February 28th, 2008
06:20 PM ET

Does it matter that McCain was born outside the U.S.?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/28/art.mccain.texas.ap.jpg caption=" Sen. John McCain, talks to media in Houston, Texas."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's something you may not know about John McCain: He was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936. His father was stationed there in the Navy.

The New York Times reports the circumstances surrounding McCain's birth raise questions about his ability to become president since our founding fathers specifically said only a "natural-born citizen" can hold the highest office in the land. The idea was to prevent foreigners from becoming president.

There's no precedent for McCain. No U.S. president has ever been born outside the 50 states. But, McCain's campaign says they're confident he meets the requirement, that they researched the question during his last run in 2000 and this time around as well. And they have asked former solicitor general Theodore Olson to prepare a legal opinion.

McCain supporter Senator Lindsey Graham says it would be incomprehensible if the son of a military officer born on a military installation couldn't run for president. He says it would mean telling every military family their child couldn't become president if born overseas.

There's been lots of internet buzz about the topic in recent months. Some insist McCain is ineligible. According to lawyers who have studied this stuff, there's confusion not just over the provision itself, but also over who would have the legal authority to challenge a candidate on such a point.

Here’s my question to you: John McCain was born outside the U.S. Should that affect his ability to be president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jim from New York writes:
I am not a supporter of McCain's candidacy and I am a Republican and I think this issue is ridiculous. It is a perfect example of what Barack Obama calls the "silly season" of politics. Let’s spend some air time and compare McCain's health care ideas to those of Clinton and Obama and give the silly season stuff a rest!

Clarence writes:
As a military member myself who is stationed overseas, I sure would hate to think that all of the children born to service members are not considered natural-born American citizens. I think this is just another ploy against McCain because they know he is a very strong candidate and they will throw anything they can at him.

Rick writes:
If John McCain was not born in the United States, he should not be eligible to be president of the United States, according to the plain reading of the U.S. Constitution. However, as the presidential candidacy of Congressman Ron Paul has made clear, our government has disregarded the Constitution in many areas.

Chris writes:
I am a Barack Obama supporter, but even I find this to be not a big issue. It is true that, strictly speaking, Senator McCain was not born within one of the 50 United States of America. But at this point in the election process, it would be ridiculous to restrict a front-runner candidate from either party on such a small technicality.

Richard from Texas writes:
I definitely think John McCain should be disqualified. Rules are rules.

Texas teacher writes:
You're kidding me right? He is a natural born-citizen, since his parents are/were U.S. citizens. It doesn't matter if he "popped out" in Panama, New York, or the moon!

Kelly from Fort Worth, Texas writes:
I couldn't care less where he was born, as long as he doesn't become our next president. The more I see of him, the more convinced I am that his "regime" would be more painful to live through than the current one.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. Jim Galvin

    No. It just means that he had more international experience 'on day one' than Bush did by the time he was elected. I mean appointed..

    February 28, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  2. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    If it matters at all to anyone it is an insult to all military personnel eveywhere.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  3. Brian From Fort Mill, S.C.

    I thought you had to be born in the U.S. in order to run for president. Oh well, in that case, I'll vote for Schwartzenegger!

    February 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  4. Adam, Pittsburgh

    It has always been a stupid rule. Our first presidents didn't meet that requirement.

    If the best person for the job lived the first part of his/her life somewhere else, so be it. While that's not the case with McCain (He's not the best person for the job, and he was raised here in the USA.), then certainly raising children would have told that candidate everything they need to know about what it's like to be a child in this country.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  5. ajks

    The last I heard all persons born on military bases that are not located in the U.S. are considered to be born in the U.S. They do not have to apply for citizenship and are "natural" born citizens.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Becky

    I really don't care if he was born on the moon , as long as he does not become president..... John MCcain is almost as old as his ideas and policies are..........and trust me Jack that is old.......

    Becky in Kentucky

    February 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  7. Chuck Jones

    JACK; The fact that J. McCain was born outside the U.S. should have NO effect on his running for U.S. president......he's running on the "repub" ticket! Do you remember when "Arnold-the-terminator" became governor of CA?...Wasn't it McCain that wanted to "amend" the Constitution to allow Arnold to later run as president? The "repub's" seem to feel that the "scripts" are all written by someone else......so all we need is an "ACTOR or ACTRESS" and all will be O.K.! After all.....any of the "Disney characters" (Goofy included) would have left us better off than what we have experienced for these
    past 7+ years!
    Keep up the good work, Jack..............
    Chuck Canfield, OH

    February 28, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  8. Jeri Idaho

    It doesn't matter, Republicans can't win!

    February 28, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  9. Bertha

    Central Square NY
    McCain was born to a military family on duty so there should be no doubt about his eligibility to be president.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  10. Karen

    It shouldn't matter, but if the law states "foriegn born" and hasn"t had any amendents attached, then I htink thats something that should be done before the election. Another flaw in our government.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  11. Donald, Butte Montana

    Another diversion over the real issues.

    He is the son of U.S. Citizens that happened to be stationed in the Pananma Canal Zone at the time of his birth.

    Enough said.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  12. Barbara Czipri

    This seems rediculous to me–talk about a technicality! I'm not a McCain supporter, but I see no reason why someone born overseas under these circumstances shouldn't be able to run for President.

    Palm Harbor FL

    February 28, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  13. Brenda

    Are you kidding me ????? He was born there because his father was stationed there – which I assume means he was there serving the country , not vacationing !!!!!!!!!

    I would say the fact Obama spend years of his childhood in Indonesia should pose more of a problem than where Mccain was born.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  14. W B in Las Vegas

    too bad Austria after WWII, as an Allied occupied country, isn't considered an "American Military installation". then we could have the American who has demonstrated he is MOST able to bring the two parties together to get things done become President.

    that, of course, would be Arnold Schwarzenegger and I say this as a Democrate.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  15. thagoodsport, Sun City Arizona

    NO! He is a real hero....he should get his fishing gear ready...his retirement is about to start.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  16. Jim, Hanover, Kansas

    It won't affect his ability to be president. George W. Bush is our President, and he decides these things. He's sure to say McCain can run.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  17. Tom, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    If he hasn't got a green card or some legal status to reside here, the Congress should pass legislation allowing him to stay. Has anyone checked up on George Bush?

    February 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  18. Terry, San Antonio

    Jack, this raises some hair raising questiions. What if his mother gave birth at a base and his father was a foreigner? What if neither parent was in the miliary but he was born at a base due to some other circumstance? I think Congress should define the rule, preferably before November. Thank you.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  19. Linda, Tehachapi, Calif.

    I'm not a McCain supporter, but it would never be because of this alleged issue.

    I find this whole argument ridiculous. I am dumbfounded and gobsmacked anyone would attempt to penalize this man and try to stop him from running for president because his mother and his father, both American citizens who were serving his country, happened to be sent on their country's orders to a U.S. military installation outside our boundaries. Has the pettiness of this race sunk so low? What is wrong with people?

    February 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  20. Judy in NYC

    If McCain was born on a US military installation while his father was in the service, this is a ridiculous question. Of course he's a "natural born" American and can run for President. And I'm a Democrat and won't vote for him - but I would never challenge his right to run.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  21. Burt

    Has the media sunk so low as to question the devotion of this man to his country? He has given more than anyone ...

    February 28, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  22. David - Las Colinas,Texas

    This is a valid issue that the the Supreme Court will have to interpret from our Constitution. If he was automatically a US citizen with his birth 71 years ago, I say "yes". If he went through any INS related procedure any obtaining US citizenship, I say "no". What is his position on immigration?

    February 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  23. Joe, Binghamton, NY


    February 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  24. ward


    to who ever made this article I got to words for them
    GROW UP!!!!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  25. Jim Bloom

    The Canal Zone?!! That's all?! I thoght he was born in Arizona before it was admitted to the Union.

