It was inevitable I guess that the old bugaboo about John McCain’s birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 should resurface in the present campaign.
“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States…”
U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section I
OK, this controversy about the intent of the constitution’s framers in the phrase “natural born citizen” has been around for years but now the NY Times, no surprise, brings it up again in the contest of the McCain candidacy.
The controversy, so far never resolved, but alway hanging in the air as a possible challenge to a candidate or even an elected president, has emerged on the left with the NY Times article and on the right on various blogs opposed to the McCain nomination.
The Times article notes:
The phrase “natural born” was in early drafts of the Constitution. Scholars say notes of the Constitutional Convention give away little of the intent of the framers. Its origin may be traced to a letter from John Jay to George Washington, with Jay suggesting that to prevent foreigners from becoming commander in chief, the Constitution needed to“declare expressly” that only a natural-born citizen could be president.
Interestingly, another Arizona presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, underwent eligibility scrutiny because he was born in the Arizona Territory before it became a state in 1912. And, Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, also a presidential candidate, was born in Mexico of American parents.