Cameras are everywhere these days, and when US Representative Cliff Stearns (pictured below) answered a question at a February 25 town hall meeting in Belleview, Florida, about Barack Obama, it naturally turned up on YouTube. Stearns (the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for the House Energy and Commerce Committee) said:
I’ve seen a copy of it on television. But you know the governor of Hawaii couldn’t get what he felt was an original of the birth certificate. He tried to do it and gave up on it.
So I think what Obama’s showing is a facsimile, but I think that debate probably is not enough, shall we say, just to impeach him. We’re going to have an election in five or six months so we can change the course of history by electing someone other than Obama. That’s what elections are all about.
The remark about Governor Abercrombie is apocryphal (but widely quoted by birthers online). All I can say is that I hope Stearns knows more about Energy and Commerce than he knows about birth certificates.
The video was shot by someone on behalf of the Florida Political Action Cooperative, a coalition of progressive organizations including the Florida AFL-CIO, Florida Wildlife Federation, the National Organization for Women, MoveOn.org and other usual suspects. They filmed Stearns as he spoke at town hall meetings in his district and published his remarks in a series of videos.
The town hall statement (made before the Arizona Cold Case Posse report on March 1) is in contrast to a 2009 statement quoted by the Ocala Florida Star-Banner newspaper in which he said:
Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, has verified that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born citizen and it is reported that a birth announcement was printed in the local newspaper the following day. Given the statement by Dr. Fukino and the reported birth announcement, I see no reason to question the President’s citizenship.
What had changed? Perhaps he was just playing to the crowd. A spokesperson for Congressman Stearns declined to comment on the issue.