‘It’s not a birther bill, it’s a birth certificate bill’
Despite the fact that it’s a blue state, Connecticut has been at the forefront of challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship, first with a lawsuit in 2008 that has since been dismissed and now with a piece of legislation from Republican Sen. Michael McLachlan of Danbury.
But McLachlan denies his legislation has anything to do with Obama’s citizenship. Obama was born in Hawaii, but there are groups of people called “birthers,” which don’t believe it.
“It’s not a birther bill, it’s a birth certificate bill,” McLachlan said Monday.
The bill, which has yet to be raised by the General Administration and Elections Committee, requires presidential and vice presidential candidates to present their birth certificates before their names are placed on the ballot in Connecticut.
McLachlan did not want to talk about the conspiracies surrounding Obama’s citizenship he said he simply wanted to write legislation that requires it going forward to stop the arguments about who qualifies. McLachlan said Sen. John McCain’s citizenship was also challenged by a Senate panel.
McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, was born in Panama Canal Zone and there was questions raised about his citizenship too.
McLachlan said he just wants to put the whole thing to rest once and for all and not have the state waste time and money going forward. He said similar legislation is pending in other states.
“If you need a birth certificate to get your drivers license you should have to produce one to be president,” McLachlan said.
But the very existence of the legislation has some inside the Democratic Party wondering what’s going on with Republicans.
“At a time when Connecticut faces a significant budget shortfall, it’s ridiculous that Senate Republicans are focusing on tired political attacks that have nothing to do with the issues facing Connecticut,” Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said Monday.
“Our Democratic leaders are focusing on real solutions to move Connecticut forward, and their Republican colleagues in the Senate should join them,” DiNardo added.
McLachlan doesn’t disagree that the most important issue facing the state is its fiscal mess. However, he said he felt it was important to settle this issue once and for all, so no more time and money are spent disputing it.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wondered why McLachlan was picking on McCain.
“You know, listen, I think we should honor our constitution and I think John McCain was eligible to run for president so I don’t know why the senator’s picking on John McCain,” said Malloy.
In past years the Senate Republicans have prevented any bills from the General Administration and Elections Committee from being debated by loading them up with amendments. McLachlan said in the past Republican leadership has insisted on the establishment of a Senate ethics committee before moving forward with any legislation.
Republicans are still upset an ethics committee was set up to investigate former Sen. Louis DeLuca, while no investigation was launched into former Sen. Thomas Gaffey’s misconduct.