Conservative radio hosts continue to promote discredited claim that Obama has yet to prove he was born in the U.S.

››› ››› NATHAN TABAK, GREG LEWIS, HANNAH DREIER & LAURYN BRUCK

Radio hosts Brian Sussman, Mark Davis, Lars Larson, Bob Grant, Jim Quinn, and Rose Tennent repeated the discredited claim that President-elect Barack Obama has not produced a valid birth certificate and is not eligible for the presidency because he is not a natural-born citizen. In fact, the Obama campaign posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on its Fight the Smears website and reportedly provided the original to FactCheck.org, whose staff concluded that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." A Hawaii Health Department official also reportedly confirmed that the birth certificate Obama's campaign posted is valid.

In recent days, several radio hosts, including Brian Sussman, Mark Davis (filling in for Rush Limbaugh), Lars Larson, Bob Grant, Jim Quinn, and Rose Tennent have promoted the discredited claim that President-elect Barack Obama has not produced a valid birth certificate and is not eligible for the presidency because he is not a natural-born citizen. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, the Obama campaign has posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on its Fight the Smears website and reportedly provided the original to FactCheck.org, whose staff concluded in an August 21 post that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." A Hawaii Health Department official also reportedly confirmed to PolitiFact.com that the birth certificiate Obama's campaign posted on the Fight the Smears website is valid, proving he was born in the state of Hawaii.

Further, as Media Matters has also noted, the Hawaii Department of Health released a statement on October 31 by Health Department director Chiyome Fukino, in which Fukino confirmed that "the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."

Examples of radio hosts continuing to push the debunked claim about Obama's birth certificate and citizenship include the following:

  • Mark Davis: While filling in for Rush Limbaugh on the December 1 edition of Limbaugh's nationally syndicated radio program, Davis spoke with a caller who discussed several lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility for the presidency on the grounds of what Davis called "the pesky birth certificate issue." Davis said: "One would think that a presentation of the actual birth certificate, which is in a vault in Honolulu somewhere. ... If it could settle this, why not present it? That is a very, very good question."
  • Lars Larson: During the December 1 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Larson said: "[A]s to the president-elect's birth certificate, I'm not satisfied yet, either. But I'm not sure we're ever gonna see the proof that he's constitutionally qualified to have run, so we may have to accept the outcome and just figure that we'll fix it on the next election."
  • Bob Grant: While filling in for Mark Levin on the November 28 broadcast of Levin's nationally syndicated radio program, Grant discussed a lawsuit filed by Alan Keyes, which alleges that Obama has not proven that he is a natural-born citizen and attempts to bar the California electors from meeting to cast their Electoral College votes. Grant said: "I'm not saying it's true that he's not really a native-born American citizen. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that people like Alan Keyes do believe that because he hasn't been able to produce the valid birth certificate, he is -- he is hiding something. ... Will anything come of this? I don't think so. But it is disturbing that when you say, well, you could end the conjecture by just producing the proof. And the proof is not produced. And then, of course, there are many of us who say, well, it's too late. No, the Constitution's very clear."

Additionally, during the December 1 edition of San Francisco radio station KSFO's The Lee Rodgers Show, guest host Brian Sussman introduced audio of an interview of the Kenyan ambassador to the United States, Peter N.R.O. Ogego, by Mike Clark, Trudi Daniels, and Marc Fellhauer of Detroit radio station WRIF by saying: "So, again, here are these morning show guys, talking to this official from Kenya. And, hmm, this Kenyan official lets something slip out of the bag. Sounds to me like Barack was born in Kenya. Sounds to me like everybody there knows it. Here. You listen to the conversation for yourself."

Sussman then aired the following audio:

CLARK: We want to congratulate you on -- on Barack Obama, our new president, and you must be very proud.

OGEGO: We are.

CLARK: Yes.

OGEGO: We are. We are also proud of the U.S. for having made history as well.

FELLHAUER: Hey, one more quick question. Obama -- President-elect Obama's birthplace over in Kenya, is that gonna be a national spot to go visit, where he was born?

OGEGO: It's already an attraction.

FELLHAUER: Yeah? OK.

OGEGO: His -- his paternal grandmother is still alive, and --.

FELLHAUER: But his birthplace, they'll be -- they'll put up a marker there?

OGEGO: It would depend on the government. It's already well known.

