Congress.

The Constitution was only a year old, and Congress was busy passing laws explaining and amplifying what it various clauses and phrases actually meant.

According to the Act of March 26, 1790, 1 Stat. 103, "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be borne beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States."

So, to become a "natural born" American you don't need to be born in the continental U.S. But you do need to have two parents who are U.S. citizens. By that standard, McCain passes.

To nail things down even more tightly, Congress later stipulated that individuals born in the Republic of Panama or the Canal Zone after February 1904 were automatically U.S. citizens.

McCain was born in the large U.S. Navy hospital in the canal zone, and the issue has been confused, in part, because of the Pentagon's dictum that "Despite widespread popular belief, U. S. military installations abroad and U. S. diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U. S. citizenship by reason of birth."

Those sorts of warnings are intended to keep women who are about to give birth from rushing into a U.S. Embassy parking lot from or some other U.S. government facility abroad in the belief that their child (and, by extension, the rest of the family) will automatically become American citizens.

But the dictum says nothing about the children of U.S. citizens, and it has no bearing on McCain's case.

Ron Gotcher, an experienced immigration lawyer who has studied the question, has no doubt the Supreme Court believes a "birthright" citizen, no matter where he or she born, is also a "natural-born citizen."

"I really can’t stand McCain and I’d love to see him knocked out of the picture, but I can’t see it happening over this issue," says Gotcher, who is an Obama supporter in Southern California.

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Comments

Ron Gotcher,

Not to worry.

Between McCain's proclivity to foot-in-mouth disease and supporters Rush Limpbag, Ann Coultergeist and the right-wing nut jobs that post here, McCain will be a bystander next January.


Well, the headline is almost correct: You guys forgot the prefix 'un' in front of the word 'fit'.


Off Topic:

"Stand back while I drive a stake through the heart of the week's Blogospherical Conundrum:"

In 1989 I moved to Chicago to become a union organizer for SEIU. I'm sitting in a reception area waiting to meet the bosses. While waiting I pick up the union's newspaper and there's a headline that says:

"Interested in Chicago politics?"

"If so. The next time you see Eddie Vrydolak's back hit his native Translvanian soil, be there to drive a stake through his heart so he doesn't re-enter Chicago politics." - Curly Lore

Five minutes later I meet this guy and mention his article and he says: "Just remember, even if you don't like what you read, the paper is of such sufficient quality you can wrap fish or garbage in it and it won't leak."

He died a few years later and the mold he was made from won't be used again.


Grabbing at straws? Being born overseas because your father is serving your country is a bad thing? I love the self-serving quote at the end of your article, here's one of my own, "I wouldn't vote for Obama or Clinton if I was faced with castration, oh wait, they're the same thing." It's cool though, keep on pandering to the idiots, they have to vote for someone.


McCain spent 5 1/2 years in a Vietnam prison camp. If that is not enough evidence to show his "ties" to the U.S., you are crazy. Obama= all talk with nothing to back it up.


"Os Arizona Sen. John McCain, who looks set to become the Republican presidential nominee, constitutionally qualified to be president?"

Os?


"Os Arizona Sen. John McCain, who looks set to become the Republican presidential nominee, constitutionally qualified to be president?"

Os?

Posted by: brian | February 18, 2008 8:19 AM

Yup, he fat-fingered that one.

And is too lazy, or obstinate, to fix it once it's pointed out.


Wonder why the Swamp incites bias with its non-credible bylines.

How about writing something on Whether Obama is anything other than a puppet filled with hot air. Of course you will not do that, because you like other reporter in this country have forgotten Journalism rule #1:

Don't let your biases come out in your reporting.

McCain is probably more desrving of leading our country - a country he almost died for. What has Obama and the other who cry rasicm done for our country - all they do is divide us.


The entire article is unnecessary blog taking up printer's ink - there is no question that McCain is a U.S. citizen ~ the question is about his qualifications - how in the world does sitting in a POW camp make you a good President - I don't get the connection - and he's too old, not well, and certainly not very smart, with a potty mouth and bad temper to boot. The citizens at large of our country elected Gore 8 years ago - let's re-elect him!


How would Justices Thomas, Scalia, Alito and Roberts vote on the issue of whether McCain is "natural born," and, thus, eligible to be president? These are kind of justices McCain would appoint, so it is appropriate to ask how they would vote on the question.

It seems obvious as "strict constructionists," and
"plain readers" who do not like to interpret the Constituition, but just say what it means, that they would find McCain was not born in the United States, so regardless of his parents' citizenship, he is not "natural born," and, therefore, not eligible to be president. There you have it, hoist by his own petard.


He is as fit as the others that are running.