    Chicago, IL

    February 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  26. Emy

    Is this a trick question? It's just too outrageous to be a real one!!
    Have we sunk so low as to question the nationality of the children born to our PATRIOTIC brave men and women stationed overseas? Remember, WE sent them there, WE asked them to be prepared to protect us and fight for OUR interests, they are there serving US!!! Have you lost sight of your patriotism too, JACK???
    Emy, in GA

    February 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  27. stan

    jack, absolutely, it should affect him being our president, he was born on foreign soil, the laws of our founding fathers is very clear! only a natural born citizen of the united states can become president!

    February 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  28. Michael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    It is so totally irrevelant and such an lame question. McCain has earned that right of passage by service to his country. Look what Bill Clinton did while he was in office. In America, anybody can be President. That's one risk you take.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  29. Keith from Irving, Texas

    We're splitting hairs, Jack. I'm not a McCain supporter, but his dad was an "officer" in the Navy, stationed abroad when McCain was born.

    Of course, he should be able to run for president. This is a ridulous question.

    The argument that he can't or shouldn't be able to run is what I would expect from someone like Rove.

    People don't have better things to do with their time than to research this kind of nonsense? Give them an M16, and ship their butt off to Afganistan.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  30. R S in ohio

    I dont think it will and his war record should speak for itshelf .But you can bet if Obama wins the nomination his people will bring it up.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  31. Dale Wise

    As far as common sense is concerned, military installations overseas are equivalent to U.S. soil. Penalizing McCain because his father served our country would be a horrible abuse of the spirit of the law. – Alexandria, VA

    February 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  32. Karen P

    uh, weren't both his parents US citizens? Case closed.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  33. Kevin- Webster, MA

    If it were such a big issue why wasn't a problem when he took out papers or better yet the last time he ran. It was US military circumstances that he was born there. It isn't like he snuck in from Mexico.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  34. Ben from D.C.

    This has the chance to go the supreme court it looks like. A win for the democrats whether he is or not. While McCain is distracted with this issue Obama can work on his campaign.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  35. Terry, Chandler AZ

    If being born in the Panama Canal zone is what made him the egotistical, bellicose, arrogant person he is today, then of course it matters. I would rather have a president with a more humanitarian, campassionate, open-minded personality, regardless of where he was born.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  36. Charles Liken, Lansing, MI

    There are a thousand reasons why McCain should not be president. There certainly is no need to reach for this one.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  37. Judi, Dallas, TX

    Absolutely. We can't start making exceptions now or we can just change the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (oh yeah, hasn't the current "Decider" already done that?) and what the heck, why hold elections, why doesn't W just inaugurate him right now.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  38. David Alexandria, VA

    This issue is complete nonsense. The constitution is really clear (Article II, Section 1). It is somewhat tragic that the once-respected New York Slimes can find nothing more important to write about than this. You'd think that their reputation would impel them to dig into the real issues at hand. Their formidable research resources could be put to better use - like figuring out what happens when we try to implement some of the fanciful programs the candidates are wafting around as "hope."

    If someone has an issue with McCain's legitimacy, get a ruling in court, not in the public blogspace.

    If we want to change Article II, I'd like to see an exception made for native-born Austrian's who've won body building championships, made movies and run California. Just a thought.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  39. Brian

    Yes if we allow one then it sets a president. Like Arnold

    February 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  40. David of Natchez MS

    There are a lot more disturbing facts about McCain than this. How about the 5 planes he crashed and all the special treatment he got being an Admirals son. If he hadn't been a POW his military record would mimic Bush.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  41. Brendan M.

    It was U.S. territory, albeit a colonial possession. McCain's citizenship from birth is not in question. The disqualifying factor in this is that McCain thinks we should have overseas possessions and colonies and scores of military bases all over the planet; in other words, a global empire. The most frightening thing is that he supports doing what it takes to maintain this empire, promising "more wars" and gleefully calling for us to "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran." "There Will Be Blood " is a great movie but a terrifying campaign promise.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  42. ishaq

    John McCain he is doing a great thing for his country ,U.S. i don't think his born out side U.S will effect his ability to be president.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  43. Jess from Davis,CA

    It honestly shouldn't matter McCain has proven to be patriotic, as well as honor in his service to this country. I do however find it amusing that this point is dimmed compared to the blow up about Obama wearing African attire that looks like Muslim garb.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  44. tco

    No, but if it can be used as an excuse to make Huckabee the Republican candidate, sure, why not. What really affects McCain is he's out of touch with the average American on Iraq and he seems proud that he doesn't understand the economy. He's really clueless just like the guy he hopes to replace.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  45. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Neither he nor the lawyers have to worry too much about this as he will lose to Obama. If somehow Hillary can come up with Michigan and Florida and buy a few more Superdelegates then there may be a problem. If that is the case, where do I send my contribution to help McCains lawyers win. I never have contributed to a politician, but this is one time I would.

    February 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  46. James in Cape Coral, FL

    The only thing that matters is that he was born American. No American should be unqualified just because his father decided to serve his country. My wife was born in Germany because her father was stationed there. That doesn't make her any less American than you or I. It's when we allow people not born American to run for President that we risk handing over the last bit of sovereignty to someone who might not have America's best intrest in mind. I do not support the new Bush at all but I agree he is American and should be entitled to all the privledges that entails.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  47. Richard Hill


    February 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  48. Sharon

    He should be allowed to be president, any other decision would be a slap in the face to our military families - you know the people who actually pay the price for our freedom and safety. He endured years of torture, and declined an opportunity to get released early based on father's military position. If a person or organization tries to fight over this in court, I think they will lose in the court of public opinion.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  49. Ed Reed

    I believe the Supreme Court will hold that children of U. S. citizens born on foreign U. S. Military bases or other U. S. installations will qualify as "natural born Citizens."

    If not, there is also the exception for those who were U. S. citizens when the Constibution was adopted. I believe he was a young Naval officer then.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    February 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  50. Tyrone (IRAQ)

    Jack, I am an active duty soldier stationed in Germany. My son was born here in Germany and his mother is also an active duty soldier. Having said that I believe as long as both Sen. McCain's parents are Natural US citizens, it is irrelevent where he was born. My son was born in Germnay but he is still a natural born US citizen simply because both his parents are and because we are serving our military overseas. Saying that he is not allowed to be president because of this would also be saying to thousands of military members that their children don't have the option of becoming president because of the same situation. I think it really is a non-issue and really doesn't matter because Obama is going to mop the floor with McCain come General election time anyway.

    Mississippi (Iraq)

    February 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  51. Terry North Carolina

    What difference does this make, this guy went through the Naval Academy, flew jets off aircraft carriers against the North Vietnamese, was shot down, spent years in a prison camp. What more can you ask from an individual ? Does it really matter if he was born in the Panama Canal Zone ? Is it his fathers fault that he was serving his country in the canal zone ?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  52. Dwayne K

    Yes, it matters! I think it is a GREAT thing! He was a man born with foreign relations experience! A person's experience during youth shapes them for a lifetime and McCain's experience in foreign relations will be vital in the future. McCain is a fresh perspective and this further demonstrates how McCain is different from the stereotypical "Republican." He is the new face, new attitude, new birth place that our country needs!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  53. Tom from Boston

    You have to love this one, Jack. I mean, this isn't the first time McCain has run for President, so why is this suddenly a big deal? It isn't. It is being propogated by those who dislike him and don't want to see him be successful. McCain is the most "American" candidate running in the sense that he actually nearly sacrificed his life for the love of our country – his country. Did Clinton or Obama do that? No. The fact that McCain was technically born to someone who was stationed in the Panama Canal zone (which, by the way, was under US control) is totally a red herring. McCain is an American hero. Let's leave this debate for when it really counts – when Arnold Schwarzenegger decides to run for President and it becomes a valid topic to settle!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  54. Terry "the hillbilly Hooser"

    mccain baby
    NO! If it would have him and Bush would have already changed the law.

    Terry "the hillbilly Hooser

    February 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  55. marie Mtl Can.