Moments after playing the audio of the Ogego interview, Sussman commented: "Everybody knows it. His -- his maternal grandmother's still alive. It'll be up to the government to decide if a marker needs to be placed there. Now, this government official later -- no, no, no, I was misquoted, I was misquoted. No, we just heard you, sir. He said he was referring to Barack Obama's birth father, and where he was born -- where the dad was born." Indeed, according to a November 26 article on the right-wing website WorldNetDaily.com, Ogego said that Clark and Fellhauer were "circulating misinformation." According to the WorldNetDaily.com article, Ogego said of WRIF: "They asked me about Obama's father, not Obama ... This is common-sense knowledge. Nobody is fooling anybody." The WorldNetDaily.com article also reported that "WRIF's Mike Clark told WND the show never manipulated the audio recording in any way."

Later in the broadcast, Sussman said of Obama's announcement of Sen. Hillary Clinton as Obama's secretary of state: "[M]aybe [Clinton] knows the truth about his citizenship." Sussman later stated: "You just wonder if she knows all of the information that Philip Berg has on Barack, and there was a deal struck in the background. OK, Barack, listen. We're not gonna blow the whistle on your citizenship. In fact, we'll help you keep a lid on all this. You get the nation, I get the world. You take the United States, I get secretary of state, and we're bringing in all my peeps. I mean, one has to wonder, right?" Berg had filed a lawsuit, which alleged that Sen. Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. His lawsuit was later dismissed and Berg has appealed that decision.

During the November 24 edition of Clear Channel's The War Room with Quinn & Rose, hosts Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent aired audio from the WRIF interview. After airing the audio, Tennent said: "It's already an attraction. It's well known, he says. ... It's well known, except for here." Subsequently, Quinn said of Ogego's comments: "I mean, here's the -- here's the ambassador in Kenya saying that Barack Obama's birthplace in Kenya is already a -- it's already well known, and it's already an attraction. I think you and I should -- maybe we should go do our show from -- from Barack Obama's birthplace."

From the December 1 broadcast of KSFO's The Lee Rodgers Show:

SUSSMAN: OK. There was a radio show back east last week that was able to -- was able to interview a gentleman who is a government official in Kenya. And they were talking to this government official about Barack Obama, and it was -- it was a very pleasant interview. But there's a whippersnapper on this morning show team.

OFFICER VIC (co-host Tom Benner): Uh-oh.

SUSSMAN: He's kind of -- kind of their Officer Vic.

OFFICER VIC: Uh-oh.

SUSSMAN: Who said, I -- I -- basically, saying under his breath, I can't allow this moment to pass. I need to ask this Kenyan official about Barack Obama's place of birth. And he just sort of slips it in during the course of the conversation, and this Kenyan official answers in such a way that -- well, sounds to me like Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Now -- now, keep in mind, before we get to this audio, because it's -- it's really amazing.

OFFICER VIC: Wow.

SUSSMAN: If you were an investigator trying to determine where Barack Obama was born -- OK, let's talk to family members. Well, can't talk to his mom. She's gone. Can't talk to grandma. She's gone. Grandpa, he's gone. This is all on the mother's side of the family. You can talk to Barack's sister -- his younger sister. She has named two different hospitals in Hawaii where he may have been born. She doesn't even know. You go to Kenya to talk to the other side of the family -- his birth father's side of the family -- and lo and behold, there are two relatives who swear they were at the birth -

OFFICER VIC: Well --

SUSSMAN: -- in Kenya. OK, so now you're an investigator. It looks to me like we've got an interesting situation here -- more evidence to say that he was born in Kenya than elsewhere. OK? Now, the Kenyans are not students of our Constitution. They're probably unaware of the fact that we have this little rule that says, no, our presidents have to be born in this country. So, again, here are these morning show guys, talking to this official from Kenya. And, hmm, this Kenyan official lets something slip out of the bag. Sounds to me like Barack was born in Kenya. Sounds to me like everybody there knows it. Here. You listen to the conversation for yourself.

[begin audio clip]

CLARK: We want to congratulate you on -- on Barack Obama, our new president, and you must be very proud.

OGEGO: We are.

CLARK: Yes.

OGEGO: We are. We are also proud of the U.S. for having made history as well.

FELLHAUER: Hey, one more quick question. Obama -- President-elect Obama's birthplace over in Kenya, is that gonna be a national spot to go visit, where he was born?

OGEGO: It's already an attraction.

FELLHAUER: Yeah? OK.

OGEGO: His -- his paternal grandmother is still alive, and --.

FELLHAUER: But his birthplace, they'll be -- they'll put up a marker there?

OGEGO: It would depend on the government. It's already well known.

[end audio clip]

OFFICER VIC: That's pretty slick.

SUSSMAN: OK, it's already --

OFFICER VIC: The way he posed the question.

SUSSMAN: Yeah. Just kind of threw that out there.