Paige:

Journalism Rule #2:

The Swamp is a blog - it's purpose is to draw discussion from the readers on topics of the day. It is not supposed to be non-biased newspaper reporting. If you have been reading The Swamp, you would realize that.


Lets have the same questions asked about Obama tomorrow, shall we? I think the post will be much shorter on credentials.


Huh?


What has Obama and the other who cry rasicm done for our country - all they do is divide us.

Posted by: Paige | February 18, 2008 8:30 AM

Yes, all, those people who have worked for civil rights have really destroyed this country haven't they Paige? Ahh for the good ole' days when minotities knew their place and weren't all uppity like they are now, demanding to be treated as equals.

See you at the next Klan meeting! I'll be the guy in white.


What has Obama and the other who cry rasicm done for our country - all they do is divide us.

Posted by: Paige | February 18, 2008 8:30 AM

Yes, all, those people who have worked for civil rights have really destroyed this country haven't they Paige? Ahh for the good ole' days when minotities knew their place and weren't all uppity like they are now, demanding to be treated as equals.

See you at the next Klan meeting! I'll be the guy in white.


Obama is unfit to be a Senator, much less a President. Try writing about that. Hillary and McCain are fit and qualified enough to be the President. Obama is running by charisma and firing up crowds. It is almost frightening. This is how Hitler came to be in power.


Louise- so there should be an age restriction ?

With the help of the media, Obama is being lifted to Kennedy-esque levels (Bobby and Jack) and really hasn't done much more than give inspirational speeches. If it were really all about speeches, then we might as well have Tony Robbins run for president


John Crewdson and The Swamp really hit a new low with this topic. John McCain was born in a United States Naval Hospital in the Canal Zone while his father was in the U.S. Navy. McCain is more qualified than Barack "Empty Suit" Obama is who has done nothing for the citizens as U.S. Senator except run for President. The only thing Obama has over McCain is that he is the leader of the biggest cult movement in U.S. History. Crewdson, you are showing the typical left wing liberal bias of the American Media who will say and do many thing to get their man Obama in power.


BobinATL :

Even for a blog, you can still focus on real news and incite commentary.

This blog entry is nothing short of yellow journalism. It attempts to evoke commentary when there is no issue.

Both McCain's parents are American Citizens, end of story. McCain was born while father was posted overseas. Still an American Citizen. No argument or question there.

For those who want to go to the strict interpretation of the constitution...
"According to the Act of March 26, 1790, 1 Stat. 103, "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be borne beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States.""

So why then did the blog writer hunt out an Obama supporter to make his "comment".

Yellow and it shows just how bad the Tribune has slipped.


Increasingly it seems when Doug Zook does post, it comes straight from the John E School of Illogical Idiocy.

Anyway, this Swamp item is further proof that the Tribune is becoming even less reputable than the worst issue of Star magazine. Sorry to break the news to you John Crudesome, but McCain is a U.S. citizen, just as my grand nephew, who last year was born in China, to his American parents currently working there.


"What has Obama and the other who cry rasicm done for our country - all they do is divide us."

Paige what are you talking about? Who is the other and when has Obama cried racism?


Richard Freedman incorrectly writes:
"It seems obvious as "strict constructionists," and
"plain readers" who do not like to interpret the Constituition, but just say what it means, that they would find McCain was not born in the United States, so regardless of his parents' citizenship, he is not "natural born," and, therefore, not eligible to be president. There you have it, hoist by his own petard."

If he had read the article he would have seen this:

"According to the Act of March 26, 1790, 1 Stat. 103, "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be borne beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States."
-=-

And also that the 14th Amendment doesn't apply since both his parents are already US citizens.

Reading is fundamental and its something that apparently our school systems aren't doing a good job of teaching....


Doug,

Ann Coulter supports Hillary.


What a waste of bandwidth.

What's the Tribune stock at today?


Stir the pot lads. Just maybe you'll get the voters to look at some of the really important issues facing this country. Applause if this was your intent.


Seriously, you could have cut the last few paragraphs and this would have made an interesting column because I didn't know that McCain was born in the Canal Zone.

But damn, between "Nazi storm trooper" and the Obama quote at the end, it's hard to even think that you're attempting to be nonpartisan.


Obviously, someone is trying to create a controversy...You learn that in Journalism 101. The issue is not McCain...the issue is all the illegal (law breaking) immigrants that enter this country just to have their "anchor babies." Most of them will never pay taxes in this country so that will naturally draw them towards the Democratic Party, so don't expect Hillary or Obama to stop this madness.


Speaking of McCain's fitness to serve, when is he going to release his mediacl records, so that we can see how fit he really is?


I am an Obama supporter and even I am offended by this article. John McCain practically gave his life for this country. I don't understand what constructive purpose this type of article serves.