    It's not a problem if others can do the same. Hey 'TERMINATOR' get ready your turn is coming.
    Good luck.........

    February 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  56. Brenda, NC

    No, it should not affect his ability to be President.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  57. Karl in CA

    I'm not voting for John McCain, but I consider him a natural-born citizen. My great-grand mother was born on a ship on the way over from Europe and since the ship flew the US flag, she was a natural born citizen and didn't have to be "naturalized". Military bases and embassies are considered US soil, the last I knew, so he was born "in the USA". I learned this in elementary school American History.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  58. Josh

    In most of the cases it shouldn't. But in McCain's case yes. Lindsay Graham is a hypocrite because he is only going this route because of his old buddy John McCain might not able to run. My case is different since I was born in Augsburg, Germany on U.S Miltary soil. Since I had dual citizenship with both countries until I was 18. Both my parents were soldiers in the United States Miltary. But I consider myself as an proud German American. The reason I am arguing against McCain being able to run is that do we really want another repeat of George W. Bush and his failed policies which McCain will continue.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  59. Jed from Chico, CA

    It absolutely does not affect his ability to be president any more than it affects Obama's ability to lead because he spent much of his youth outside the U.S. My question is: whatever happended to that amendment that allowed citizens born outside the U.S. to become president? While I can empathize with the plight from 200 years ago about foreigners running our country, there is nothing wrong with otherwise qualified American citizens like California's Republican gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or Michigan's Democratic gov. Jennifer Granholm (born in Canada) from at least running for president or serving as VP.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  60. Karen

    The fact that McCain was born on a military installation shouldn't matter. For god's sakes, I thought military installation were concidered U.S. territory anyway! If McCain couldn't run for president, wouldn't that affect every qualified candidate to become the Commander and Chief of the U.S. military?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  61. Tom Spare

    One more nitpicking subject when we need to be focused on all our "larger" problems.

    Let's get over this and hope that Arnold Swatzeneeger can somehow use it as a wedge to run in 2012.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  62. Tony H

    I don't think it matters because a military unit is US territory and besides his parents were American-born citizens.
    Look at Gitmo. Can you say it is Cuban territory? Tell the Castro maffia to get in and you'll see what happen to them.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  63. Cher, North Port, FL

    Enough with the nitpicking. Is this not clear enough?:

    U.S. Code, Title 8, 1403 (a): "Any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this chapter, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States."

    February 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  64. Danielle, OH

    No, he was born on an American military base which is an extension of this country. He has always considered himself American and both McCain and his father have bravely served this country. And, I am a liberal democrat that does not like McCain but I feel that he above all the other candidates as a former member of the American military should be allowed to run for President.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  65. Neelesh

    The first six presidents weren't born in the United States, they were born in the 13 colonies, which was actually a part of Britain.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  66. Curtis


    I'm a democrat and would love nothing more than for this to be an issue for McCain, but give me a break. Even I, have enough sense to know that this man was born in Panama becuase his father was doing our country a favor, I mean really? This man has made far greater sacrafices for this country than most candidates before him, I say, let him run!

    Atlanta, GA

    February 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  67. John From New York

    WOW ! What a Bombshell? I Wonder what the Governator from California
    will do now since everyone told him before he Couldn't even be a vice-president. I smell a Sequel Jack Terminator 4 The McCain factor.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  68. Belle Stilwill

    I actually think that ANY US Military Base is considered US Soil.

    However, if he were born in a Hospital in Panama vs. on base...then that might become a different story.

    Must be a slow news day......

    February 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  69. Zach from Lexington, KY

    I don't think that McCain's place of birth really matters when he does not have the conservative support to even get into the white house. He is going to have a heck of a time trying to win the conservative vote and ebb the bandwagon support that Obama is consistently gaining.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  70. clarity

    He's paving the way for Arnie!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  71. JMH

    Actually, yes it should affect him. I liked John McCain in the 2000 race, so this is unbiased...it's not fair to have a provision to not allow anyone born outside the United States to run for president, be enforced on others and exempt Sen. McCain just because he is a war hero. There are many war heros that were not born here and many more in public service that were not born here, that cannot run for president. So why should he be able to? Schwarzenegger would like to run...but he can't...and he's given a lot to public service....just one famous example of many....

    February 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  72. Pati G

    The question to ask now is whether or not he was ever sworn in as a US Citizen or not? If he wasn't then that means we as a nation believe he is a US citizen and isn't required as a foreign national to do so; on the other hand if at some point in his life he was asked to be sworn in then he is not eligible to be president of our nation.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  73. Kalyan

    I don't think it matters. But what matters to me is that I don't think he is fit to be the President. He has too much legislative experience and he is too close to the lobbyists. Before we simply believe whatever he says just because he calls himself "Straight Talk" express, I think we should question his record. Just because he was a war veteran that doesn't make him honest. I am sure we know a lot of war veterans who have come back to commit many crimes (drug traffficing etc).

    February 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  74. Jenny

    I think the founding fathers had a broad meaning for “natural-born citizen”, After all it's Washington, Adams, Jefferson, were born in colonies not states. I would be more concerned about McCain and his health, then where he was born.

    Obama 08!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  75. Emmanuel

    Yes it does matter.
    The constitution of the United States of America states that, "for one to qualify to be a the President of this great nation, he or she, must be a natural born US citizen. Read the following:

    Age and Citizenship requirements – US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

    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.

    Are we going to misinterprete the constitution to favor McCain? I guess the answer is NO!!.

    If McCain qualifies, the current governor of California is also qualified.

    This my 2 cents.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  76. Jason Smith

    Children are born every single day to service men and women abroad. To even suggest that it would matter where he was born is a new all time "LOW". I am voting for Obama this time around. That does not remotely allude to me thinking that his(McCain's)birth location matters at all in the equation. He is a true American Hero as are all of OUR servicemen and women. We owe them everything for the sacrifices they make daily. McCain is as American as any other American and ought to be afforded the same high level of respect that he showed toward Obama in defending him against that crank radio host the other day. McCain is trying to be a good politician and we ought to reciprocate as citizens by saying this question is MOOT!

    Rochester Hills, MI
    New Democrat

    February 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  77. Richard, Toronto

    No it shouldn't – that “natural-born citizen” idea is out of date. Schwarzenegger 2012!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  78. kiarash

    Good Morning Mr. Cafferty
    I do believe that it does matter even if he has been born in US base. The consitution of this nation has a clear voice. It doesn't not matter if you are citizen or not, as long as you are not actuall born citizen, you should not be a president of this nation. The founding father had it right, because of what they believe, that a man can't ever relate toa nation based only on their citizenship, only by birth in that nation. Unfortunitly, Mr. McCain can not and should not be nominated for president because of his health and birth place background. If anyone, who was born in US bases could become president, then many US soldior abroad merry and have kids in militery bases, who their mom or dad are not even US citizens, are those kids should be allowed to become a USA resident. I think not.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  79. Jorge from Monterey, California

    Welcome to the race Mr. Huckabee!!!! McCain Can't run!!! That Simple!!!!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  80. Angel

    He shouldn't be president

    February 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  81. John B

    I believe the law should be changed. If you are born here and require to be at the age of 35 years old to run for president, than I think that anyone who was not born in this country should be able to run for president provided that that person has been a citizen for at least 35 years. What do you think?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  82. Jerry

    NO-–Only if he keeps us in Iraq for a hundred years and

    picks Joe Lieberman for Vice President then I would have to

    think about it.

    Roselle, Illinois

    February 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  83. Randy Porter Mo.

    That`s a stupid question. If you are trying to down John McCain again, I think you have failed again. His father was serving our country and had his family with him. This only makes McCain look that much more of a true American. If that is the angle you want to take, then maybe we should do some deep investigative reporting on what Obama was learning as a child living in Indoneasia. The fundamentals of the nation of Islam perhaps.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  84. Brenda

    I am casting my vote for Barack Obama, but I do not feel that McCain's birthplace is an issue. He was born on a military base, while his father was serving our country.

