Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Reality Check
Radio for March 10, 2011. This is your host, R.C. Welcome to the show again. This
is my weekly show on politics and presidential eligibility, and we have a guest this week who couldn't be with us last week, because some of his legislative business took priority, so I appreciate - I talked with Representative Hatfield yesterday, and we were able to reschedule him here tonight for a few minutes, so certainly appreciate him giving up his time. Representative Mark Hatfield is from the 117th District in Georgia, from Waycross. He's a graduate of the fine University
of Georgia law school, and I believe he's also Secretary of what's the equivalent of the Judiciary Committee. Representative Hatfield has introduced a bill on presidential eligibility - one of the so-called 'birther bills'. There are about - depending on how you count - ten or twelve of them. So, without further ado let's bring up Representative Hatfield. 0:2:42 R.C: show. Rep. M.H: R.C: Good evening R.C. How are you doing? Good evening, Representative Hatfield. Welcome to the
Hey, doing great. (they talk over each other) Real quickly let me just correct you about a I'm in District 177 in Georgia, and I'm also
couple of things.
the - I'm the Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee in the Georgia House. R.C: Okay, thank you. appreciate the corrections. I misread the district there, I So, why don't we jump into it,
because I know you said you only had about twenty minutes here tonight so let's get right into the meat of it. Rep: M.H: R.C: bill? 0:3:20 Rep. M.H: Well, this is House Bill 401, and it's entitled Sure.
Why did you submit the bill, and what - what's in the
the Presidential Eligibility Assurance Act, and this bill is basically a bill which would require that presidential and vicepresidential candidates, in order to be included on the Georgia ballot, in the Presidential Preference Primary, or in the General Election, would have to submit documentary evidence of his or her satisfaction of the natural born citizenship requirement, as well as the age and residency requirement of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. And this Bill is - basically, it's an important bill I feel, because, it's important that we work to uphold the principles of our founding fathers as laid out in the Constitution, and right now, there is, there is currently nothing that we have from Congress in the way of guidance, as to
the enforcement of Article 2, Section 1, and I feel that in the absence of any action by Congress, that the states have the duty and obligation to step forward, and try to make sure that those eligibility requirements are enforced. 0:4:46: R.C: Okay. And what are some of the specific requirements
in the bill? Rep. M.H: Well, the bill, as I mentioned to you when we
spoke last evening, the bill is - has undergone some change since it was originally introduced. We have a substitute that's
drawn up, but I'll just tell you, basically, as it was originally introduced, the bill would require that a presidential or vice-presidential candidate submit an affidavit showing that he or she meets the requirements of natural born citizenship, age and residency; fourteen years residency in the United States, and that the candidate would append to the affidavit, documentation, showing - proving that the candidate meets those requirements, and it expresses a first preference for a certified copy of an original, a first original long form birth certificate. In the absence of that, if such a birth certificate does not exist or is not available, then the candidate would be permitted to submit other documentation as he or she deemed
appropriate, that would either individually or collectively show that he or she meets the eligibility requirements. The bill also - as to the affidavit - originally included some language which we discussed, that would ask that the candidate swear to the fact that he or she had never been a held dual citizenship or multiple citizenship, and that the candidate had only had allegiance to the United States of America, and finally, that the candidate list the residences that the candidate lived at or in for the fourteen years preceding the execution of the affidavit. Now that has, that has changed with the substitute, because we had, as you and I have discussed, there are, certainly the issues have been raised, they - people - a lot of people have claimed that, you know, it's a political bill, and so in order to, to allay concerns about the bill's potential political nature, I have proposed a substitute which would move the effective date of this bill to July 1 of 2013, and that makes it clear that President Obama would not be subject to the requirements of the bill, yet we would still be able to get into law some definite means of enforcing the Article 2, Section 1 requirements. 0:07:40 Also, just finally, the substitute would also remove the dual citizenship issue, multiple citizenship, and basically just
require a fairly bare-bones affidavit stating that the candidate meets the age, and natural born citizenship requirements, and that he or she has been a resident for fourteen years in the United States. R.C: I'm sorry Representative Hatfield, I'm having a little difficulty - it's bringing up some callers here before I'm ready, and a little bit of that got over - unfortunately it didn't come through, but I think I got the gist of it. So you're resubmitting the bill - let me summarize and you can correct me if I'm wrong. Rep. M.H: OK R.C: You're re-submitting the Bill, and you're removing the no dual citizenship requirement? Rep. M.H: Right, right. R.C: And... Rep. M.H: But we're not - it's not... it's not resubmitting the bill. Basically, you know, as the bill, any bill that is filed goes through the process of Committee hearings, and most bills, during that process, evolve in form, and eventually result in an amended bill, or in a substitute bill, and that's basically what I'm doing here is, is offering a substitute to the original bill - it'll still be under House Bill 401. 0:09:03
R.C: OK. Bill 401.