The Tribune's new position on "natural born" excludes those children of our service members who are posted over-sea's? Personally I'd put these children in a group above. Shame on you! This man has given his entire life to this country and if you don't support him for president fine, at least have a little respect. How would you have spent those years in a Vietnam Prison?


This premise seems rather silly; of course John McCain should be eligible to be the president. His qualifications far surpass that of Clinton or Obama. Now, the question may be can be be elected? I doubt it.

Hillary has the "uneducated", unions, and older women vote and Obama the young hopefuls, intellectuals, African Americans, and those just hoping for something better. McCain will probably win the veteran, older men, and some business leaders, but he needs the right wingers.

Hillary is a lying, conniving, paranoid, "divide and conquer", blame everyone else candidate who will tear this nation apart. McCain in better, but only marginally.

Obama offers a new perspective, and is a leader. He is about the only choice for many.


Anyone born outside the US to a US citizen parent or parents gets an extra page to staple on top of their birth certificate. It's called a "Birth of American Citizen Abroad" certificate. Not complicated. Not controversial. Proof of being a "natural born US citizen." You might try wikipedia or something before writing crazy stuff like this.


Well, Bubba, the problem is not that the minorities want to be treated like equals, they want to be on top! They have taken the American credo to heart. The WASPs of past held the greed and power near to heart and now they want their share. They will run over anyone to get it in the process. Reall change here. Change in the King's garments! It's still the same old machine in the end, and we in the middle suffer the consequnces. WE ALL need to stop looking at color and start thinking of the real issues!


Gumby's retort misses the mark. A statute of Congress cannot contradict the Constitution and stand; so, if the 1790 statute contradicts the Constitution, it has no legitimate effect.

Of course, it might be argued the 1790 statute only "clarified" what the Constitution already meant. But that's a stretch-why clarify what is already clear by its own plain meaning? More likely, the writers of the 1790 statute were enacting a sub rosa constitutional amendment, that is, purporting to amend the Constitution without going through the formal process of doing so. Their illegal amendment should be rejected by true "strict constructionists" as the bogus act it is.

As for the 14th Amendment, it hasn't a thing to do with this discussion. So, my point stands and no "strict constructionist" may support McCain without ignoring his own principles. And that's that the straight talk on this subject.


John Crewdson made two easily checkable errors when he wrote:

"George Romney, the father of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who just cleared the way for McCain by dropping his own bid for this year's Republican presidential nomination, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico.

"But when the elder Romney ran for president in 1968 the issue of his constitutional eligibility for the presidency never reached ramming speed before he was forced to retire from the campaign after claiming he had been "brainwashed" by the Nixon administration on an inspection visit to Vietnam.


Jesse Jackson has done wonders for the civil rights movement. As has Al Sharpton. These two care more about themselves than they do those they purport to help. JJ came out and said he never took a vow of poverty, but his tactics have made sure that his supporters never become "uppity" (as quoted by Bubba). The only reason these fools will continue to stay in power if they continue to divide the nation using the race rhetoric. Obama is not immune from this either. Explain to me why all the causes he ever supported (and they were only a handful in his entire lifetime) were support across race and NOT what is good for the entire country.

Go read a little and analyzing independently. You will see that Obama is not quiet as bad a Jesse but is of the same ilk.


Wow, this is a weird comments section.

The topic, discrediting one of the "it's the LAW!" arguments making the rounds, is quite reasonable to treat in a blog. My husband was born overseas to US citizen parents, and he is a natural-born US citizen, but it doesn't surprise me at all that a small group would attack the blog comments of the world with the argument.

For some reason the commentary is instead overrun by the meme that every single person who has backed Obama, whether voter or congressman or editorial writer, is partaking of a dangerous cult. People are not selling all their possessions to move to an ashram in Minnesota; they're voting. It's as though motivated voters is a horror these particular democrats never imagined and certainly won't tolerate.


What a waste of time asking this question...of course all Dems and far right conservatives will say no.


Then Obama is not qualified to run for the presidency, because his father was a Muslim, and his mother an atheist. WoW of course McCain is qualified. The Obama headquarters should come up with something better. Shame one the Trib for reporting such nonsense.


Nice try. It makes about as much sense as writing about "if" Obama had been born in Africa. Now I know why I'm getting the Trib 4 days a week for $1. I don't read it but it comes in handy for training the puppy.


Jeff,

Ann Coulter is just a shill trying to push books, etc.

John D.,

Thank you.


I have a q: If a guy grew up a muslim in a foreign country, even though he converted later, is he fit?