    I think this is just as petty as bringing up Barack Obama's middle name or the fact that his father was born in Kenya.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  85. Alex

    he's already a senator. isn't it a little to late in the game to be worrying about that? he's a military brat so it is not that uncommon to be born in another country.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  86. Don Trabold

    Are you serious? Of all the things that should stop McCain from being President , his place of birth is the least important.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  87. Bob

    So now there's a question if child born to two US citizens, on a US military base can be President? I can predict that in the future, these same people wouldn't question a US citizen born within the 50 states/territories, who's parents came here illegally. The garbage merchants are trolling, and the NY Times again is going after who, McCain.

    Bedfrord, VA

    February 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  88. Roger

    NO this IS about a stupid question this man is a real hero whose parents were serving our country in the military when he was born,what have you ever done to qualify to defame this man,this comes from a full bloded democrat,,

    February 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  89. Jonathan


    I'm 24 and a staunch Democrat. I will not support McCain, but I respect him greatly. This is quite frankly completely rediculous. Someone born on US owned foreign soil is just as natural born as someone born in Des Moines, Iowa. Given his father's and his own tremendous service to this country how could anyone question his worth as a citizen or eligibility as President? Shameful.

    Boca Raton, FL

    February 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  90. Jack Daley

    Of course not. I'm not a McCain fan, but requiring a president to be born in the United States is an outdated concept. If a person has enough support to be elected in our system, why should they be prevented the presidency because they happened to be born somewhere else?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  91. Kansasboy

    Being born outside of the U.S. doesn't matter because he was born to United States citizens. Being born to citizens does make him qualified to run for president. Or should at least. Plus, he served this country in Vietnam and paid a high price as a P.O.W. So yes, Jack , he does qualify,and no, it doesn't matter where he was born. However, I'm still a Kansas Democrat – and I will vote as one.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  92. Georges

    It doesn't matter if McCain was born outside the U.S.. What's matter is His age and health condition. Even if we were to succeed in Iraq, McCain will not be around to witness it. Also, the country would be even worst than it is now with McCain as president. As an ex-soldier recently serving in Iraq, I have no respect for people like McCain who served in the military. As a matter of fact, I have no respect for our disgraceful president.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  93. Davis - Minneapolis

    I do think that since his parents were on active service when he was born he should be considered a "natural born citizen". However, this does raise the question of children born during temporary travel oversees, temporary assignments oversees, and other sich circumstances. I was born in Iran while my father (an american citizen born in NYC) was on a journalistic assignment. He always intended to come back to the US and we all eventually did and have stayed here since. However, I have always been under the assumption that I could not run since I was not born here. Perhaps now I can...

    February 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  94. Denise

    No. I am not a supporter of John McCain's, but he served this country during Vietnam, and therefore has the right to run for President -no matter where he was born.

    Louisville ,KY
    Obama '08

    February 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  95. Traci A. Patton

    Mr. Cafferty,

    Yes it matters! Since everyone (the right) is so concern about Barack Obama's background, I believe it is fair game for John McCain! Of course, the right would have a huge problem with this statement! Why not allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for President!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  96. Vishal

    Doesn't matter.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  97. Emmanuel

    Correction to my earlier submission:

    Age and Citizenship requirements – US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

    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.

    Are we going to misinterpret the constitution to favor McCain? I guess the answer is NO!!. Huckabee should be getting ready to be the Republican should McCain be disqualified based on place of birth.

    If McCain qualifies, then the current governor of California is also qualified.

    This my 2 cents.

    From Norfolk, Virginia

    February 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  98. tricia

    leave it to a bunch of lawyers to find a loophole in the constitution. they just keep hacking away till there's nothing left of what the founding fathers had in mind for this country. natural born is what it is. why didn't anyone bring this up before? tricia, illinois

    February 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  99. Dan T


    I am disappointed this question has come to attention at all. I think it would be a slap in the face to thousands of men and women serving the United States across the world to know that their sons and daughters may not have the same opportunity as kids in the country. Many laws exist to restrict rights, but none should strip you of a right altogether.

    Some will argue law is law and rule is rule. I will argue that this should have been called to attention more seriously in 2000 when he ran. If he has gotten this far, it should not matter in the least. Not to mention the existing laws in California that allowed Arnold Schwarzeneggar to become governor, I think this is just another jab in the political realm to put down John McCain. I would be sorely disappointed if this affected any voter in the general elections in November.

    Please base your choice for President on the issues, personal character, even partisan bias. I would advise NOT basing a choice on a technicality that has gone unchallenged and exists only for media controversial purposes.

    Dan T
    Madison, WI

    February 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  100. Kevin

    Even though I am a strong Democrat, Lindsey Graham is right. It is indeed incomprehensible that the son of a military officer born on a military base could not run for president. It seems similar to the situation of all presidents born before the nation existed. The strict construction of the provision precludes a McCain presidency, but it's about the intent of the provision, not the construction. Remember the old punchard ballot system, where the intent of the voter determined any disputed vote. Since this is an electoral issue, I think using the intent would be consistent. It won't matter anyway, because McCain is going to win. So why contest this?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  101. Ezequiel


    I dont want to sound disrespectful to Senator Graham BUT I thought it was clear to me during the year I took US Government in High SChool, to be president of the United STATES you MUST be a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN, INS categorizes this as someone born inside the country! So senator Graham your notion that it would send a wrong message is just talk, what is it that Republicans like to say, its what our founding fathers wanted! McCain OUT!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  102. Ruby Coria, CA.

    Jack, WOW McCain is out! Jack, it does matter because if your are born in the red sea then that's where you where born. And yes all them over sea's baby's are just that 'over sea's baby's' and no they too can not be president. I was born with 1/2 of the car in the U.S.and the back 1/2 of the car in Mex. (my parents U.S.citizens.) what am I? if born in the back seat? He's out! sorry! or I'm running in 4 years.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  103. Richard from Littleton, MA

    No, it doesn't affect his abilities at all. Even though I'm not a McCain supporter, I think all of America can see how this Vietnam War hero is as patriotic as it gets – where he was born does not reflect anything. Focus on the policies, not the small legalities.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  104. Michael


    I was born in Canada and my father was a U.S. citizen. I have researched this subject in depth.

    Under U.S. law, children born abroad to parents, who are themselves U.S. citizens, have always been considered natural born citizens" under the doctine of Jus sanguinis" or right of blood, if one of the parents resided in the U.S. for a period of time prior to the birth. If that weren't enough, there are additional considerations for children whose parent is serving in the military at the time of the birth, as is the case with John McCain.

    There is no question that under either scenario, McCain is considered a natural born citizen and entitled to all the rights of one, including the right to stand for election as President.

    People can take issue with McCain's positions on various matters, but this isn't one of them.

    Montreal, QC

    February 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  105. Graham Taylor

    You are kidding right?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  106. Terry

    Even though I am a Barack Obama supporter, I don't think that we can rule out McCain to run just because he was born outside of the country. His parents were in the Military and had no choice on where he might have been born. We can't hold that against him... that is too much of a technicality. However, if another country has records of him being a citizen at birth then he very well could be ruled out.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  107. Joan

    Dear Jack,

    This is an easy answer!

    John McCain is a republican. Republicans like to bypass the constitution, therefore the supreme court will make sure John McCain is eligible.

    Raleigh, NC

    February 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  108. Chris Castanon

    If John McCain was born on a military base outside the U.S. I don't see it as a problem, if he was born on a hospital outside the base, then there is a definitely something wrong. Keep in mind, that Military Bases and Embassies abroad are considered american territory.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  109. Doug Jones


    No, it doesn't matter. It's stupid it even came up. There are legal precedents already for this. Basically, if you're the child of American parents, born on land subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, you're a natural born citizen of this country.