OFFICER VIC: Yeah.

SUSSMAN: And the guy bit. And, of course --

OFFICER VIC: It's already -- everybody knows it. It's already a marker there.

SUSSMAN: Everybody knows it. His -- his maternal grandmother's still alive. It'll be up to the government to decide if a marker needs to be placed there. Now, this government official later -- no, no, no, I was misquoted, I was misquoted. No, we just heard you, sir. He said he was referring to Barack Obama's birth father, and where he was born -- where the dad was born.

OFFICER VIC: Right.

SUSSMAN: Did -- now did it sound like that to you?

OFFICER VIC: No, it did not, quite frankly.

[...]

SUSSMAN: Hillary Clinton, secretary of state. That's what we're waiting for him to announce. He's -- Dr. Susan Rice --

OFFICER VIC: Rice.

SUSSMAN: -- is another very, very liberal member of his national security team. I'm looking at Tom Daschle, Eric Holder, Rahm Emanuel. Isn't Bill Richardson somewhere in the mix?

OFFICER VIC: Yes.

SUSSMAN: Yeah. Janet Napolitaniyano or whatever her name is. These are all Clinton retreads, you know, hope and change. I'm hoping there's gonna be some change left in my pocket after the Clintons do me over.

OFFICER VIC: Yes. Here's your hope, keep the change.

SUSSMAN: I just thought -- I thought it's really interesting about all of this, and -- Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, during the primaries, there was no love lost between these two.

OFFICER VIC: No. And she was out there saying he has no experience, he's not qualified.

SUSSMAN: I just wondered, maybe she knows the truth about his citizenship. Because one of her ardent supporters, and a guy who has raised a lot of money for her -- dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat, former assistant attorney general of the state of Pennsylvania. And that would be the guy that -- Philip Berg, the gentleman who's filed this lawsuit that's going to be addressed by the Supreme Court later this week regarding Barack Obama's citizenship.

You just wonder if she knows all of the information that Philip Berg has on Barack, and there was a deal struck in the background. OK, Barack, listen. We're not gonna blow the whistle on your citizenship. In fact, we'll help you keep a lid on all this. You get the nation, I get the world. You take the United States, I get secretary of state, and we're bringing in all my peeps. I mean, one has to wonder, right?

OFFICER VIC: Very interesting. Very interesting. Yeah.

SUSSMAN: You just have to wonder. This -- this is not change. This is the Clinton administration coming back at you.

OFFICER VIC: Your mind works in strange, Machiavellian ways.

SUSSMAN: And, of course, Barack Obama says, well, you know, all of these people have experience, and it's the kind of change we need. That's how he spins it.

From the November 24 broadcast of Clear Channel's The War Room with Quinn & Rose:

QUINN: By the way, changing -- switching gears here for a second. I told you about this over the weekend. Somebody sent me this. This is a -- about one minute from a radio show, a morning radio show, on WRIF in Detroit, once known as Rockin' Stereo WRIF. I know, 'cause I hired a guy from there. Anyway, this is just a little piece of -- of what is supposed to be a prank call, OK? You see, this is one of those morning shows where everyone is laughing but nobody knows why. Because -- and the reason is because they can't tell the difference between what's funny and what isn't.

TENNENT: Right.

QUINN: Kind of like here. So -- so anyway, so they place a phone call after Obama gets elected. They place a phone call to Kenya, and they actually end up getting the Kenyan ambassador on the phone. Toward the end of this, tell me if you hear what I hear.

[begin audio clip]

FELLHAUER: How's the national anthem of Kenya? Can we hear a little bit of it? Do you know the national anthem?

OGEGO: Yes, I know the national anthem. It is online. You could Google it.

CLARK : Online googling. Ha ha ha, that's great.

FELLHAUER: You won't share it with us? You won't tell us? Can't you tell us what it is?

OGEGO: It is a national prayer, actually.

CLARK: Oh, it's a prayer.

FELLHAUER: So you don't get to sing it?

[end audio clip]

QUINN: Holy cow, they allow prayer?

TENNENT: Wow.

QUINN: In government? In Kenya?

[begin audio clip]

OGEGO: It's -- it's a prayer. It's easily available online.

CLARK: Yeah, yeah. I understand. You're ducking singing it.

FELLHAUER: You don't want to sing it?

CLARK: And that's -- that's a good move. Yeah. You know what you're doing. Well, listen. We want to congratulate you on -- on Barack Obama, our new president, and you must be very proud.

OGEGO: We are.

CLARK: Yes.

OGEGO: We are. We are also proud of the U.S. for having made history as well.