Compared to who? Obama, a senator that has done absolutely nothing or someone who uses her job as a wife of a president who had one job then and that was to work on a health care program and spent 8 years doing nothing! The man has paid the price and is well qualified. Sure he has made mistakes but who hasn't. Here you have Obama who is promising everything to everyone and there is no way he can even come close to delivering everything but that what he is saying and some stupid people are believing him. Got another who couldn't even stand up to her husband when he was doing wrong. Shows me that I wouldn't want her taking a stand on foreign affairs when she couldn't take a stand against her husband. The man has honor and even though he may not be the perfect Republican he is better than all others. I am voing for him.


Did you Republicans read the post? His whole point is to refute the stupid idea that is floating around in some blogs that McCain isn't a natural US Citizen and therefore isn't constitutionally fit to be the president. He is a natural citizen, and consequently eligible for office. Why are you beating up on the Tribune for confirming your guy can run? Stop and think before you type.


Can someone tell me why Obama is not qualified to be president? He is more qualified than President Lincoln was at the time of his election!

Lincoln was "only" briefly a member of the Illinois Legislature and a one term Congressman from the 7th District in Illinois before his election. He turned out to be an awfully good president. Lincoln was only a effective lawyer from Illinois, with a penchant for great public speaking, and good judgment. Sounds a little familar.

It seems to me like the most "experienced" people in Washington like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld didn't turn out to be that good at making major policy decisions.

I think people are looking for a leader, not a dictator. We need someone who makes sound foreign policy decision.

Not a president like now who decries freedom abroad but strips Habus Corpus from American citizens. It is a good time to return the country to an Illinois Lawyer with good judgement to once again reunite the country.


John Crewdson:

I can't believe you actually got paid to write this drivvel. Shame on you, write a real story.


I have a q: If a guy grew up a muslim in a foreign country, even though he converted later, is he fit?

Posted by: Raulin | February 18, 2008 11:12 AM


YES.

Not that anyone running this time fits that description.


What an absurd headline - "is McCain qualified to be president?" Who signs your paycheck, Fidel Castro?

Why don't you write about a real story - like "Is Obama qualified to be president." That guy is a joke - communist leaning, muslim, has done not one thing in his political life but be a political hack for people like Todd Stroger and Blago and yet claims he is an instrument of "change." What kind of change - communism? That is what the headline should be. What a liberal rag this paper is...


here's one of my own, "I wouldn't vote for Obama or Clinton if I was faced with castration, oh wait, they're the same thing."
Posted by: Marc
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Oooh, Marc's manhood is threatened. I really wish it could be Hillary against these neanderthals.


McCain makes the third person running for President to have been born outside the U.S. Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona before it became a state (although it was a U.S. territory at the time) and George Romney was born to U.S. citizens in Mexico.

If they could run, why NOT McCain?


That guy is a joke - communist leaning, muslim, has done not one thing in his political life but be a political hack for people like Todd Stroger and Blago and yet claims he is an instrument of "change." What kind of change - communism? That is what the headline should be. What a liberal rag this paper is...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 18, 2008 12:48 PM

As opposed to the fascist leaning, war mongering political hack who is wholly controlled by the K-street lobbyists that the Republicans are running.


Interesting article except for the last paragraph.

You go from trying to constitutionally describe your reasons to quoting the biased opinion of a lawyer. Who cares who he supports.. It just confuses his answer.


Is McCain qualified or fit to be president? As a life long Democrat, he strikes me as the most fit and qualified individual running for President. He stands head and shoulders above Obama (he has actually worked with Kennedy on immigration and Feingold on campaign finance reform - and shown he can deliver on his promises) and if Obama is the nominee, McCain will have my vote and support in the general election.

Hillary has gotten a bum rap, that is for sure, and if she is the nominee of my party, it will all depend on if McCain panders to the right wing and forgets that his willingness to stand up for his principles are what makes him the most fit and qualified to be President and Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.

Obama is the only candidate completely unqualified to be President. As a change agent, the voters of Chicago and Cook county need only look to Stroger and Tillman to see just uncommitted to 'change' he is - not to mention the cozy relationship with Rezko.


here's one of my own, "I wouldn't vote for Obama or Clinton if I was faced with castration, oh wait, they're the same thing."
Posted by: Marc
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Oooh, Marc's manhood is threatened. I really wish it could be Hillary against these neanderthals.
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Bruce, what and who you want to dress like is none of our business. On the other hand, if we choose 4-8 more years of Bush-Clinton politics, this country will be torn apart.


I absolutely despice McCain but it does sound like he is a citizen because 'both of his parents were U.S. citizens(?). However, he is not qualified to be president because of other reasons, the major one being he is exactly like George Bush and will be worse than George Bush I guarantee you. Also, he is containing his temper, he will probably bust from holding it in before it's all over but it'll come out and then he will make excuses with a smile, 'my friends', after he's wiped out all of the middle east.