    I have to wonder why it's even coming up now? The man ran for President 8 years ago. No one mentioned it then. This seems like a rather sleazy attack on the man, and I'm not even going to vote for him!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  110. louis zack

    How about being born out of the limits of the usa at sea,under aforien flag.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  111. Tom Bott

    – Washington State
    I believe that he would be ok to hold the office provided what you say is true, his mother was also a US citizen, and his parents were legally married.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  112. Mike G., Chicago

    The law is, and always has been, that anyone born outside the U.S. cannot be president.

    That's the argument they use for the federal and states' versions of DOMA. Why is it that the republicans only want to change the law when it's convenient for them?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  113. suzanne

    no it does not matter lets say roosevelt was born in the panam canal zone and he had just gotten the democratic nomination and we did not let him run we might have lost world war 2 so i say no it does not matter where john mccain was born he is a hero and he should be president

    February 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  114. Richard Womack

    I recall (in 1964)that Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona when it was a territory–if memory serves me it became a state in 1914. There was some similar ruckus that was raised at the time. But it was of little interest as at 18 I had not been given the right to vote as of yet...just go to Viet Nam.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  115. Cody Adkins

    I think that a military base is treated the same as an embassy. Essentially both are "rented" American soil.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  116. RRE

    NO. Unless he starts wearing Panama hats.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  117. papaharpman

    The law should not apply to Americans born abroad. If I caught McCain by fishing in Lake Lawtonka, I would throw him back. He's not a keeper.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  118. Mary Doan

    It doesn't matter to me. My vote goes to Hillary, and I will write in her name if it isn't on the ballot. What I do wonder, however, is how these Conservative "strict" Constitution constructionists will define "natural born"?
    Mary D., Palm Coast, Florida

    February 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  119. Nick (Columbus, Ohio

    I don't think anyone can doubt that a John McCain is an American and elgible for candidacy. The self sacrifices he gave up serving our country more than proves this. I don't always agree with him, but he should be allowed to run.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |

    plain and simple-NO. apparently he believes that the rules don't apply to him, that his moral fiber is "good enough". there are consequences for everyone in america if they don't follow the rules no matter who you are. of course the rich and powerful get away with even murder. we understand his point of view in that it was a military base. but our fore fathers were very clear on the matter. "born on american soil." not, as long as your parents were. jack, will someone please tell him that he can't just have it his way all the time.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  121. Terry / Austin, Tx

    What do people do not understand? Natural Born means within the boundries. Gov. Huckabee was praying for a miricle, maybe this is it.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  122. Martin Law


    Toronto, Canada

    February 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  123. deb in az

    not at all his parents were in the military what a stupid question

    February 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  124. Diane, New Hampshire

    As far as I'm concerned, he's more than American enough. The man has no potential to be biased toward Panama's interests. In my eyes, it would be ludicrous to claim that McCain should be somehow disqualified.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  125. karl

    serving the the country is always better than where you where born. am not voting for mccain though but if you have the experience and the the will and the power to rule a country there is no dought that he can do the job.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  126. Donald Anthony

    John McCain should not be held to account for where good old Uncle Sam placed his father some hundred...I mean 73...years ago.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  127. Kate -- Peoria, IL

    Oh my goodness. I am a fierce Obama supporter but I will protest this insanity should it come to pass. Such a finding would be a slap in the face to all military personnel and their families. Absurd and unacceptable.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  128. Christine Knight

    I personally do not believe John McCain is the right choice as president. However, the idea that a child born to the men and women who serve this country with honor and distinction could not be elected to the highest seat of public service is unfathomable.

    Columbus, OH

    February 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  129. TOBEE

    Realistically, McCain should be given the opportunity,though i see it sleeping away every moment he campaigns ,bcos it reveals how frail this man is.Jack ! McCain is a full -fleshed american but i could not be boarded by that anyway,bcos he will lose against any dem candidate rediculosely. clevland,ohio.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  130. Kris Koliwad


    No. It should not. His parents were sent to Panama Canal Zone by the US Government and hence he is as eligible as any native born citizen. This is a history making election no matter who wins. Thanks.

    Kris, CA

    February 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  131. Steve E.

    Of course he is eligible. Born on a naval base, that makes you a U.S. citizen. I should know. John McCain meets the criteria, and that's where his qualifications end. He won't get past Obama's voters.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  132. the voice of truth

    The fact that McCain was born in Panama has nothing to do with the fact that he should not be president.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  133. Bruce St Paul MN

    I always thought that military bases, embassies, and consulates were considered to be U.S. property. It should be no more controversial than being born in the District of Coumbia.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  134. Al

    It would be unfair to say that John Sidney McCain is not eligible to become President. But what about his middle name? Doesn't that make him an Australian sympathizer or something? Would he pass a law that made us all start saying G'Day?

    Al, Lawrence KS

    February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  135. Manny Wittmann

    This is outrageous:

    Beide all: was the canal zone not under US sovereignty ??

    Waht else the NYT and the DNC will try ??

    TOM (Manny)

    February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  136. Candido Brentwood, NY

    I think it matters. I myself have a child that was born in El Salvador.
    I know she could never run for President.
    Without disrespect to our man and women in uniform, a person not born in the United States should not be allowed to run for President.
    This is the way our founding fathers saw it and the law should not be changed.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  137. Tim Hayes

    The Constitution states that an individual must be a "natural born citizen." It does not say the person must be born within the geographical limits of the United States. The child of two U.S. citizens are citizens by birth, i.e., "natural born citizens", regardless of where they are born. Senator McCain qualifies. The whole question is dumb.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  138. Rich McKinney,Texas

    My father was in the United Staes Military and I was born in the Phillipines at Clark A.F.B. which was a military airbase and constitutes being American soil as it is occupied by American troops
    The Constitution supports the ideal and properly protects who it can, while properly respecting the sovereignty of other nations. This implies that where the US government has autonomy to act, even on foreign soil, it does so as if it were on American soil.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  139. Jeff

    You allow handguns in every pocket and assault weapons in your cars and accept carnage in your schools and shopping malls as "rights" granted from your founders over 200 years ago in another world.

    You have 1 out of every 100 adults behind bars as the "get tough" way of solving crime and this is acceptable?

    And you ask [Should you live by the letter of your law made so long ago] thus disqualifying an honorable man who put his life on the line for his country whose father did the same?

    Well I think, based on the logic of your current society, of course you should disqualify him.

    Please. Speaking as your friend, brother, neighbour, will you please grow up and show maturity and leadership to match your wonderous abilities.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  140. Barbara in Ohio

    Now I am not for a clone of Bush being president– but this question is , a put down too all our brave men & women– who happen to have a child born out of the USA , while serving their country .
    John McCain is not one I would ever want for president – but he has the right to run !

    February 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  141. sesay

    sesay from holland i dont think its necessary the guy is an american hero.Its rather unfortunate that he chooses to follow Bushes policy, i think thats what americans should be thinking about. So as obama s middle name it does nt matter all what matters is what is his plans for the future of the country and the world.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  142. Ron

    I had never heard of this before. If he wasn't born in America, then he shouldn't be running for President. It will only open the door to others who were not born in this country but want to run for President (can anyone say Schwarzenegger)?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  143. Chipster in Pennsylvania

    Of course, it matters where McCain was born if he wants to run for the presidency. However, he was born on a U.S. military base and that is American territory regardless of where it is located.

    What matters most about John McCain is his continued support for the failed policies and incompetent management by the Bush Administration. It also matters that someone who fought for our liberty could support the violation of our Constitutional liberties, allowing terrorists and the Bush White House to use fear to undermine our nation.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  144. Andy in Indianapolis


    There's a better reason why McCain should not be President. His inability to understand that we should redeploy our troops from Iraq and begin a policy of containment there. That would allow our military to focus on areas such as the Afghan-Pakistan border and others where our national security is truly threatened. McCain is attempting to scare and deceive the American public just like Bush did. He wants the public to think Democrats advocate a policy of cut and run. That's incorrect. Democrats want to fight terrorism on a global scale without being bogged down in a sectarian civil war. A vote for McCain is really a vote against fighting terror on a global scale.