So we'll call it the revised... revised House
Rep. M.H: Right. R.C: Does it still have the same requirements on the birth certificate, that - the same language? That it has to be a certified exact copy of the candidate's first original long form birth certificate? Rep. M.H: Yes, yes, it does. R.C: And does it still say it has to have the name of the specific hospital or other location, attending physician at the candidate's birth, name of the parents, respective birth places - that language, is that still in there? Rep. M.H: It has most of that language. I took out the
portion about the parents’ current residences, as well as the requirement that the birth certificate show attending witnesses, and I'll tell you, just, my basis for doing that, I, when I was at home over the weekend, you know - as you know we're in the legislative session right now, but we break for the weekends, and when I was at home over the weekend, I was able to pull a copy of my long form birth vertificate, and was able to, you know, look at the specific items that are on the birth certificate here in Georgia, and I think that these are, what I've got now is that it would include the candidate's date, time and place of birth, the name of the specific hospital or other
location at which the candidate was born, the attending physician at the candidate's birth, and the names of the candidate's birth parents and their respective birth places. 0:10:30 R.C: Now, aren't you going to have a problem on this bill,
with the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution? Because other states - as a matter of fact several other states - only issue what is commonly now termed the short-form birth certificate, the ‘Certification of Live Birth,’ the computergenerated type certificate that we're all familiar. And, it
sounds like your bill still reads in such a way that that would not be acceptable proof (they talk over each other) Rep. M.H: Well, that's true... the Bill does actually contain - I've got a line in here that says the candidate shall not attach certified or other copies of non-original documents or records, and you know, I agree with you that many states, if you just go and make a generalized request for a birth record, they're going to give you a summary document, which is a Certificate of Live Birth - it's computer generated. But that doesn't mean that you can't obtain that - the original long form birth certificate, and I have heard the arguments about the Full Faith and Credit clause, but this really, basically, when we're taking some action at the state level, I'm relying on a couple of things: One, that yes, the United States Constitution sets
out the eligibility requirements for the office of President. However, the States have the duty of carrying out the elect... the - the actual qualification of the candidates and the elections of the candidates. And so, I don't think that inasmuch as we're dealing with the access to the Georgia ballot, and not any other State's ballot - that we would have the ability in Georgia to, to set the requirements to get on the ballot in our State. 0:12:25 R.C: Well, I certainly disagree with that, because I think
that you're trying to require a birth certificate beyond what many states will give, and you - you said something I'm going to take issue with. You said the original long form birth I've, I know many, many people have
certificate is obtainable.
tried - of the birther community - to get a long form birth certificate of Hawaii. They claimed they were going to do it. And Hawaii has stated specifically that since 2001, when you request a birth certificate, what you get is a Certificate very similar to the one that was published for President Obama. They
will not supply the other birth certificate with certification on it – now... Rep. M.H: Let's - and I don't mean to interrupt - but let's assume that that is correct, and that Hawaii can only issue the Certificate of Live Birth that's computer generated. Even under
- under that scenario, in my bill, you would still be able to submit other documentation, and I've got in there language that says other documentation that may include but not be limited to - and then we've got things like, medical records which would include birth records, baptism records, school records, passport records, things of this nature. I've got a, sort of a laundry
list, but it's a non-exclusive laundry list of things that would be acceptable, and would meet the requirements of the bill, in order to get on the Georgia ballot. So if – we're not saying
that if you don't have a long form birth certificate that there's no way that you get on the ballot. On the contrary, if you don't have - if there's not a long form birth certificate in existence, then this bill would specifically allow the submission of other documentation, and, that would - you know - satisfy the eligibility requirements, or show compliance with the eligibility requirements. 0:14:35 R.C: records? that case? Rep. M.H: Well, sure. I mean if, if, assuming - and I Well, isn't there a problem requesting medical Don't you butt up against the medical privacy laws in
think you're assuming that the state would be making that request, but my bill would put the onus on the candidate to obtain those records and provide them to the state. So I agree
with you that, you know, just like in the current situation with the President, that, you know, someone cannot come in and reque... someone that does not have a tangible interest in the record cannot come in and request from Hawaii those records, which are confidential, and not subject to public review, but here we're talking about a bill that says the candidate, in order to get on the ballot, would supply those. 0:15:31 R.C: But aren't these documents - would these documents
then be placed on public review, or only seen by the Secretary of State? Rep. M.H: review. R.C: So you're asking – you're going to ask the candidates They would - they would be available for public
to supply private records, then? Rep. M.H: Well, yes... and R.C, I think that, you know,
while some people may see that as a, as a burdensome requirement, I mean we're not talking about running for city council here, we're talking about running for the highest office in the land - I mean the leader of the free world - and to expect the person who is going to take on that awesome task and responsibility to submit just the minimum amount of documentation showing that he or she meets those requirements as set out in the Constitution, I think is not asking a lot.
I mean, you know, we have kids today, in order to play Little League baseball, they've got to produce a birth certificate. So, you know, to say that a candidate would be
required to produce some documents - and yes, they would be subject to public inspection - but then how many presidential candidates have released their medical records over the years? And presidents who actually made it into office? think that's asking too much. 0:16:48 R.C: Actually, I didn't see John McCain's medical records. So, I don't
I saw about a one-paragraph summary, and I didn't see a lot of Obama's, I mean that's - that's been overblown... Well, let's, let's move on. Does your bill - does your
bill still have the requirement that the candidate has to supply an affidavit showing - stating where they've lived, and their places of residence for the preceding fourteen years? Rep. M.H: R.C: Right. No, that was taken out –
Okay... - because I do - I do think that - to the extent
that we said that - that I said the preceding fourteen years, prior to the execution of the affidavit, that may in fact conflict with the Constitutional requirement that they'd just have been a resident for fourteen years. So, in order to make sure that this was not something that was - that was going
beyond the strict requirements of the Constitution, I made that change, so that it only requires just a showing that the candidate has been a resident for fourteen years total. 0:17:51 R.C: Okay. And, well, let me ask you this question. I -
as we discussed last night, I don't see that we've ever had a problem. I don't think we have a problem with this President.
I don't think we've had a problem with other Presidents, but, knowing what you know, from what's available in the public, and in your opinion, is the current President eligible to hold office? Knowing what you know, and just an opinion. Well, I'll – I will have to say - to give the
same answer I've given when I've been asked this in the past, and that is, I don't know. And, I could - I could say, as a lot
of people have said, that sure, that he, he - he said that he meets the eligibility requirements and that's it. But, you
know, I think that there - we have reason to be, at least, suspicious over the situation, because whether you agree with the issue or not, you have to admit that this issue has become has taken on national significance. And, at a minimum, it seems to me, that the President would come out and say, hey, we're going to put this, we're going to put this issue to rest. I'm going to release documentation,
whether it be a long form Birth Certificate or other
documentation, that - that will put this issue to rest.
think the fact that this has gone on for so long, and has not been addressed by the White House, it - you know - it raises suspicions. And I'm not - I'm not here to say that the I have no personal knowledge
President was not born in Hawaii. of that one way or another.