FELLHAUER: Hey, one more quick question. Obama -- President-elect Obama's birthplace over in Kenya, is that gonna be a national spot to go visit, where he was born?

OGEGO: It's already an attraction.

FELLHAUER: Yeah? OK.

OGEGO: His -- his paternal grandmother is still alive, and --.

FELLHAUER: But his birthplace, they'll be -- they'll put up a marker there?

OGEGO: It would depend on the government. It's already well known.

CLARK: Do you know the -- Barack Obama -- his father's name? Is it Barack Hussein Obama Sr.? Is that true? Do you know?

[end audio clip]

QUINN: Anyway, now --

TENNENT: It's already an attraction. It's well known, he says. Except for here.

QUINN: It's well known his birthplace is already an attraction.

TENNENT: It's well known, except for here.

QUINN: Yeah. Well, I mean -- somebody needs to get in touch. With - 'cause I mean, I've -- you know, I think one of the reasons Media Matters harps on us when we're like, what, number 56 in the country among talk shows?

TENNENT: Yeah.

QUINN: I mean, you -- you pick up Media Matters, and you would think that it was Rush Limbaugh, [Mark] Levin, [Sean] Hannity, [Michael] Savage, and us. Now --

TENNENT: Well that's pretty impressive. I like that.

QUINN: Well, I'm beginning to think, 'cause whenever they criticize -- like the other day, they say, "Quinn trivializes gay marriage." You can't trivialize something that doesn't exist. OK? You can't -- trivalize -- trivialize an oxymoron. Anyway, so one of the things they always say, though, is, "continues to repeat the discredited rumor that Barack Obama was not born here."

Now, we don't do that. We have said -- we have spent so little time on this subject, and every time we've talked about it, we have said, we don't know. We're just waiting to see what --what happens. We're just reporting; we're not really deciding here. And yet, it seems to get in their craw about this. Now remember, Media Matters is run by John Podesta, who is the chief of the transition team for Barack Obama. Could it be that this -- that because we talk about this, that this is one of those things that's really -- that -- that they just want quashed?

TENNENT: To go away?

QUINN: Yeah, they really want this to go away, and this is one of those things that really needles them.

TENNENT: Well, there's a lot of lawsuits out there right now.

QUINN: There's about 17 of them.

TENNENT: And I don't understand why he can't just present it, and let us -- let us be done with it.

QUINN: Yeah, I mean, and I've said often, it's a distraction. It's a pain in the butt. I mean, frankly, I would rather not even deal with it. But, I mean, here's the -- here's the ambassador in Kenya saying that Barack Obama's birthplace in Kenya is already a -- it's already well known, and it's already an attraction. I think you and I should -- maybe we should go do our show from -- from Barack Obama's birthplace.

TENNENT: Well, remember, I wanted to go over there, with [Obama Nation author Jerome] Corsi. I'm glad I didn't.

QUINN: That's true, because they all ended up getting arrested and detained there before they left.

TENNENT: Yeah. I don't need that. My nerves are shot.

From the December 1 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

CALLER: As we speak, I'm a little concerned about something that hasn't been brought up on any of the media. I am a veteran. All my brothers served. My brother was in Vietnam. I was in during the Vietnam era. Our Constitution's pretty important. It's not just pretty important -- it's extremely important. And there's about four cases that are fixing to go before the Supreme Court. One of them goes today. And it's not Alan Keyes. There's a lot of them that are challenging Obama's --

DAVIS: Yeah.

CALLER: Eligibility, his birth certificate.

DAVIS: The pesky birth certificate issue. Yep.

CALLER: Well, you know, and he could've -- he could've answered that if it was so simple.

DAVIS: Yep.

CALLER: Put one forth. And the reason I know is because I adopted my son --

DAVIS: Sure.

CALLER: -- years ago while I was in the military.

DAVIS: I tell you what I'll do, because with about two and a half minutes, and it'll be involved. First of all, let's examine the ways in which you are totally right. One would think that a presentation of the actual birth certificate, which is in a vault in Honolulu somewhere --

CALLER: Yes.

DAVIS: If it could settle this, why not present it? That is a very, very good question.

CALLER: Well, and I talked to Andy Martin. I actually got him on the phone. And he just -- he was very short, just like I'll be here. And he said, Bobby, he said, I do not know what's in there --

DAVIS: And we never will.

CALLER: -- he says, but we don't know because they won't show us.

DAVIS: Right. And they don't have to because the laws essentially allow for -- for the yanking of a birth certificate by people if, you know, some direct family connection, have some very, very personal regard in this.