    Indianapolis, IN

    February 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  145. Jeremy Westenn

    To say that this new, to most people, enlightening news is not relevant is to unfairly dismiss it. I would prod the supreme court to prepare a very quick opinion on the matter and leave it at that.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  146. True American

    Atlanta, GA
    No I don't belive it would but I'm also a Democrat....

    February 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  147. Edgar

    From DC

    I'm Democrat but it makes no sense that someone born on a military base doesn't count as being a natural born citizen. They should amend the legislation to clarify that those born on military bases and embassies count as natural born citizens.

    Miss your regional work when you were in NYC.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  148. Kristen

    I'm not even Republican, and I think it's ridiculous. Of course he should be allowed.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  149. Beulah

    Yes it matters; he's just a stickler for details then he should be held accountable for not be a "natural born citizen" of the US.

    Rock Hill, South Carolina

    February 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  150. Anne from MA

    I agree with Lindsey Graham. It would be grossly unfair to military families station outside the US.

    Jack – Are you're slacking? ....Really I expected something a little more controversial umm I mean substantial of course.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  151. Raj

    Who cares where he is born as long as he doesn't want to include iraq as 51st state.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  152. Emily Coletta from Elmira, New York

    There's two types of "automatic" US citizens–natural born citizens who are born on US soil and children born to parents of US citizens who are born overseas who "naturalized" when they return.

    Does automatic citizen ship make someone a natural born citizen, or are only children born on US soil qualify as natural born citizens ? I really don't know. Maybe the Supreme Court should clarify it.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  153. Eric

    I agree that if McCain can not be president because his father served in the military and he was born outside of the US, the interpretation of the law is being taken too far. Let's look at the intent of the law, and use some common sense!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  154. Frank

    Washington was born in the U.S.A. either

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  155. Heather

    I think that absolutely yes, the fact that John McCain was born outside the US should affect his ability to be president. The law is that only a natural-born citizen can become President, and why should Mr. McCain be exempt from that law? No one should be above the law.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  156. Raul

    I don't think it should affect his eligibility. He was born in a military installation outside of US. I have a nephew and niece who were born at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. They are natural born citizens.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  157. Jeremy

    Born on a US military base... and we're not considering that part of America? I don't want McCain to win, but this is just stupid.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  158. Greg

    Get real! I am an Obama guy, and I can't believe anyone would even consider not allowing McCain, or any other U.S. Citizen born while their family is serving the country overseas, not to be President. As a country we have much greater things to work together on then this.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  159. JAG

    I think his inability to admit George Bush lied to us and lead us into an irresponsible war should prevent him from being President.

    Heck, what do I know – I don't wear a lapel pin, or have a patriotic bumper sticker...I just put on my uniform and report to duty every day. I suggest some of you who "support" McCain and Bush's war do the same if you REALLY want to support the troops.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  160. Mike

    If McCain isn't qualified for the office of president due to the fact that he was born outisde of the US, then should Obama be disqualified because he lived for so many years outside of this country?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  161. Jim

    This is a man who has served his country honorably for years. To penalize the children of U.S. military personnel in this way would be terrible; to assert that it any way makes John McCain ineligible or unfit to serve as our President is offensive. To me it's a nonissue that is being used to generate readership and web hits.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  162. Rob

    Well, personally, I do not think that that should be a matter, since he was born to American citizens. But besides that, a presidential candidate is qualified based on his merits and understanding of American law, not where he or she was born. But, unfortunately, expect many left-wingers to use this "zinger".

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  163. Paul Pritchett

    No Jack, children born abroad of military parents are considered US citizens at birth. Two of my children were born in Germany while I was stationed there. They each received an American Birth Certificate from the military as well as a German one from the local government indicating they are of American parentage.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  164. Marley

    I'm sure he's a citizen automatically through his parents....

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  165. Andrew

    I was born in the UK as my father was in the US airforce. I had never considered myself to hold the office of presidency due to my non-U.S. birth (dashing my political dreams). If John McCain was not born in the United States he is not eligible to President of the United States- the constitution is clear.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  166. Jason

    Although not my canidate I believe John McCain has every right to run for President since he was born on "American" soil. Our fore fathers wrote "only natural born citizens are eligible" to eliminate people like the "Governator" from running for President which he has said he wants to do.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  167. Joe

    John McCain has every right to run for President. I, too, am the son of a military officer born on a military base and have encountered multiple difficulties throughout my life because of the birthplace listed on my birth certificate (issues with obtaining a passport, marriage license, etc.). The spirit of the requirement as stated by the founding fathers, in this case, most certainly does not apply.

    By the way, I'm a Democrat and I'm voting for Barack Obama.

    Pittsburgh, PA

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  168. Ravi Singh

    The Canal Zone was U.S. territory at the time. So, John McCain was born within the territory of the USA- not outside. End of argument.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  169. Bob, Papillion NE

    I'm not a lawyer but I think his birth on a military installation fits within the "natural-born citizen" requirement. I have a brother and sister in this same circumstance. It would be a shame to take up time arguing about this nit rather than about serious issues.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  170. kb from iowa

    uh-oh. Hide all the articles from Mitt Romney. No one wants him to un-suspend his campaign.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  171. Peter

    I certainly believe it matters. I am a big fan of the constitution and we absolutely need to abide by it. There is a reason why this country has been so successful and it is because the founding fathers saw very far into the future when creating this historic document. It is imperative that the President of the United States be born inside the United States.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  172. Robert Toro

    His father was in the navy stationed in Panama, that means nothing, he is of legal right.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  173. Andrew

    McCain was born on an overseas U.S. Military station which is (hopefully) considered sovereign US soil (ala overseas US Embassy), so yes, he can be president. If, by chance, he was born outside the military station, say in a nearby Panamanian hospital, then I think the matter would be a little bit more complicated.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  174. Colin H.

    Senator McCain is indeed eligible, because he has been a citizen of the United States from birth. The term "natural-born" does not mean that the President must be born in the United States, only that he cannot be a naturalized citizen.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  175. Jan Holt

    I'm an ARDENT Obama supporter and even I wouldn't presume to say that someone born to a U.S. armed forces family stationed overseas can not be considered "natural born" for the purposes of running for president. This challenge based on technicality is absurd and a waste of time to boot.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  176. Nancy

    Who cares...the main points are:

    Is he a patriot? No one, R or D doubts that.

    Is he qualified? Probably as qualified as anyone else who ran this year on either side.

    Is he too old? Most likely.

    Is he is poor health? Most likely, BUT we have had past presidents in poor health and they did just fine in the job, so.......

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  177. Allan

    No. I am not going to vote for McCain due to issues. But this issue about his birth is hogwash. He should certainly be eligible to run for President. He has proven his loyalty and service to America.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  178. Eileen Kusler

    Yes, John McCain should be considered a natural born citizen if both his parents were citizens at the time of his birth. Also, the fact that his father was in the military definitely carries influence that John McCain was born as a citizen of the USA.

    No more discussion should be needed.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  179. Edward Serviss

    US Military installations are considered souveriegn US soil so when a child is considered born abroad he or she is a US citizen born abroad. How much more patriotic can you be than to be born of a US servicemember in another country. Shame on you for questioning John McCain citizenship

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  180. Bruce Wayne

    I'm not planning to vote for McCain personally but he should definitely be allowed to run for the office of the President of the United States! Born in an American Military base qualifies as being born on American soil anyway.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  181. Ruth Caron

    If the law says they must be born in the US we have to follow the law. Who gets the special privilege of changing the law??Not you or McCain. If he can run so can Arnold.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  182. rob flores

    yes, he is elgible for the presidency. nobody has questioned him about not being a "u.s. citizen" while he was pow in vietnam.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  183. Don, from Winston-Salem, NC

    No, I do not think it matters that John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. I also think Ahhnold would make a great VP. Perhaps there is some way we could allow exceptional Americans born outside of the country to run for the highest office. this would have to be very selective and have stringent controls.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  184. LCDR Rocky Cole

    This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of. U.S. Military personnel are stationed all over the world as part of their duties – diplomatic personnel, as well. They are there as part of the country and U.S. Bases (I have been stationed in Panama myself) have always been considered as part of the U.S.