McCain is unfit to be president.
John McCain's tendency to lash out uncontrollably, demonstrated in his unjustified personal attack on Barack Obama, is nothing new:
Go back to the nomination of John Tower for SecDef. One of the people who spoke out about him was a former (if memory serves) airman who spoke out about seeing Tower arrive for an inspection visit at an aribase being drunk. McCain managed to get the guy's confidential medical records (which included psychiatric info), went to the floor of the Senate and read them into the record.
So let's note -- McCain did an action that, were he not on the floor of the Senate, could have gotten him sued and possibly proscuted for violations of confidentiality of medical records, because he was angry that his buddy Tower had been exposed. And let's be real - most of the Senate knew about Tower's alcoholism, since it was not unknown for him to show up on the floor soused, to put it mildly. Like JFK's womanizing, this was an open secret in DC, but one to which the voters and general public had not been made privy.
I've often wondered why McCain was so forgiving about the Bush/Rove/Reed slime attack that killed him in South Carolina in 2000; perhaps the explanation is that he tends to behave the same way himself.
One reason I tend to discount "character" as a political issue is that, with rare exceptions, my knowledge of candidates' character comes from the press, and reporters seem to be execrable judges of character. McCain and Nader, two media-made secular saints, are exhibits A and B.


The funniest thing about this discussion is that the last Presidential candidate from the Republican party who was from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, who Hillary supported had this same question raised because he was born in Arizona while it was still a territory and not a state. Funny how things never change.


Shock! Another biased blog from the Swamp. How about a blog regarding Obama's qualifications, period!! What has that wind bag done except get the lefties in the media in a tizzy about one of their own (i.e. extreme liberal) becoming the President. Oh for the days of the old Chicago Tribune!!


It is not even a matter if he is fit, he is to old! Face facts, your mind and body slow down as you age. If you have to be 45 to be considered to be President of the USA, the same should apply to those that are to old! Anyone who would be older than 65 during their tenure, should not be allowed to run.


if we choose 4-8 more years of Bush-Clinton politics, this country will be torn apart.
Posted by: Carol
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Who wants Bush? It is a lie to call it Bush-Clinton politics. I'll take Clinton politics, you can keep the Bush.


This is the dumbest article ever written here.


Pathetic, Silva. Just pathetic.


Michael,
I am sure McCain will release his medical records just as soon as Obama and Clinton do. Good for the goose.....


well, that read was a waste of my time


The "brainwashing" was by the Johnson administration, not Nixon's, against whom he was running for the nomination in 1968.


agreed, one of the most useless articles posted; now...an exchange....
Sen. Obama: we can hope, we can change!
q: hope for what?
Obama: we will change, for the good!
q: how?
Obama: we'll all get together, we will succeed!
q: huh?
Obama: let's all get together now, yes we can!
q: can do what?
Obama: we can change!; it's time for change!!!
Observer (off to the side): is it possible that a presidential candidate can actually get elected, without saying anything?


Hey, "change" is important. Just ask any of the street bums who keep asking for it on Michigan Avenue.


Did most of you even read this article? And do most of you read political blogs/message boards outside of the swamp? There are several blogs/board posts suggesting that McCain is ineligible to run for president based on his not meeting citizenship requirements. This blog post is a response to that.

Full disclosure: I am not a McCain supporter, but have no problem with this post.


I'll just say that was a waste of space. I'm not voting for McCain, but I knew the answer before I got to the end. If you didn't, go back to government 101, please.


"HUCKABEE SPEAKS"

HEY, LET'S CHECK THIS OUT, THAT'S LIKE BEING BORN IN IRAQ WHERE THERE ARE NO TRUE "AMERICAN MILTARY INSTALLATIONS" JUST A QUAGMIRE TENT FULL OF 4100 DEAD AMERICAN MEN AND WOMEN.

LET'S NOT WAIT 100 YEARS LATER SITTING IN IRAQ STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IS AN "AUGMENTATION" OF A WAR ISSUED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT CONDI RICE.

LET'S NOT WAIT 100 YEARS WHILE OUR SOLDIERS ARE STILL HUNTING "OSAMA BIN LADEN" SIGHTINGS IN PAKISTAN OR IN SAUDI ARABIA.

LET'S GET SOME INFO ON THIS HE HAS THE 22ND AMENDMENT IN HIS GRASP AND THAT'S MY CALL TO DUTY.


McCain and Clinton are exactly the same kind of pandering, worthless, crackhead politician that has been destroying our country for the last 30 years. A vote for either is a vote for the military/pharma/insurance industrial complex. A choice between the two is a false choice.


I would just LOVE to see the U.S. pass a law that makes it illegal for any politician to EVER use the word 'CHANGE' in any campaign speech. Any one who DOES is immediately disqualified. The fact that all of the current crop of wannabees continue to use the word 'change' without ever being challenged to define or explain WHAT they mean, shows how ignorant the electorate really is.