I would say that I understand he said that he was, and I don't have any basis to say otherwise, but it - it still begs the question aren't we, as a country, entitled to expect that a candidate who is running for the highest office in the land is going to meet a higher threshold. And in order to do that, I
think that you have to - you have to bring forth the records, you're going to have to - you know - have an honest dialogue with your population. 0:20:00 R.C: Well, what about Joe Biden? I'll ask you the same
question about Joe Biden, because you didn't even - your original bill last year didn't even include anything about the vice president. Rep. M.H: I agree with you, and that's absolutely true,
but basically, what - what I was doing last year was putting putting something out there, and I'll tell you I got the language for last year's bill straight from the Arizona version, because it was an issue that was up and coming at that time, it
was something that I'd had interest in, and I felt like - that we needed an opportunity to put something out there, and start a public dialogue about the issue. And, in fact, you know it did
trigger public dialogue in Georgia, and has contributed to the overall dialogue in the country about this issue. And what I
did was, I came back this year, as I said I would, and I came back with a more comprehensive bill that I think addresses the issue, probably in a more thoughtful manner, and recognizing that the Constitution specifies that the requirements for holding the office of vice president are the same as those for holding the office of president - you know - I think it's only fair to include that. 0:21:24 R.C: Right. Well, I'll tell you what, I've got a whole What I'd like to do is maybe
slew of callers lined up here.
give a couple of them maybe a shot here. Rep. M.H: R.C: Sure.
The first caller is actually from Georgia. Okay.
Rep. M.H: R.C: Loren:
Go ahead. I think this is Loren. Yes. Good evening Representative Hatfield. Is this Loren Collins? [hereafter, L.C]
Rep. M.H: L.C:
Yes, it is. How're you doing?
Doing well, sir. Good.
Rep. M.H: L.C:
I've got to say, sir, first of all it's good to talk
to you, and... Rep. M.H: L.C: Good to talk to you. It
And it's encouraging, what I've heard so far.
sounds like you've addressed a lot of the - not just the issues that I - that I've written about, but also some other ones that I was planning on bringing up, but you've pre-empted me on it, it appears, so... Rep. M.H: Well, I - you know - the process of a bill talking shape is - is sometimes a slow one, but it's a matter of going through the committee process, hearing from your colleagues, and hearing from the public, and trying to make the bill the best it can be. 0:22:29 L.C: you about. Okay. There's still a couple that I wanted to ask
One is - you already discussed there a little bit,
the different things that you want to see required on a - the first original long form birth certificate. Rep. M.H: L.C: Right.
What is it that you think is necessary about seeing
the name of the hospital and the parents' birthplaces?
Well, because that would be - those would
ultimately be the best evidence of where the person was actually born. R.C: Well, I'm going to step in here. I'm going to step
in, Loren, because when Hawaii puts out a document, like they did for Obama, and puts that state seal on it, what the representative is saying - that basically, he doesn't trust those state officials. He doesn't believe them, if - if they And by the way, Representative
have a state certified document.
Hatfield, did you know there is a - the federal government does define a birth certificate for federal use? And the one Hawaii Also,
issues, and the other short forms, meets that definition. are you saying you don't trust Hawaii? saying? 0:23:37 Rep. M.H: Is that what you're
Well, no, not at all... but again, you're - you
make assumptions that because a state issues something that's generated by computer, that - and that we've seen only, you know, on the internet - that somehow, that that should resolve all questions. I would submit to you first thing about Hawaii's
certificate of live birth is that we - as we discussed before that a person that is not born in Hawaii would be eligible under Hawaii law, to have his or her birth registered in Hawaii, and L.C.: But...
Rep. M.H: - as a result of that, would be able to obtain a computer-generated certificate of live birth such as the one that the President has put up on the web. R.C: Go ahead, Loren. L.C: It's true - it's true that in Hawaii someone can register a birth, but there are - if they're issued a certification it will not say that they were born in Hawaii. Hawaii does not issue certification saying 'Born in Hawaii' to people who were not born in Hawaii. Rep. M.H: Well, that - that begs the question. I think
that we have - we have yet to see that evidence of what the actual long form birth certificate says. just at a loss to - to figure out why? I'm just - and I'm Why not just go ahead
and - even assuming - assuming that what you're saying is correct, and that Hawaii's position is that that is the correct birthplace, why not go ahead and put this issue to rest if you're the President of the United States, and you've got other things on your agenda that are - that are important, and - and of worldwide import, why not just go ahead and put this thing to rest, and just go ahead and release the records that would - you know - shut all these people up? (Foggy joins the call.) FOGGY: This is Foggy here.
Well, I - my thought has always been that the It says he was born in Honolulu,
certification is conclusive.
Hawaii, and Hawaii doesn't issue birth certificates saying born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to people who weren't born in Honolulu. Rep. M.H: I'm kinda - I'm sorry, I was losing you a little
bit there. I think we had some bleed-over from another line. Could you repeat that? 0:25:47 FOGGY: Yeah, I joined the conversation because - because the State of Hawaii has made it very clear that this is the only birth certificate they give out. They actually have a program where, if you're more than 50% native Hawaiian - I mean ethnic Hawaiian - that you get some special privileges from the government of Hawaii, and the website that describes that program says that if you have one of the old birth certificates that - you know - like, like a long form birth certificate, that they'd prefer to see that if you still have one, but if you don't have that and you want to get a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, the only birth certificate they're going to give out, is the short form abstract that the state of Hawaii gives out. Rep. M.H: Sure, and, and... FOGGY: President Obama - unless you think President Obama is above the law in Hawaii, it - the only birth certificate that
he can get, is the short form birth certificate that he got. And of course if you've seen the photographs from factcheck.org, that's a certified birth certificate, with a raised seal, and the signature of the registrar, and it satisfies all federal requirements to get a birth certificate and to prove where you were born. Rep. M.H: Well... FOGGY: I don't understand - I don't understand what you
mean by saying why doesn't he put this to rest. He put it to rest. He's shown an official - an official birth certificate from the state of Hawaii. Hawaii gives out. That's the only birth certificate
The other comment I have is, you say that if
you were not born in Hawaii, that you can get a Hawaiian certification of live birth. two years now. Not one of them has ever been able to obtain a birth certificate saying that they were born in Hawaii, if they weren't born in Hawaii. If that's true, why doesn't somebody Birthers have been saying that for
who wasn't born in Hawaii show us that that's true, by getting a birth certificate? 0:27:45 Rep. M.H: comments? R.C: Yes. Well, R.C., could I respond to that? Those
Rep. M.H: R.C:
I'm sorry - who - who are we speaking with here?
