'Birther' bid to derail Obama blocked
State Ballot Law Commission members called traitors
As state election officials yesterday rejected California lawyer Orly Taitz's argument to keep President Obama's name off the New Hampshire presidential ballot, supporters lining the hearing room in the Legislative Office Building cried out in protest.
"Traitors!" shouted one woman. "Spineless traitors!"
"Saying a treasonous liar can go on our ballot?" yelled State Rep. Harry Accornero, a Republican from Laconia. "You're going to have to face the citizens of Laconia. You better wear a mask."
The spectacle before the state Ballot Law Commission began with a presentation by Taitz, who came to Concord yesterday afternoon to continue her years-long demand for proof of Obama's U.S. citizenship.
Taitz, a dentist who was born in the Soviet Union, is running as a Republican for a seat in the California Senate and runs what she bills as the "world's leading Obama eligibility challenge website," refuses to accept the veracity of the birth certificates released by the White House in response to questions circulating through chain emails and on the internet about Obama's birth.
The administration released Obama's birth certificate from the state of Hawaii in 2008. When that didn't satisfy the skeptics, it posted a long-form version online earlier this year.
But Taitz insists that document is fake: The computer file is layered and could have been altered with the Adobe Illustrator program, she said.
"A child can see this is a forgery," she told the commission. "Why are they refusing to show the public the original?"
She also claims Obama doesn't have a valid Social Security number. Included in the 85-page packet Taitz submitted to the commission is a tax return with "a number that was never assigned to him," Taitz said. She said Obama is using a Social Security number issued in Connecticut around 1977.
In conducting her research, Taitz said she also found several birth dates associated with Obama in a national database. And she found information that she said contradicts Obama's claim about the length of time he spent attending Columbia University, which claims the president as a 1983 graduate.
"We have an individual where we don't know who he is," Taitz said. "We need to know that the person who is at the helm of this country, who is leading our military, whose finger is on the red button of nuclear weapons, has proper identification."
She told the commission members they would be responsible for "the most egregious election fraud ever committed" if they didn't take Obama's name off the ballot.
"This is bigger than Watergate. This is a hundred times bigger than Watergate," Taitz said. "Ladies and gentlemen, in your hands is national security for the United States of America."
But the commission wasn't convinced.
"Is there any decision, any place, by any body - adjudicatory body - to the questions you're asking?" said the chairman, Bradford Cook. "Because they've been asked a lot of places."
"No, but -" Taitz began.
"No," Cook said. "Thank you."
He then addressed the several dozen other people in the room, a number of whom were videotaping the hearing: "Does anybody have factual evidence - not opinions, not rumors, not thoughts?"
"It's the Constitution, sir," said Dick Marple, a former state representative. "It states we must respect the law of nations." He went on to say that the British Nationality Act makes Obama a British citizen, since Obama's father was born in Kenya, which was still a British colony when Obama was born.
"What took place after that is not even germane to the issue," Marple said.
The commission heard from several others, including Accornero, the Laconia representative; Greg Goss, a self-described "natural-born citizen" from Hudson; and Erin Sullivan of Bradenton, Fla., who had been visiting a relative in Massachusetts and decided to come to Concord for yesterday's hearing.
"I want to say, the Constitution is what makes America great," Sullivan said, drawing applause from the room.
It was out of the commission's purview, however. Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti told commission members they could only consider whether Obama had filed his declaration of candidacy form in accordance with state law and paid his $1,000 filing fee. Both form and fee were properly submitted by Vice President Joe Biden on Oct. 20, according to Assistant Secretary of State Karen Ladd.
The five members voted unanimously to keep Obama's name on the ballot.
Their response to the testimony during the hearing angered many of those in the room, including state representatives.
"Unbelievable," fumed state Rep. Susan DeLemus, a Republican from Rochester, walking around the room during a break in the hearing, before the commission took its vote.
"Let's just bury the Constitution now and have a funeral," DeLemus said. "It just makes me want to throw up."
(Maddie Hanna can be reached at 369-3321 or email@example.com.)