5 1/2 years in a prison camp...

There are bums in Wicker Park with more time spent than that.

We should clean them up and put them in the race. Provided they don't have a freak out and try to kill people.. like they do when they can't get their meds.

McCain's "Bomb Iran" Beach Boys cover is pretty good though...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gwqEneBKUs


I think the country really has Clinton fatigue. Besides Clinton doesn't match up as well against McCain as Obama, despite the Clintons stating the opposite.

John McCain may claim he knows war and foreign policy, but to keep U.S. troops in harms way to be maimed and killed over political errors in judgement??? The most obvious rebuttle Obama could use to that is, "The best way to keep our troops safe is to get them out of Iraq, like when President Reagan withdrew U.S. forces from Lebanon in 1984."

Keep in mind that the playing field has changed tremendously since 2004. Polls show that Americans want the Iraq War to end. Polls show that Americans believe the tremendous financial costs of the Iraq War are leading us into an economic recession.

Don't forget that Barack Obama's likely VP running mate will be Virginia Senator Jim Webb, the Vietnam Veteran who was Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. That'll signficantly bolster Obama's national security credentials.

If Hillary Clinton is John McCain's opponent, McCain will have a much easier time winning due to the fact that Hillary is despised by about 50% of the electorate. If Barack Obama is McCain's opponent, McCain will have his work cut out for him.

In the 2000 GOP primary campaign, George W. Bush didn't get into specifics. John McCain got into specifics. Bush won. In the 2000 general election campaign, Bush didn't get into specifics. Al Gore got into specifics. Bush won. In the 2004 general election campaign, Bush didn't get into specifics. John Kerry got into specifics. Bush won.

The American electorate doesn't seem to care too much about hearing specifics. Hillary Clinton has been laying out specifics in her Democratic primary campaign and it hasn't worked very well. Obama has been using a more generalized optimistic change theme and it's worked extremely well.

If Obama gets the Democratic nomination, he'll have the creme de creme of Democratic policy advisers getting him primed and ready to get into specifics when needed during the general election campaign. Obama will be more than able to out-debate McCain by the time September rolls around.


John Crewdson -
SORRY but you came short on your reporting and almost to the edge of misleading your readers which by the way their comments read they all sound confused when it comes to this theme.

Why are your comments adding more noise than truth? Well very simple, first you did not mention that the 1790 ACT was superseded by the Naturalization Act of 1795. It is not an extension as some people may want others to believe.
This act of 1795 eliminated the word ‘Natural born Citizen” and it was replaced with “Citizen”. So that tells me you were not doing real investigative journalist.


The origin of the natural-born citizen clause can be traced to a July 25, 1787, letter from John Jay to George Washington, presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention. John Jay wrote: "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." There was no debate, and this qualification for the office of the Presidency was introduced by the drafting Committee of Eleven, and then adopted without discussion by the Constitutional Convention.


The question then is why it was removed on the 1795 Act?; What took place on Congress that moved them to remove such a clear definition as stated on the 1790 Act?


People read this on your own, research and do not allow others to tell you otherwise.
Research is the key and put thing under the context of the meaning when the constitution was being put together in 1787….

{ Why Did the Founding Fathers Want the President
To Be a "Natural Born Citizen}
http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/jyinger/Citizenship/history.htm

The Act of 1795…
http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=537


Another Digital book on this subject..
http://books.google.com/books?id=5XQtq6je-qAC&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=%22act+of+february+10+1855%22&source=web&ots=gJ9UJnXkyL&sig=yFlckdQPzCGgFmXOND4nhCJ3zm4


I would just LOVE to see the U.S. pass a law that makes it illegal for any politician to EVER use the word 'CHANGE' in any campaign speech. Any one who DOES is immediately disqualified. The fact that all of the current crop of wannabees continue to use the word 'change' without ever being challenged to define or explain WHAT they mean, shows how ignorant the electorate really is.

Posted by: Harry Callahan | February 18, 2008 5:58 PM

Easy DIRTY HARRY don't pull that 44 magnum!!! p.s. you do have a point.


Americans who were born and raised in the Panama Canal Zone, were taught in US Government schools from an early age that although we could do almost anything in life, we could not be president of the United States because we were not natural born citizens. To prove our US citizenship, we were required to obtain a certificate of citizenship, but it still didn't make us "natural born citizens" because we were not born in the USA. How then, is this Article 2, section 1, clause 5, of the US Constitution interpreted in relation to John McCain's eligibility as a candidate for the presidency?


While you are talking about presidental candidates, how about obama. In 1952 the law was passed saying that BOTH parents must be citizens of the US. obama's father was from kenya and not a citizen. How can he run. Could someone answer. NO OPINIONS. The law.