This is Foggy. Okay. Well - a couple of things there. You
know, you - you're making again assumptions about - about the certificate of live birth, that I think that - to me, you know, I'm not - I'm not willing to say something that's been put up on the internet, that - you know - is not in the hands of some public official, for example, right here in Georgia, of our secretary of state, I'm not willing to just - to accept that an internet image, in the absence of some hard proof - that is something that's tangible, that a public official can look at. And - you know - you may not be in agreement with that, but I think that, again, we're not talking about - you know - we're not talking about a city councilman, we're not talking about even a governor, we're talking about the presidency. The other thing that I wanted to point out is that, assuming that what you're saying is all correct about the Hawaiian certificate of live birth, nevertheless, there's nothing that is restricting the President from releasing other records that would include - you know - birth records, that would include medical records, it would include passport documentation, college records, things of this nature, and... (Someone interjects.)
I'm sorry, but just let me finish this thought.
Whether or not that you agree with the fact that this has become a national issue, the fact of the matter is, that it is a national issue, and, you know we had a recent poll that came out - I think R.C. indicated that it was from CNN. I'm not sure if
it was CNN or if it was an NPR poll, but it showed that 51% of Republicans think - or have concerns about this issue. You may
not be a Republican, you may not vote Republican, but you've got to admit that - the Republican Party is obviously a sizeable chunk of this nation's voters, and if you've got more than half of the Republican Party saying this is an issue, I think it deserves some national attention. 0:30:09 LC: If I could go back to the, you know, the actual
language of the bill and what it requires the candidates to provide, I actually – some time back, not recently, but I picked up from the post office an application for a U.S. passport, and in the passport application it says that if you're born in the United States you have to provide a certified birth certificate, and that birth certificate shall include your full name, full name of your parents, date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal of the official custodian, and that's what's contained on a Hawaiian certification of live birth. It's also the same information as what you would get if
you get a certification of birth from the state of Georgia. Georgia will issue both, you know, a certified copy of the original, but I also have here from 1997, they issued me a, sort of almost identical to Obama's – MR. HATFIELD: doubt about that. LC: Yes, so my point is that since this is the standard I agree with you there. I don't have any
that the federal government uses to issue passports to U.S. citizens, why is any additional information necessary for the state of Georgia to put someone on a ballot? MR. HATFIELD: Well, I think that's a good question, and I
think I've got a good answer for you, and that is that we're talking about a passport right here, we're talking about citizenship, but the constitution distinguishes between citizenship and natural born citizenship, and as you know, under law in the United States, if you're born on American soil you are a citizen of the United States, there's no doubt about that, but the constitution says natural born citizen, which is a heightened requirement from that of just normal citizenship, and I think it's reasonable to conclude that it requires more than just simply being born on the soil, and that's why the issue – that's why I'm concerned about the issue of the parents' birthplaces and the citizenship of the parents. LC: And what more is it that you think it requires?
Well, you know, you and I have had, I guess,
a little back and forth on this in the AJC and in our emails, but I believe that a person who holds dual or multiple citizenship – and this is just my belief – I believe that the founders never intended for such a person to hold the office of the presidency, and there – and I'll be the first to say that there are conflicting lines of authority on that issue and there are conflicting lines of legal thought on that, but the significant thing to me is that we have some – we have scholarship from, that was around the time that the constitution was written in the time of the founders that – for example, the Vattel's Law of Nations, that talks about natural born citizenship being a unity of being born on the soil, having two parents who are citizens, and having a unity of allegiance to that nation. And then we've got other anecdotal evidence. I mentioned
to R.C. last night that the presidential campaign of Charles Evans Hughes in 1916, he ran against Woodrow Wilson, and Charles Evans Hughes was born in the United States, but his father had not yet naturalized at the time of his birth and therefore was still a British citizen, and so Hughes – LC: And he was the Republican nominee, and he won 48
percent of the electoral vote.
He lost the election
overall, and so we don't have – we don't really have a conclusive answer to what would have happened had he been elected, but what I was going to point out was that a gentleman named Breckinridge Long – if I could just finish this thought, and then I'll – LC: Okay, go ahead. But a gentleman named Breckinridge Long, who
was an attorney and a legal scholar and then subsequently served as secretary of state and the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, he wrote an article in the Chicago Legal News during the presidential election campaign in 1916 questioning the natural born citizenship of Charles Evans Hughes, and so my point in saying that is this is not an issue that's just come up with our current president. long time. We know that President Chester Arthur back in the 1800s had issues regarding eligibility. raised. At least posthumously they were This is an issue that has been around for a
Charles Evans Hughes, we had George Romney in 1968
running for the Republican party nomination and having been born in Mexico. We had John McCain. And so this is not an issue
that just came up yesterday. 0:35:14 FOGGY: But none of those people was ever disqualified.
