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St. Charles County lawmakers may support inquiry into Obama's citizenship

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2009 - St. Charles County Council chairman Joe Brazil says he may introduce a council resolution that asks for the county prosecutor or the state of Missouri to examine whether President Barack Obama is eligible to hold his office.

Brazil said Wednesday that he found "absolutely credible'' the assertions of California dentist and lawyer Orly Taitz, who contends that Obama is not a U.S. citizen and therefore ineligible to be president.

Brazil was among 40 people who showed up at the Vision Library in St. Charles to listen to Taitz, who spent almost two hours Wednesday outlining her allegations that Obama was born in Kenya, the home country of his father; that the president has falsified various documents during his life -- including his Selective Service papers and his application to the Illinois Bar; that Obama may have a couple dozen fake Social Security numbers, which initally belonged to people who have since died. (Taitz links the latter to volunteer work by Obama's grandmother in a probate office in Hawaii.).

Taitz also questions the validity of the Hawaiian birth certificate that Obama's campaign posted on its Web site last year to refute such assertions. At Wednesday's meeting, she held up a large reproduction of Obama's birth certificate and challenged various items on it. "This is a scandal of the highest proportions," Taitz said.

Even if he was born in Hawaii, she went on, his father's nationality would have barred Obama from being considered a "natural born citizen'' as the founding fathers interpreted the term. (It is the father's citizenship, not the mother's, that mattered, Taitz said.)

Democrats, some Republicans and many nonpartisan groups dismiss such accusations.

The state of Hawaii and Obama's American relatives say he was definitely born in the United States. His mother was an American citizen who met Obama's father, an exchange student, at the University of Hawaii. Because Obama's mother was an American citizen, they said, Obama would automatically be one, too.

Taitz and her allies disagree. She contends that Obama's mother may have lied about her age and actually been under 18, which Taitz says also would have denied citizenship to her son if he was born outside the United States. Obama's campaign and his allies, including some Democratic-leaning Web sites, say such accusations are ridiculous.

Also in the audience was state Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, and a representative for state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay. Davis and the Lembke aide, John Judd, said they were simply there to listen to Taitz's arguments.

Still, Davis said she found Taitz to be "fascinating. We need to get to the truth of what's going on."

St. Charles County GOP committeeman Roland Wetzel, who sits on the state party's executive committee, said he shares Taitz's concerns about the nation's 44th president. "I absolutely believe he's a fraud,'' Wetzel said.

Taitz related her frustrations at the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to consider her initial suit before Obama took office. Taitz said she has filed another suit, on behalf of Alan Keyes, a commentator and former ambassador who stepped in to be Illinois' Republican candidate to the U.S. Senate in 2004 against Obama, after the initial GOP candidate dropped out. That suit is now in the California courts, she said.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.