Obama was born in the US, in Hawaii. So it doesn't matter if his parents were US citizens or not.
The law: the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution...
It helps to read it once in a while...


The 14th Amendment defines citizenship this way: "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." But even this does not get specific enough. As usual, the Constitution provides the framework for the law, but it is the law that fills in the gaps.

Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in those gaps. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are "citizens of the United States at birth:"

Anyone born inside the United States
Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person's status as a citizen of the tribe
Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
A final, historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.
Anyone falling into these categories is considered natural-born, and is eligible to run for President or Vice President. These provisions allow the children of military families to be considered natural-born, for example.

Separate sections handle territories that the United States has acquired over time, such as Puerto Rico (8 USC 1402), Alaska (8 USC 1404), Hawaii (8 USC 1405), the U.S. Virgin Islands (8 USC 1406), and Guam (8 USC 1407). Each of these sections confer citizenship on persons living in these territories as of a certain date, and usually confer natural-born status on persons born in those territories after that date. For example, for Puerto Rico, all persons born in Puerto Rico between April 11, 1899, and January 12, 1941, are automatically conferred citizenship as of the date the law was signed by the President (June 27, 1952). Additionally, all persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, are natural-born citizens of the United States. Note that because of when the law was passed, for some, the natural-born status was retroactive.

The law contains one other section of historical note, concerning the Panama Canal Zone and the nation of Panama. In 8 USC 1403, the law states that anyone born in the Canal Zone or in Panama itself, on or after February 26, 1904, to a mother and/or father who is a United States citizen, was "declared" to be a United States citizen. Note that the terms "natural-born" or "citizen at birth" are missing from this section.

In 2008, when Arizona Senator John McCain ran for president on the Republican ticket, some theorized that because McCain was born in the Canal Zone, he was not actually qualified to be president. However, it should be noted that section 1403 was written to apply to a small group of people to whom section 1401 did not apply. McCain is a natural-born citizen under 8 USC 1401(c): "a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person."


Bob, 8 USC 1401(c) lists who is considered a "citizen" and does not state they're all "natural-born" which is the qualifier to be president per our constitution. As Roger pointed out above, the 1790 Act was superseded by the Naturalization Act of 1795. The latter document replaced the "Natural born Citizen" wording with just "Citizen."

This is an issue the Supreme Court should address before the election is held. One could make an argument that Hawaii has never "legally" been part of the US. Why not have the gang of 9 judges give a ruling on both McCain and Obama.

I think this poster explains the issue well.

From the State Department website:

7 FAM 1116.1-4 Not Included in the Meaning of “In the United States”

c. Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.

The Canal Zone was not U.S. territory. It was the “Panama Canal Zone”, and not US owned territory. The US had the right to act as if it were sovereign, by treaty, but in fact the US paid an annual fee to Panama. Also, Panamanians born within the Canal Zone were citizens of Panama, not the United States. Since both his parents were American citizens Mccain obtained his citizenship by descent which “is not embodied in the U.S. Constitution, but such citizenship is granted through statute.” This differs from a “natural-born citizen” “a rule of common law under which the place of a person’s birth determines citizenship. In addition to common law, this principle is embodied in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the various U.S. citizenship and nationality statutes.”

Mccain should not be constitutionally eligible to be President. Depending on Hawaii's "legal" status, Obama may not be eligible either.

ref: http://www.bloggernews.net/114136


Now if McCain could be declared mentally fit!


What exactly are the qualifications for being President? The constitution states that "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

That's all the qualification one needs to become President. Doesn't mention IQ, common sense, or higher education. So both McCain and Obama are qualified to be President. Everything else is just opinion of the masses.


I am no McCain fan, but it would be an unbelievable travesty of justice to find him ineligible over this.

That said, sure drives a stake into the hearts of strict constructionists.


If the standard is "The child of two U.S. citizen parents is automatically a "birthright" U.S. citizen, no matter where in the world the child is born. If only one parent is a U.S. citizen, however, then that parent must show that he or she lived in the U.S. for at least ten years prior to the child’s birth, with at least five of those years after the age of 14", then I'm wondering if Senator Obama is qualified. Does anybody know if his father was an US citizen? All I've heard is that he was a Keynan.


Neither Democrats, or Republicans, offer anyhing for candidates. Vote for Nader.


Real weak attempt to create focus on McCain's suitability where none should be - but I will allow the premise of your article and do one better. If there is another who could be viewed similarly, let's look at Obama. Born of one American citizen parent (mother)and a foreigner (father)- which invokes the next test - where was Barack born? ...Hawaii. The last state to have joined the union, but it still counts! Next, as i can tell from his bio, Barack spent almost the entire time of his informative pre-adult life living in countries other than the U.S. When it came time to enroll in university, he found himself in the U.S., convenient. Spent 3 years in the workforce -hired into a Chicago lawfirm. Has spent his remaining adult life pursuing a community activist and political lifestyle. It would seem, Barack is not the type to get his hands "dirty" with work, but rather supervise from a distance...
he must feel an
"entitlement" to the Presidency to have only been a sometime resident!


