Born in the U.S.A.?
By: KEITH PHUCAS, Times Herald Staff08/25/2008
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PHILADELPHIA - A Lafayette Hill attorney filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday challenging Sen. Barack Obama's claim to United States citizenship. The action seeks to remove the Democratic candidate from the November ballot.
To be eligible to serve as U.S. president, a person must be born in this country. According to Obama's birth certificate, which his campaign posted on its Internet site in June to quell rumors that he is foreign born, the Illinois senator was born in Hawaii on Aug. 6, 1961.
On Thursday, Philip Berg filed a temporary restraining order in federal court to bar Obama from running for president, claiming the Democratic candidate was actually born in Africa.
"We really don't believe he was born in Hawaii," Berg said. "We think he was born in Kenya."
The presidential candidate's father, Barack Obama Sr., was born and raised in a small village in Kenya, according to Obama's campaign Web site.
Berg's suit claims the senator's grandmother, brother and sister, who live in Kenya, believe they were present during Obama's birth in the African country.
Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Kansas, and his parents met at the University of Hawaii when Dunham was a student there, according to the Obama campaign.
Eventually, Obama's father returned to Kenya, and his son grew up in Hawaii with his mother and for a few years in Indonesia after Dunham married an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetoro. Also, Obama lived with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii.
"If he was born in Hawaii, and he was adopted in Indonesia by Lolo Soetoro, (Obama) would lose his citizenship," Berg said.
The Obama campaign has a special section on its Web site, "Fight the Smears," that debunks the birth certificate story and other reports that have circulated about him during the campaign.
"It's part of a smear campaign," said an Obama campaign volunteer who identified herself as Rachel. "There are just so many lies out there."
The lawsuit claims three "independent" document forensic experts performed extensive tests on the digitally-scanned image of Obama's "Certificate of Live Birth" posted on the campaign's site and found the document to be "a forgery."
Jerome Corsi, author of the book, "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," has also deemed the birth certificate phony, according to The Annenberg Political Fact Check, www.FactCheck.org.
The Annenberg Political Fact Check, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, aims to expose deception and confusion in U.S. politics.
Recently, FactCheck.org staffers "touched, examined and photographed" the original birth certificate kept at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago and concluded the document is genuine.
"The evidence is clear: Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.," FactCheck.org staffers concluded.
Sean Smith, Obama's Pennsylvania communications director, was contacted Friday about the suit but declined comment.
The civil suit filed by Berg will be reviewed by the U.S. Federal Election Commission, according to Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Keith Phucas can be reached at email@example.com or 610-272-2500, ext. 211.