CALLER: Well, we have -- we should have standing, though, Mark, because we're citizens and we're requiring --

DAVIS: But that's not what the law says. But that's simply not what the law says. If we want to craft a law that says that if somebody gets to president, and there's a doubt whether his citizenship is -- is all kosher, then we should be -- I think that'd be a pretty good law. But we don't have it.

CALLER: You're probably right there. There's four of them -- Pennsylvania. New Jersey. There's Lee Donofrio. There's Chris Strunk in New York. There's Cort Wrotnowski in Connecticut. I mean, I'm looking at them right now on theobamafile.com.

DAVIS: Can -- can I ask you something? Because with -- with about a minute here, because listen, before the election, and I talked to Phil Berg myself -- I talked to the guy, and he's not a nut. And he has questions, not just about the birth certificate, but about whether Barack Obama's mom logged sufficient time of American residency to have any progeny of hers automatically be citizens. Because, obviously, you know, if he was born in Hawaii, then he's a citizen. Boom. But, you know, did she meet those criteria?

They're all thoroughly valid questions. Now that he has won, the best thing -- the only thing that could happen -- only thing -- if he is somehow retroactively found unfit to -- to have won, you get President Joe Biden. So like, you know, OK.

CALLER: Well, it isn't the matter of that. It's the matter of us circumventing the Constitution.

DAVIS: OK.

CALLER: If we break the law on one, where do we stop?

DAVIS: You know, and that's -- and that's very valid. Because, OK, we get President Joe Biden. Which may be better or may be worse, but --

CALLER: Yeah. I'm not -- it doesn't matter.

DAVIS: -- at least we will have stuck up for making somebody. Now the Alan Keyes thing in California -- and Alan is a very interesting man -- dog -- nothing if not dogged -- is essentially trying to get California's electors from casting their ballots for -- for Barack Obama until it comes out. Likelihood of any of this succeeding is extremely close to zero. It -- so that's what everybody's waiting for is to see if that changes. Be right back.

From the December 1 broadcast of Westwood One's The Lars Larson Show:

LARSON: And yes, as to the president-elect's birth certificate, I'm not satisfied yet, either. But I'm not sure we're ever gonna see the proof that he's constitutionally qualified to have run, so we may have to accept the outcome and just figure that we'll fix it on the next election.

From the November 28 broadcast of ABC Networks' The Mark Levin Show:

GRANT: But there is a nagging question, and I don't bring it up in order to enter into a -- an on-the-air search. That would be pointless, and I think it might be looked upon by some people as being below the belt. But what I'm referring to is what Dr. Alan Keyes is doing. Dr. Keyes, Alan Keyes -- I met him many years ago when he was the -- the head of Citizens Against Government Waste -- and I had the privilege of doing the broadcast from his office in the nation's capital. Alan Keyes, who had been appointed to an ambassadorship -- he had a under secretary of the state role in the Reagan administration. But Alan Keyes ran against Barack Obama, the state of Illinois, conducted this ridiculous campaign -- a ridiculous campaign -- and made Barack Obama a sure winner back in that election of 2004.

But what is Alan Keyes doing now? He is claiming that Barack Obama has not proven his citizenship, and that we are in danger of unmasking a person who does not pass constitutional muster to be the president of the United States. I know it seems unthinkable, but stop and think about all the unthinkable things that have happened in your lifetime and in mine. Things that we thought were unthinkable, but they happened.

I'm not saying it's true that he's not really a native-born American citizen. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that people like Alan Keyes do believe that because he hasn't been able to produce the valid birth certificate, he is -- he is hiding something. That's what he claims, and they filed another court case out in California. Why California? Because Alan Keyes was an elector out there and does have what they call "standing."

Will anything come of this? I don't think so. But it is disturbing that when you say, well, you could end the conjecture by just producing the proof. And the proof is not produced. And then, of course, there are many of us who say, well, it's too late. No, the Constitution's very clear. I just thought I'd -- I'd bring that up, not to spoil your weekend, but to make you think about all the possibilities there are out there.

And one of the most vexing questions is not the citizenship of the 44th president. To me, it's what is happening to Western culture. I'm thinking about the United Kingdom. I'm thinking about the London that I have visited many times and admired, and how it has changed. Going down to the lobby of the hotel -- and I love to peruse newspapers. I'm looking at the newspapers, and it's written in Arabic, every single one.

Therefore, I thought about that when I read the report of what was going on in Southwest India, and someone had made the report that citizens of the United Kingdom, British citizens, were involved. They were Muslims who had moved or were born in England, and living there they obviously did not adopt Western ways, or British grace, British courtesy, or British customs, but hated their host country and determined to cause it damage.

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