John,

Your citation of the law of 1790 is convenient, however that law was superceded in 1795 with the following, which explicitly removes the "natural born" language:

"the children of citizens of the United States, born out of the limits and jusrisdiction of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States"

Also, Ryan, regardless of his father's Kenyan origin, Senator Obama was born in Hawaii, and is therefore a natural born citizen.


An article on this subject also appears in the February 28, 2008 New York Times, where the matter is taken quite seriously, but no definitive answer is given. Not surprisingly, most Republicans favor McCain's eligibility, though if the shoe were on the other foot, I am sure they would be strict constructionists.

The Constitution allows "natural born" citizens and those who are citizens at the time of its adoption to serve as president. No one is still alive who qualifies as not natural born, but a citizen at the time of adoption, so presently only the natural born qualify.

Still, the contrast is instructive as to the meaning of "natural born," and strongly suggests that "natural born" means what it seems to mean, namely, born within the confines of the country which the Constitution governs.

While this interpretation may not seem just to present day Americans, especially Republicans, strict construction says if that's a problem, fix it by constititional amendment. Until then, go with the plain meaning, especially when other meanings are so obviously strained.

How does plain meaning allow someone born in Panama, like McCain, to be considered natural born? It's not only an offense against the Constitution. It's an offense against plain English.

If I were the Democratic National Committee's lawyer, I would wait for McCain to be nominated and then seek an immediate injunction in federal court barring him from the ballot. Every strict constructionist group should join the suit, if not as a plaintiff, then as a friend of the court.

My Friends, please save our country from John McCain, constitutional interloper.


Sorry, Swamp, but he's INELIGIBLE.

Here's the real facts:

http://muddythoughts.blogspot.com/2008/02/panmanchurian-candidate-mccain.html


Act of March 26, 1790 was overturned in 1795. Sorry Mr. Cruwdson.


If Senator Claire McCaskill's hastily scrawled "fix" actually goes through congress, it is a law that would need to be judged by the Supreme Court of the United States. Unless it is an amendment to the constitution, then McCaskill (and congress) would be undermining the supreme law of the land that is the U.S. Constitution.


The Naturalization Act of 1790


And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United Staes, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never beend resident in the United States: Provided also, That no person heretofore proscribed by any State, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.


The Naturalization Act of 1795


SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, that the children of persons duly naturalized, dwelling within the United States, and being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, and the children of citizens of the United States born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States. Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend on persons whose fathers have never been resident of the United States. No person heretofore proscribed by any state, or who has been legally convicted of having joined the army of Great Britain during the late war, shall be admitted as foresaid, without the consent of the legislature of the state in which such person was proscribed.


SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, that the Act, intitled, "An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization," passed the twenty-sixth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety, be, and the same is hereby repealed.

Apparently neither of these acts apply any longer. The first one was repealed by the second. And then the second was repealed in 1802.


Consider the act of 1790. It read, "And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United Staes, shall be considered as natural born citizens..." This was a concession. They never were considered to be natural born citizens until this act.


In the act of 1795 that repealed the act of 1790 the language was changed to "shall be considered as citizens of the United States." It would seem that this change was by design, recognizing that nature did not make these babies citizens, it was only by law. The law cannot change nature. The term "natural born Citizen" could not apply to these people. It only applies to jus soli (where the place where one is born naturally determines citizenship).


I'm starting to feel bad about this for John McCain. He has come so far and to have the very nature of his citizenship to be questioned would be miserable, especially after heroic service. But he is seeking the one occupation that explicitly requires that the officeholder be a "natural born Citizen." This can only be changed by an amendment that changes the Constitution from saying "natural born Citizen" to something that would include him as eligible, though he is a citizen by jus sanguinis (citizenship by descent).


In presenting this constitutional matter, the purpose is to bring attention to the need for a remedy. This may also mean that the remedy would not be in place in time for Senator John McCain to be elligible to hold the office of President.


http://idacres.com/politics/mccain/natural_born_Citizen.html


Most Americans are aware of the courageous service John provided as a naval aviator and POW . But few can fully appreciate how bad the egregious hospitality of the Hanoi Hilton was .His main concerns were for other POWs’ life threatening conditions and how he could assist their problems.

To this day John’s truthfulness, dedication and what he believes in is demonstrated by his sincere actions and service as a Senator of the United States of America. We could do a whole lot worse than vote for John Mc Cain.


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