    Couldn't you find a more salient question?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  185. Stephanie Holcomb

    It has to matter! We want only US born citizen's to be the leader of the US not others. If we open the door for one...the rest will follow.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  186. Nick in Pittsburgh

    Jack, while I'm no supporter of John McCain, the thought of a citizen being ineligible to become president because he or she is the child of a serviceman or servicewoman stationed overseas is laughable, at best, offensive and prejudicial, at worst. The Internet conspiracy theorists need to find something else to focus their energy on. What happened to trying to destroy Scientology or uncovering Britney's affair with space aliens???

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  187. Rand Stewart

    I can't believe you're even asking this question.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |

    Dems are trying to get something on this guy to get him out of the race so they can cake walk all over Jokeabee I mean Huckabee.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  189. Brian

    Any US military instillation, or US Embassy is seen in the eyes of US laws as the United states of America!!!!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  190. Al Hills

    You darn right, he is not a citizen of the United States. There are no ifs ands or buts. The Constitution is quite clear and does not need a milked down interpretation. When is this country going to face reality and quit trying to beat the system.

    Al Hills
    Quantico VA

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  191. Richard - Virginia

    No, it should not matter if John McCain was born overseas on a US military installation. While I am a Democrat and do not necessarily consider McCain a candidate that I would support or for who I would vote, I do support his position that he meets the citizenship requirement to be President. Of all people, our military personnel who are honorably serving our country – and who have children not born in the homeland – should be considered a natural born citizen just the same as any other American born stateside. MY HATS OFF TO ALL AMERICANS SERVING OUT GREAT NATION ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  192. Tim Stride

    It is obscene to suggest that someone who is born while parents are serving our country in the most patriotic and dangerous way possible should not be considered US-born. We aren't talking about someone who was born in an airplane over international waters, we are talking about the son of a veteran. If anything it should speak to his lineage and past rather than discredit it. This is almost as unnecessary as suggesting Hussein has anything to do with Barack because of the middle name factor.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  193. Alan

    How stupid. His parents are US citizens and since his father was serving in the navy, McCain is natural born. If his parents had been living abroad and not in govt. service or working for a US based company then his "natural born" status would be in question.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  194. Mark Morrissey

    I'm not lawyer but it seems to me to be pretty simple: He was born a U.S. citizen as a child of U.S. citizen parents right?. Does it matter where he was born?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  195. Brent Stockman

    McCain is a US citizen born of parents who were both citizens serving their country. Penalizing them would not only be a violation of their rights but also a slap in the face to every person that has served in the military and their dependents who also sacrifice.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  196. Jim

    Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona Territory (i.e., before it became a state), yet I don't recall that anyone questioned his authority to run for President.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  197. Chris

    I think that a military installation is considered US soil, and therefore, he was born on US soil and should be allowed to become President.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  198. Rob Larson

    Are you kidding? Of course he should be eligible to be president. As a child born to two US citizens serving their country abroad, he is as natural a US citizen as anyone born on American soil.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  199. TJ

    Of course it matters. The United States military should've known that one day John McCain could've possibly become the Commander and Chief, and with that, should've flown the family back to U.S. soil. Someone really dropped the ball here...

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  200. Matthew Anderson

    If being born on a US military base doesn't make you a "natural-born citizen" then I am moving to Canada.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  201. Richard Foy

    Anyone that is subject to the laws of the United States of America at the time of their birth, including the Constitution, would have to be considered a natural born citizen. This would also include Ships with US registry.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  202. duncan

    this is huckabee's "miracle"

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  203. Ani

    I don't like John Mccain, and the idea of him being unable to run for president sounds good to me, BUT a baby born to a military family is just as American as anyone else. Men and women who serve our country overseas have every right to give birth to children who are considered "natural-born citizens."

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  204. Len Bullard

    You're reaching. He is fully qualified. By the way, it wouldn't affect his 'ability', it would affect his 'right'.

    Remember: Words matter.

    ... even when they don't, like Middle Names.

    Gad! This contest is getting uglier by the day.

    len (Toney, Alabama)

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  205. Tommy G

    I think that if he was not born in the us then he should not be allowed to run for president. There is no difference if say arnold ran for president it would not be allowed because he was not born here.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  206. John

    he should be good to go. his father was in the military and stationed at an American outpost. This makes him a natural born citizen in my eyes. Of course the Dems are going to try and make a case about this because they have nothing else going for them.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  207. Christopher from New York

    While I respect McCain a great deal, he wasn't born in the United States. Whether or not the provision is outdated is not the question. We can't simply ignore the Constitution whenever it becomes inconvenient. How can he put his hand on the bible and swear to uphold a constitution he is violating just by running?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  208. Barry Hedblom

    He sure as hell is qualified to run. He was born to American parents on military duty and that makes him a US citizen.

    I don't think the founding fathers envisioned a country so vast as this one when they did what they did

    Jack, how did they get a picture of you smiling? Wow

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  209. Kim B

    I am NOT a McCain supporter, however, I do not believe this makes him ineligible. If he was born to parents who were US citizens (and they obviously were) then he has citizenship by birth...and is therefore not a naturalized citizen. As much as I do not want him to be our next president, he has every right to be if the American people put him there.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  210. Jeremy

    The intent of our forefathers was that whoever wanted to be President had to be born in the United States, not just the son of an American citizen. They would not have concieved of such a thing at that time and it does make a difference. If you are not born within the boundaries of one of the 50 States, you are not eligible to be president.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  211. gary fortier

    This is a stupid question raised by stupid people for stupid reasons.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  212. Brent

    He was born American, wasn't he? The geographical location of the hospital is a bit irrelevant I think.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  213. Shannon McNally in Galesburg, IL

    My understanding has always been that American embassies and military bases are considered American soil for all legal intents and purposes. While I will not be supporting John McCain in his bid for the White House, it would be the highest form of legalistic nitpicking to make an issue out of this. Although I disagree significantly with Senator McCain on issues of policy, he is unquestionably an American by birth and in spirit.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  214. Justin from Dallas, TX

    Jack I have to wonder, if McCain is eligible by being born in a U.S. territory, does that mean Jennifer Lopez can run for President too? Shes got my vote!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  215. Tom

    Of course he's eligible. Of course He's a Natural Born Citizen of the United States. He was born on US Soil in the Canal Zone. Military Bases are US Soil. Embassy's are US Soil. This question is typical of the hysterical left, which I consider you to be a card carrying member of.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  216. Masood Raja

    I think this is stupid question. If his parents were US citizens, the why should it matter he he was born. Also, just like all embassies and US passanger aircraft are considered US territory for birth rights, why can't a US base in Panama be considered the same?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |

    no problemo, i just don't want a military war monger im the office!
    he'e too old for one thing, secomdly a family history of militarism leads me to think of dictators from military backgrounds. makes me shudder!
    joe ferrara
    eugene, oregon

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  218. David Williams

    Here’s my academic answer. It depends on where the emphasis comes in the phrase "natural-born citizen." Seems clear enough that Senator McCain’s citizenship at birth was U.S. But if the key term is natural, the key question perhaps is not where but how he came into the world. The founders being all men, they may not have fully appreciate the benefits of surgically or pharmaceutically assisted child birth.

    Valdosta, Georgia

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  219. Rosalynd

    McCain born outside the US due to his Father's military service abroad is not the issue that will keep him from the Presidency. His support of Bush's war in Iraq is why he will not be President in 08.