MR. HATFIELD: FOGGY:
I understand that, but that's –
In fact, you're a Republican, aren't you? I would argue that that was due to the fact
that – I'm sorry, go ahead. FOGGY: The very first nominee of the Republican party in
the election of 1856 – do you know that was the first time the Republican party ran a candidate was in 1856? Charles Fremont. He was a really famous guy. His name was John He was called The
Pathfinder, because he explored the southwest United States, and his father was a Frenchman who never did naturalize as an American citizen, and he was the nominee of the Republican party. Now this was before the Civil War. 14th amendment. This was before the
This was just a few years after the His opponent in the Republican party So you
constitution was enacted.
was John McLean who was a justice of the Supreme Court.
would think that if having a French father and having dual citizenship was disqualifying, you would think that John McLean would have brought up the fact that John Charles Fremont had a father who was not a citizen of the United States. So even
before the 14th amendment stated that anybody who's born in the United States immediately becomes a citizen of the United States, the Republic party thought that having a French father, having a dual citizenship, was not disqualifying.
Well, you know, as I've said, there's
anecdotal evidence going both ways on this issue, and I'll be the first to tell you I don't discount that, and I think, you know, these are valid observations. But what I'm pointing out
is there are examples going both ways, and it shows to me and suggests to me that there's a flaw in the system, because Congress has never acted to tell us what natural born citizens means, and the Supreme Court of the United States has never told us, given us an opinion squarely on point. LC: If I – I'm going to change subjects here a bit if I The bill, of
could, wanted to ask something slightly different.
course, is just limited to the president and the vice president. I was looking for the code section earlier, couldn't stumble across it. I believe to serve in the Georgia House you have to
be a U.S. citizen. MR. HATFIELD: requirement. No, I'm not aware of any U.S. citizenship
Now, I wouldn't tell you you're wrong on that, but But I wouldn't argue the point. If it's not
I haven't looked at that issue.
I mean, I think you should be a U.S. citizen. required, you should be. RC: Hey, Loren, let me step in here.
I want to bring on We're
She's my second guest of the evening. I know it's a great discussion. This is R.C.
running a little long.
Kyrsten, can you hear me okay?
Yes, I can hear you just fine.
have an answer to the question that was just posed to Mr. Hatfield. Now, I'm a senator in Arizona and not in Georgia, but
I do know the rules in Georgia, and you indeed do have to be a United States citizen to be an elected official in the state of Georgia, because you have to be qualified to vote, and as we know, only U.S. citizens are qualified to vote. So while Mr.
Hatfield may not know the answer to that, it's pretty clear, and it's spelled out pretty clearly in Georgia statute. LC: I actually just managed to pull this up.
Members of the Georgia House must be citizens of the U.S., at least 21 years old, a Georgia citizen for at least two years, and a legal resident of the district they are running in for at least one year. MR. HATFIELD: Right, but you know, I meet all those
requirements and to my knowledge, you know, the other members of the House do, but we're not talking about citizenship issues here with regard to the presidency. born citizenship. LC: I do understand. My question was, however, what We're talking about natural
documentation did you or the other members of the House have to produce to show that you are in fact U.S. citizens? MR. HATFIELD: Well, we had to sign an affidavit showing
that we met the requirements of the office, and I don't have
that affidavit before me, but I'm sure that whatever requirements are specifically set out in the code are reflected in the affidavits that we sign. MS. SINEMA: LC: I just want to note –
[inaudible] I can't hear you both, I'm sorry. Well, this is Kyrsten from Arizona. I just
MR. HATFIELD: MS. SINEMA:
want to note for the record that's exactly the same kind of affidavit that any candidate for president has to sign in each of the states in which that person wants to be on the ballot. So what Mr. Hatfield is proposing is a different standard for people who run for one office than run for another office. MR. HATFIELD: No, that's not my proposal. That's in the
United States Constitution that you have to be a natural born citizen. 0:40:05 MS. SINEMA: What I'm saying, sir, is that your proposition
requires people to show proof of that, whereas to run for Georgia representative or senator, all you have to do is sign an affidavit. You don't have to provide a birth certificate. You
don't have to prove it. MR. HATFIELD: Well, you know, again, it's a big leap
between being a Georgia state representative or a Georgia state
senator and being the President of the United States, and I would think that you would acknowledge that. LC: Well, in my district – I do acknowledge that, but what I certainly
wouldn't say is that we can hold some people to one standard and people to another standard. If you're going to serve as an
elected official in any office in this country, you have to be a United States citizen, and I think it's a violation of equal protection to provide different rules for some people than for other people. Everyone should – Well, that's patently absurd. That's
MR. HATFIELD: patently absurd. the United States. requirements.
I mean, you're talking about the President of You're talking about constitutional I mean, we're
This is an equal protection issue.
not talking about the government depriving a citizen of some civil right here. I mean, we're talking about who's going to be Give me a break.
the leader of the free world. MS. SINEMA:
So I just want to be clear that, Mr. Hatfield,
you're saying then that it's okay to require other people to show their proof of citizenship but not you? MR. HATFIELD: No, I'd be glad to show you mine. If you
want to come over here to Georgia, I'll be glad to show you my birth certificate. satisfy you. I could put it up online, too, if that would
But, you know, this isn't about my birth certificate, this is about – and this is not about my citizenship, although I can gladly produce for you any evidence you need to see that I'm a citizen, but this is about the person who occupies the highest office in the land. MS. SINEMA: That's different.
Well, and as we know, our current President,
as well as every president before them, has also provided proof of their own citizenship as well. I heard you mention that Now,
there was a question about our own Senator John McCain.
I'm from Arizona, and I want to be clear, I'm not a supporter of John McCain's, but to imply – MR. HATFIELD: MS. SINEMA: That doesn't surprise me. - right, but to imply or to question that he
is not a natural born citizen or that he doesn't have the qualifications to run for the president is not true and also offensive as an Arizonan. MR. HATFIELD: all. I didn't – excuse me, I didn't imply that at
I said that there were eligibility issues raised with
regard to John McCain who was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Now, I'm not – you know, you can try to rewrite history if you'd like to, but the fact is the question was raised. deal with it, okay? MS. SINEMA: That's just how it was. You gotta
Well, he was born in the Panama Canal Zone on
a military base to military soldiers who were bravely serving
So to imply that he – or to question whether or
not he's a natural born citizen somehow says that the children of soldiers who are serving on bases overseas don't have the same rights to citizenship as you or I do, and that it just patently unfair. MR. HATFIELD: Well, first of all, I have not said that. I
am telling you that the issue about John McCain's eligibility was raised. In fact, Barack Obama was a supporter of a
resolution in the United States Senate to declare John McCain eligible. So, I mean, let's get real here. What we're talking about
is we're talking about the highest office in the land, and you can try to make this about a city council or you can try to make it about a state representative or a state senator all you want, but the fact of the matter is is the constitution's got higher requirements for the United States president, and that is something that you cannot get away from, no matter how much you might try. MS. SINEMA: – SPEAKER: Well, Representative Hatfield, how does a And you know what, that is an important issue
baptismal certificate – how does a baptismal certificate or a school record do a better job of establishing the president's
eligibility than a certified copy of a vital record from their place of birth? MR. HATFIELD: SPEAKER: I'm not saying it necessarily does –
But that's what your bill says –
MR. HATFIELD: - but what I'm telling you is that we should have a requirement – I believe in a requirement that original documentation be produced. This stuff about producing a
computer-generated summary, to me, is simply – that's insufficient. We're talking about somebody who's spending
millions and millions of dollars to run for the highest office in the land. Are you telling me they can't go out and spend $20
to get a birth certificate in order to show that they meet natural born citizenship requirements? MS. SINEMA: underlying – MR. HATFIELD: too. RC: Wait a minute, hold on. I may have to tag team on you. Let's keep You guys are triple-teaming me here on this, Get real.
You know what I think is important here is the
MR. HATFIELD: it fair. RC:
I am, I'm going to mute some of the callers here. It is getting a little bit to
We're going to go one at a time. be a bit of a zoo here.
I want to step in – this is R.C. – and go back and ask a question. You've talked about how there's this big controversy First of all, were you a representative
over President Obama. in 2006? MR. HATFIELD: RC:
Yes, I was.
Okay, did you bring forth a bill in 2006 to make sure
that George Bush – or actually 2004, let's go back to 2004. MR. HATFIELD: January 2005. RC: Okay, so you took office the same time George Bush was I was elected in 2004. I took office in
sworn in for his second term, and you had no concern – did you have any concerns then about George Bush or Bill Clinton or any of the preceding presidents? MR. HATFIELD: Was this an issue?
To be honest, I mean, I'll be perfectly
honest with you, no, it wasn't on my radar screen at the time, but you know, I'm just like everyone else out in the world that when something becomes a national issue I pay attention to it, just like you apparently are doing by talking about the issue on your radio show. RC: because – MR. HATFIELD: RC: I noticed that. I noticed that. Yeah, and I do it in kind of a mocking kind of way,
Yeah, you noticed that, huh?
But, you know, I think that is unfair that
because you automatically attack somebody as being, you know, crazy or obsessed or something like this just because a question is asked, but there are people – people here in this country, many people feel more deeply about our constitution and our heritage than to simply just be brushed off like that. RC: Then I'd – You know, this is Kyrsten, I just want to say
that what I have some concern about is the idea that Mr. Hatfield said this became a national issue. What this became
was a strategy by a few people on the radical right to question the fitness and the qualifications of one candidate for president, and it became an internet rumor. Now, there are a
lot of internet rumors out there, but to say that those internet rumors are, quote, national issues, is, no offense, absurd. That's absurd. This was just a small group of people saying
crazy stuff on the internet. MR. HATFIELD: Well, when Chris Mathews, when Chris
Mathews, who is the darling of the left, gets on national TV and he says, hey, the President should release his birth certificate and put an end to the issue, come on, you can't make it about crazy conservatives and extreme radical right wingers. Chris
Mathews is about as leftwing as they come, and he's saying, hey, it's an issue.
Well, to be honest with you, I don't think
that's all that he said, if you would certainly take some time and go back – MR. HATFIELD: I know he said that he felt a tingle running
up his leg when he saw Obama, I know that. RC: thought. MS. SINEMA: RC: Go right ahead. Well, Kyrsten, I just want to step in and finish my
I don't think there's one – I think this is an issue
in places like World Net Daily, all the birther sites, the antibirther sites, of which I'm a member and mock – you know, we mock the birthers, but we also take them seriously, because some of this birther movement represents some people who are dangerous. There are sovereign citizens people, there are
people that have some really crazy ideas who are allied with these birthers, and that's a whole nother subject. MR. HATFIELD: R.C., there's extremists on all sides. You
know that and I know that, I mean, but you know I don't buy into these things like sovereign citizens and all that. I'm just a
guy who believes that our constitution ought to be respected. MIMI: RC: MIMI: Hello, this is Mimi. Yeah, go ahead, Mimi. I was going to pick you up. I heard Representative
I have a quick question.
Hatfield on the Ed Show, and he said that there were cryptic
statements coming from the state of Hawaii, and I looked up that statement and what Dr. Fukino said was: I have seen the
original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural born American citizen. what part of that was cryptic. MR. HATFIELD: Well, you know, I believe that when you have And I wondered
a public official that's coming out and making statements about something that's supposedly a sealed record not open for public inspection and not to be revealed to the public without the permission of the individual whose records those are, that certainly raises some questions and causes me to have some pause, but then you have the governor of Hawaii that comes in. He tells us he's going to put an end to all this. show the birth certificate. He's going to And
He's going to bring it out.
then all of a sudden, that's the end of the issue. MIMI: Well, he didn't exactly say that. To me, you know, those are cryptic
MR. HATFIELD: statements. MIMI:
It's quite a mystery to me. Born in Hawaii is cryptic? Actually, the governor
didn't say that. MR. HATFIELD: 1961? Were you there when he was born in Hawaii in I wasn't.
Were you there?
What she said was that she has looked at the
records, and she verified that he was born in Hawaii, yes, but Governor Abercrombie, what he wanted to do was release other records that would verify, but not the birth certificate itself, but he found that he couldn't do that. MR. HATFIELD: anything. Well, the bottom line is he didn't release The only thing I know
He didn't release anything.
that came out of him was that he said there was some sort of notation in the files. notation in the files. MIMI: Well, we've – actually, the birthers have verified In trying You know, what in the world is that? A
that the index data showed that he was born as well.
to find something, they actually debunked their own, and they used to say that Maya had a certificate of live birth, but what they actually did was debunked their own lie. 0:50:58 MR. HATFIELD: Well, you know, I can't speak for what I have no idea about Maya, and I But I I
somebody else brought up.
don't know where her – what her involvement in it is. haven't said that. can't speak to that. MS. SINEMA: RC: Can I – this is Senator Sinema.
That's not a contention I've made it.
Yeah, Kyrsten, go ahead.
I just want to say one thing.
I just have to
remark on the fact that we are all having a conversation on live radio about whether or not the president of the free world, the leader of the free world, whether or not he was born in Hawaii, and there is absolutely zero evidence – MR. HATFIELD: about. That's not what we're having a conversation
We're having a conversation about why he won't release That's what we're having a conversation about. Okay. So then my question is, Mr. Hatfield, Because
why do you so desperately need to see his records?
there is zero – zero – evidence that he was born anywhere other than Hawaii. And I have to just say that we are facing critical Your state is in a recession. My state
times in our country. is in a recession.
We are trying to recover from the worst Our schools are And I just want to
recession in either of our lifetimes. struggling.
We have major budget deficits.
note for the record that we're having a debate about whether or not Barack Obama's birth certificate is from Hawaii. have to say that I feel like we're having – MR. HATFIELD: That's not what we're having a debate about, And I just
but again, I'll go back to my bill, my bill in its current form, doesn't even apply to Barack Obama. on July 1, 2013. It would become effective
Now, you tell me what objection that you have
to – if that is not an issue with regard to Mr. Obama and the
state of Hawaii, then what objection do you have to requiring a candidate to comply with the constitution? LC: Okay, can I pick up again? Am I on the air?
Well, quite simply, quite simply this, that
individuals who choose to run for the United States presidency already have to file forms with the Federal Elections Commission and with each state in which they choose to run, and those forms are notarized, signed affidavits in which they attest that they are natural born citizens, are at least 35 years old, and obviously have the right to vote. And so it seems to me as if
we're having a big conversation about something that, to be quite honest with you, doesn't matter at all. matter. MR. HATFIELD: Correct me if I'm wrong, correct me if I'm It doesn't
wrong, but I don't think that the candidates themselves sign anything like that. I think that that is certified by their
party leadership, and that is provided to the states. MS. SINEMA: And the Federal Elections Commission is
responsible for reviewing not only the affidavits from each state but also the candidates' own forms. MR. HATFIELD: As we know, each –
The Federal Elections Commission is not
there – it has never been and is not now a body that is tasked with overseeing that candidates meet eligibility requirements. If you know anything about the law, you know that that is true.
Well, Mr. Hatfield, with all due respect, I'm
a constitutional attorney, so I know the law very, very well. MR. HATFIELD: about that? MS. SINEMA: Oh, you are? I'm sorry, I was not aware that I'm a constitutional attorney, too. How
you are an attorney, Mr. Hatfield. MR. HATFIELD: MS. SINEMA: I am. How about that?
Well, that's great news.
The problem with your legislation, quite simply, is this, that it is based on a faulty premise that our current president and, as you've argued, prior presidential candidates had questionable status as American citizens, and that, quite frankly, is an issue that was arisen by a very, very small rightwing, very narrow group of people in our country, who were upset about the individual who was running for president, whether it be John McCain or Barack Obama, and what I would like to posit to all of us this evening is that each of us, each of us, every single one of us, would do our state and our country proud by letting go of this frankly ridiculous issue and instead working to solve the very real problems that we face every day in our states and in our country, because this is not a problem. This is not a problem. We do not have a problem in our country
of having individuals run for president who are not qualified to be president. We don't.
Senator, I respect your opinion, and I I hope you would respect my
respect your right to your opinion.
opinion and my right to my opinion, and you know, that's a wonderful thing about living in the United States of America is that we have the freedom to have our own opinions and to work to further our beliefs as we see them to fit under the United States constitution, and I do have respect for your opinion, and I appreciate the dialogue, but I think we have to, at the end of the evening, we have to agree to disagree on this issue, and you know, I've enjoyed the debate. 0:55:58 MS. SINEMA: MR. HATFIELD: RC: Well, I think that's fair enough. Thank you. Well said.
Okay, Representative Hatfield, I know you have stayed
twice as long as you intended, and I really appreciate it. MR. HATFIELD: RC: Well, I've enjoyed the debate, R.C. I
I'm sorry that I had four or five callers on there.
didn't really intend for it to get that boisterous here, but we've got it under – MR. HATFIELD: Next time maybe you'll let me have a few
extras, but I really have enjoyed the debate, and appreciate you having me on. RC: Oh, you're welcome back any time, and you do have some
supporters over there in the chat room that goes with the show.
It's quite lively, and there are few – I have a fellow who's in there every week, you know, on the other side of the spectrum, and I only kicked him out once, because I got a little miffed at him one night, but I let him have his say every week, and we have a lively debate. MR. HATFIELD: Well, you know, I really think it's
important that, you know, even though that you and I may disagree on the issue, it's important that we have the conversation, and I appreciate you making that available to your listeners. LC: Would I be able to say one thing with Representative Am I on the air?
Hatfield still on the air? RC: LC:
Yeah, go ahead, Loren. Okay, excellent. Representative Hatfield, when you
tried taking it back to the bill a minute ago, I wanted to jump in. I've told people before, you know, despite what I've said,
despite what I've written, I'm not actually inherently opposed to such a documentation bill, to be honest. As I detailed
before, there were some problems, some serious problems that I saw with the bill. You've addressed a lot of them.
The two big ones I still see specifically with the bill are the privacy issues for making the records public, and I think your bill could avoid potential litigation and potential problems if you defined birth certificate simply the way the
U.S. State Department does for passports.
I think that would
solve the two major problems still as I see them with the bill. The other thing, as I started to go down the line of talking about earlier and then other people joined and we got sidetracked, part of the reason I brought up the Georgia House is that I live in District 80, Mike Jacobs' district. voted for Mike Jacobs every time since I've lived here. MR. HATFIELD: LC: Mike's a good guy. I've
Yeah, he was ahead of me in Georgia by a few years. Right, and we have that in common, Loren, as
you and I both went to Georgia. LC: Exactly, sir, and you may recall it was a little more
than two years ago when the – it turned out that the Democrat who was running here against Mike somewhat at the last minute found out that he was not eligible, Keith Gross. that? MR. HATFIELD: I remember something about that, but you Did you recall
know, I live in southeast Georgia, and so we're not in the same areas of the state. LC: issue. So it's hard for me to keep up with that. Precisely, it was a localized
Oh, I understand.
It turned out that Mr. Gross did not meet the residency He, I think, living up north, still had tax
and voter registration up north, and someone figured this out within the timeframe they could object to it, I think because
someone spotted like other state license plates on his car, if I remember correctly, and he found out, not to be eligible. A few
years before that, Max Barber got tossed off a Public Service Commission ballot against Bubba McDonald [phonetic] for also not meeting the residency requirement. MR. HATFIELD: LC: Right.
And so the way I see it – and there was a challenge a
few months ago – I forget if it was for the Supreme Court of Appeals for one of the judges, who didn't meet the bar requirements, and she was eventually found to be eligible. in other words, in the last decade, the two most notable challenges we've had to eligibility here in the state, which proved to be successful challenges, were on local ballots, the PSC being statewide, District 80 being local. And local races, But
as I see it – I mean, when you're talking about a billion dollar presidential race, these are candidates who have massive opposition research. If they have elibility issues, they'll
discover it, more likely than in a House race or a PSC race, many of which are going to be unopposed, frankly, and then no one's doing opposition research. And therefore, I think it's – as Keith and Max demonstrate – that is frankly where we probably need a documentation standard more than we need on the presidential level. 1:00:16
MR. HATFIELD: it.
I certainly wouldn't have any problem with
I think that anybody that's seeking to hold an office,
whether you are at the national level or if you're even at the local level, you should be – you should expect to be asked to meet a higher standard and to make sure that you are – satisfy all the requirements. at all. LC: Yes, and I think that's one of the ways that the bill So I wouldn't have any problem with that
could be improved is to, you know, instead of making it appear that it's simply targeting just the presidency, make it also apply to our other federal officers. MR. HATFIELD: one thing. Well, that would be a fine idea except for
In the Georgia constitution, we are prohibited from
passing a bill that has more than one subject matter, and I fear that we would violate the constitution's single subject matter requirement – the Georgia constitution's – if we were to take up a wholly different set of offices with regard to that. Now, you
know, if we got a legal opinion from legislative counsel or otherwise, I mean, I'd be all for that. problem with it. I don't have any
As I said, I mean, I'd be prepared to share my
birth certificate if anyone wants to see it, and be glad to, but I won't have any problem with that, and I think that it's not unreasonable to ask for it.
So if they have to be separate bills then so be it,
but like I said, I think that's where the need is here in Georgia. And to be honest, I've seen in other states that there are some other states – oh, that was the other thing I was going to say. Quite frankly, I think the problem here in Georgia isn't
that we're letting too many people on the presidential ballot; it's that we're letting too few. You know, Georgia has, quite
frankly, the strictest ballot access laws in the nation. MR. HATFIELD: I agree with you there, and I don't know if
you've looked at this, but a couple years ago I cosponsored a bill along with Representative Alan Powell and some others to ease those ballot access requirements. I do believe that we
should be more willing to allow third party candidates, independent candidates, et cetera, to get on the ballot. all for that. LC: Yes, and thank you for that. I hope you resubmit such So I'm
a bill and it gets more support. But, yeah, like I said earlier, the two things I named earlier, the privacy, the definition of a birth certificate, I think those are quite frankly going to be obstacles to your bill going forward. I think fix those, and it would stand a much
better chance of passing, would stand a better chance of surviving a challenge.
Well, I think that – you know, I'm not going
to make any predictions about whether or not the bill passes. There's – you know, we're certainly at a point in the legislative session where there's a lot of major issues out there, and frankly, I think the, somewhat the media spotlight that's been put on this attention probably has caused some people to get cold feet over it, certainly not me, but you know, whether or not that it goes forward it remains to be seen, but I think you have some good suggestions and I think that you're certainly right on target with ballot access as an issue in Georgia, and I will continue to pursue that issue into the future. LC: Well, thank you for that. All right.
MR. HATFIELD: RC:
Okay, Representative Hatfield, I'll give you a chance,
if you have to leave, I'll certainly give you a chance to take off here. You're also welcome to stay, because I have three or
four other callers who have their hands raised and would love to talk to you. So it's up to you. Well, we've been at it for about an hour
now, and I do have some preparation to do for – we're going into session at 9:30 in the morning again, and so I've got some review of the bills that are coming up for tomorrow to do, and again, RC, I do appreciate the opportunity to be with you.