Kansas has added a little suspense to the 2012 presidential race.
Is President Barack Obama a natural-born citizen? Can he be on the Kansas ballot Nov. 6?
The issue was raised Thursday afternoon by a Manhattan, Kan., man who appeared before a state panel that decides eligibility questions about who should be on the ballot in this incredibly red state.
In this case, Joe Montgomery, 51, is objecting to Obama being on the ballot, arguing that the president isn’t a natural-born U.S. citizen because he wasn’t born to two parents who were both citizens. He said Obama’s father wasn’t a citizen.
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“I am here to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States. I think somebody needs to do it,” Montgomery said.
The Obama campaign blasted the argument, calling it a “tired” allegation that is “utterly baseless” and “without merit,” pointing out that 100 years of Supreme Court precedent contradicts Montgomery’s claim.
The board that heard Montgomery’s complaint — made up of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer — did not make a decision Thursday so it could gather more information.
Kobach moved to delay the decision until Monday so the state could get records from Hawaii where Obama was born. The panel also wants information that was submitted in Arizona and Mississippi to certify Obama’s eligibility on the ballots in those states.
Kobach brushed aside a suggestion that by not making a decision, the board tacitly approved of the “birther” argument that Obama is an illegitimate president.
“Delaying doesn’t in any way give any credence to the claim of the objector,” Kobach said. “Delaying it simply says this is the state Objections Board, created by Kansas statute, and we need to take our responsibilities seriously.”
Throughout his presidency, Obama has fended off allegations about his citizenship until last year, when he released copies of his original long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii.
The birth certificate can be seen on the White House website.