    Orlando, Florida

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  220. Harry

    This is old news....
    George Romney, George Romney and George Romney.
    He was born in Mexico. His parents, (his father and mother and 2 step-mothers were american citizens.)
    This issue was decided in 1968. McCain could be president.
    I am more concerned with McCain's experience. All my adult life, when someone, suggested that something was in the past and that it was time to move on, they were acknowledging a mistake. When McCain did this, NOT ONE PEEP FROM THE PRESS. When a man claims he has experience and then brushes aside the past to focus on the future..... what kind of experience is he talking/bragging about??

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  221. Ron Arroyo

    It should not impact his ability to be a president. However, if a US base is ruled to be US soil, wouldn't Guantanamo Bay then be the same?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  222. Marc

    The law does say you have to be born in this country. I don't know how or why McCain should be given amnesty over that requirement. If you're not born in the US; so sorry for ya!

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  223. Keith Slayden

    While not in line with the specific language of the Constitution, I do think it follows the 'spirit' of the intent. Military bases throughout the world adhere to a US-based set of laws where possible, instead of those of their host country. In the long-term, this is a serious issue that could be addressed by Congress with an amendment to the Constitution or Code.

    Keith Slayden
    Ithaca NY

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  224. Bernell McGehee

    I plan to vote for Barack Obama for U. S. President and I see absolutely no reason why John McCain being born to U. S. parents while his father is stationed in Paname should be a problem.

    Anyone raising this issue has too much time on their hands.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  225. Tammie

    Without a doubt, McCain should NOT be able to run. This is typical of the establishment to twist things to work in their favor once again. Just once I would like to see politicians follow simple rules without causing problems.

    Midland, MI

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  226. Dan from Chicago


    It doesn't matter. He is an American that was born to American parents, served in an American war and serves as an American Senator. If he had different Ideas about the wars and diplomacy I would probably vote for him, but those are important issues so I will have to vote for his in-experienced, good-moralled opponent, the guy with the funny name that all the news channels try to exploit.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  227. David

    If he was born on a military base he is an American Citizen.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  228. Dave C - NJ

    I support Obama, however it is foolish to try to apply that amendment to a traveling US citizen. His father was bravely serving the US when McCain was born, period.

    By that logic, if someone's parents were on a cruise ship and they were born at sea, they would have no citizenship? No eligibility to run for President? Please.

    McCain, you have those with common sense supporting you on this issue.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  229. Pete

    Does this mean that anyone born in the Panama Canal Zone who
    is currently a U.S. citizen is eligible to serve as president?

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  230. bret

    Are you kidding me? A military base is considered a portion of the United States no matter if it was Okinawa, Germany, or Panama. So technically he was born on American soil.

    Our founding father's did not realize that we would have military bases all over the world.

    That's just ignorant asking if it matters.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  231. Don

    Bush must be be from Mars. So what does it matter.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  232. Joe Greenberg

    A U.S. Military installation is U.S. soil – no matter where in the world it is – an American citizen being born there is not foreign-born.

    February 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  233. Eric

    If both parents are US born and he was indeed born on a US military base.....then yes...He has the right to hold the office. ..... There all Americans ....Im not not behind him but the Democrats need some one to run against. I think it's only the far right that wants a one party system in America... McCain seems to be there man.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  234. Alvin

    Well Jack, while it is true that we are a nation of laws its important to understand the distinction between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.

    I am a life long democrat and military officer. Though I would never support Mcain's policies, I would defend his right to run for the highest office in the land.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  235. Arron Culler

    Who has an option of where they are born? With McCain's birth being on the soil of a U.S. Military Installation, how does that not give him the right to run for the presidency if his father was obviously there serving THIS country? I feel McCain has all right to run for President...

    February 28, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  236. Mark Vel

    I personally am a Democrat and wouldn't vote for him if you paid me but, I think he is getting a raw deal. He was born on a military instalation which is considered US soil. Only bound to US laws and has immunity from any governing powers where ever the installation is. So technically he was born on US soil, from a US citizen, on our country's miltary installation.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  237. Drew

    While I don't agree with Mr. McCain's politics, I can't think of a man or woman in this country more deserving of a chance to occupy the oval office. He served his country with great distinction, as did his father and grandfather before him. The fact that he was born on a foreign US military base is irrelevant. When that particular clause of the constitution was written, we didn't have foreign military installations. Those bases, like US Embassies, are considered US soil for all intents and purposes.

    OF COURSE he is absolutely eligible to run for/be president and frankly more deserving than most Americans... he's just not the best choice available right now.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  238. Dan P

    The understanding of the constitution that I posses is that those born on US soil (i.e territorial property) are US citizens. I also believe that the constitutional birthright should also cover those born overseas but to US citizens. For example say a husband and wife lives overseas due to either military or foreign service deployments where it is likely they are not living on US souil and the birth does not occur in the on US soil in the embassy. I also feel those who are naturalized citizens who came here as infants also should qualify, There are runors the Andrew Jackson was not born on US soil but on a boat over here. I have no issue with McCains eligability though it will be an interesting legal story should a fight occur in court. Just imagine if it is a close race like the last two times where one states count matters and McCain wins, then don't be suprised if this becomes a legal argument that goes to the Court again. Also do not be suprise in the future if there is a candidate who was born here, to foreign born parents, who then returns through birth right at as a US citizen and then runs for president.

    This citizen ship is also an issue when it comes to US territories given the new immigration rules. For example those who live in American Samoa are referred to as nationals and there is some argument on their ability to come to the mainland. Those of the former US possesions of the Marshall Islands can claim citizen rights since they were born when RMI was US soil.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  239. Mike

    Honestly I don't think this is a matter of opinion. To keep things as simple as possible I think we should consider the legal implications. It seems to be that you must be born on U.S. soil. If he was born on an installation which is considered U.S. soil then he's eligible, if he was born on one which was not, he is not. I believe that military installations, like U.S. Embassies are considered the soil of their mother nation, and he is therefore fully eligible, but if I am incorrect then he is not. Who is left if McCain is forced out of the race for the Republicans is, however, an interesting question.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  240. Chander


    No Doubt in my mind ! He should not be allowed to run. We should have a court hearing, or better yet have McCain and his lawyers show how they come to the conclusion that they are within the rules. American Soil is American Soil.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  241. Andrew

    He should be eligible. I agree with the woman's statement regarding deployment – they should put a ruling that those born outside of the country due to military deployment should be eligible. It's not fair to the child born outside of the state that they are considered a non-Citizen.

    I'm still voting for Barack, but I think McCain should be eligible.

    30 years old
    Cambridge, MA

    February 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  242. Adam

    You can't just disregard parts of the Constitution you disagree with. That's what amendments are for. And Joe Greenberg – actually that's not true at all.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  243. Mark - Grand Rapids, MI

    I'm not a McCain supporter, but where is the common sense. Cafferty, I would love to appear on your program as Joe public to address the silly nature of these types of assertions. McCain was likely made a NATURAL CITIZEN when born on the military base. Making this type of argument about citizenship at this time only further illustrates democrats inability to make a compelling argument on the real issues. Obama has made hay by cutting through this type of non-sense to the true nature of peoples interest to be inspired, engage in a thoughtful debate, and have hope for a better future. If Obama can "actually" bring real substantive approaches to implement his vision, then we don't need to find silly distractions like natural-born to undermine McCain, we'll have already beat him.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  244. Thomas Petry

    This is ridiculous.

    Since 1790: "The children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or outside the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States."

    Congress assured us of that fact!

    John McCain is as natural born as Yankee Doodle. Case closed! And it just so happens I'm a die in the wool Democrat and even I can see this.

    Stop sensationalizing issue. The last thing our country needs right now is another controversy regarding Presidential elections!

    February 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  245. janice schwartz

    I do not think the fact that McCain was born in Panama should prevent him from running for president, just his programs. Besides it gives him almost as much International experience as Obama claims to have because as a child he lived in a foreign country.

    February 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  246. Michael, Houston TX

    A United States Base or Ship operating outside the United States is considered US soil for those born to US citizens on that base or ship, they are not foreign citizens.

    Study up Jack and the rest of the best poltical team on tv....

    February 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm |