Beltway Happenings 
Dec. 8, 2008--Philip J. Berg, a former Deputy State Attorney General from Lafayette Hill, PA speaks at a press conference on "Is Obama a Natural Born Citizen?"  Berg charges that Obama is not a natural born citizen, as is required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, and therefore is not eligible to serve as President.  "If Obama really had a Hawaiian birth certificate, we would have seen it by now," Berg stated.  "This is the largest hoax ever contemplated against the United States in 200 years," Berg said.

The Obama campaign had to contend with many such rumors, and in June 2008 it launched a "Fight the Smears" website where it posted a "Certification of Live Birth" from the Hawaiian Department of Health.  (During the course of the campaign "Fight the Smears" rebutted an assortment of more than two dozen different claims).  There is also the fact that the Honolulu Advertiser published a birth announcement for Obama on Aug. 16, 1961.  

Berg describes the birth certification as a fraud, and he has made other arguments to advance his contention that Obama is not a natural born citizen.  He terms media coverage of the issue "a disgrace," but two respected fact-checking efforts, the St. Petersburg Times' and the Annenberg Public Policy Center's, have both examined the evidence in detail and determined that the document is valid.
On Aug. 21, 2008, days before the Democratic National Convention, Berg filed suit against Obama and the DNC  in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania charging that Obama is not eligible to serve as President.  Judge R. Barclay Surrick dismissed the case on Oct. 24, ruling that Berg lacked standing.  On Oct. 30 Berg appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  With that matter still pending, Berg today went back to the Supreme Court seeking to stay the Electoral College meeting on December 15 and the counting of those votes in Congress in January 2009.  Berg documents his odyssey on his website.
Bob Schultz, chairman of the We the People Foundation For Constitutional Education, organized today's press conference.  Also speaking (but not pictured) was Orly Taitz, the attorney on a California suit seeking to prevent the Secretary of State from certifying the election "until such documentary proof is produced and verified showing that Senator Obama is a 'natural born' citizen of the United States."  Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, NJ did not attend the press conference, but he too filed a case questioning Obama's qualification as a natural born citizen.  The U.S. Supreme Court declined today to consider an appeal by Donofrio.
Reverend James David Manning of Harlem was the final speaker.  He offered a prayer and  then launched a lengthy diatribe against Obama, describing him as "this usurper...this long-legged mac daddy" and stating that Obama is "perhaps the most notorious criminal in the history of this planet."

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Copyright © 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action