staff and news service reports
updated 4/15/2011 2:18:14 AM ET 2011-04-15T06:18:14

The Arizona Legislature gave final approval late Thursday night to a proposal that would require President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before their names can appear on the state's ballot.

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Arizona would become the first state to require such proof if Gov. Jan Brewer signs the measure into law.

Republican Rep. Carl Seel of Phoenix, the author of the bill, said the bill wasn't about opposition to Obama.

"This bill is about the integrity of our elections," Seel said.

The Arizona Republic newspaper said the Speaker of the House Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, said he backed the bill only because the final version was constitutional and required all candidates to demonstrate that they meet the individual requirements of their office.

"I believe this particular piece of legislation does not add to or detract from the qualifications for president as stated in the United States Constitution," Adams said.

Thirteen other states have considered similar proposals this year. The proposals were defeated in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maine and Montana.

Video: Trump on his doubts about Obama's birth (on this page)

The bill won final approval from the state House in a 40-16 vote.

So-called "birthers" contend since the last presidential election that Obama is ineligible to hold the nation's highest elected office because, they argue, he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland.

Video: Fact-checking Donald Trump on Obama, 9/11 (on this page)

The Constitution said a person must be a "natural-born citizen" to be eligible for the presidency.

Hawaiian birth certificates
Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificates have been made public.

Even though the courts have rebuffed lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility, the issue hasn't gone away.

"It's a fringe issue in my view, and it's going to cause people to look again at Arizona and say what's all this craziness going on there," said Democratic Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson, an opponent of the bill.

Story: Court rules against Arizona immigration law

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, said he was embarrassed, the Republic reported.

"Arizona is the first state to pass a birther bill. We look pretty much backward," Gallego said. "You might as well change Arizona to Alabama."

The Arizona proposal would require political parties and presidential candidates to hand in affidavits stating a candidate's citizenship and age and to provide the candidate's birth certificate and a sworn statement saying where the candidate has lived for 14 years.

If candidates don't have a copy of their birth certificates, they could meet the requirement by providing baptismal or circumcision certificates, hospital birth records and other documents.

If it can't be determined whether candidates who provided documents in place of their birth certificates are eligible to appear on the ballot, the secretary of state would be able to set up a committee to help determine whether the requirements have been met.

The names of candidates can be kept off the ballot if the secretary of state doesn't believe the candidates met the citizenship requirement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Trump: ‘This country is going to hell’

  1. Closed captioning of: Trump: ‘This country is going to hell’

    >>> 2012 . if new nbc wall street journal report shows one. romney is tied in second. mitt romney leads. among the republicans who consider themselves tea party supporters, trump is the number one choice. on wednesday we sat down with him for an scluive interview and i began by asking trump about his potential run.

    >> well, this is very serious. i admit i always take things seriously, but i've never taken it seriously like this. this is a very serious time in my life. i hate what's happening to the country. i wish i didn't have to do it. i wish this country was running so great, and i wish obama was the greatest president since abraham lincoln and i wish this was the greatest place in the world. what we're doing is unbelievable. if you look at what's going on, where our jobs are disappearing to foreign countries, and oil, you're going to be paying $7, $8 a gallon very soon.

    >> do you blame it all on barack obama ?

    >> i blame a lot of it. it's been a terrible presidency. look at libya . we don't want to remove gadhafi but we're going to fight and now this. nobody knows what ooh happens. it looks like gadhafi is going to beat the united states .

    >> would you as president get more aggressive? is.

    >> i'm only interested in libya if we keep the oil. i don't know who the rebels are. they make the rebels like it's some romantic beautiful novel. i hear they're al qaeda , i hair they're iran-backed and iran-influenced. gadhafi 's going to go around saying he won the war against this country. when you ask me what i do, i'm only interested in libya if we get the oil.

    >> all right. so everybody wonders what the obama doctrine is.

    >> he doesn't have a doctrine. he doesn't have a doctrine.

    >> what's your doctrine? what would your doctrine be?

    >> with what? with respect to what?

    >> foreign affairs .

    >> foreign affairs is we take care of ourselves first. we don't build schools in afghanistan. we go to afghanistan, we build a road, we build a school . two days later they blow up the road, they blow up the school and we start rebuilding. in the meantime we can't build skls in alabama, new york, alabama, texas, we're spending trillions and trillions of dollars. my thing and my doctrine would be build, building build.

    >> positive news poll for you that shows you surging to second place among potential gop candidates for 2012 . why do you think that you're connecting with voters?

    >> i think that i connect with people because i happen to be smart, i happen to have a lot of common sense, i happen to know what i'm doing, i built a great company, and, by the way, if i run, i look so forward to filing a declaration because it's a great company. i built a great company and i'll make that decision sometime prior to june.

    >> what are you waiting for?

    >> i hate to say it. i have the number one show on nbc . is that the correct statement? the " celebrity apprentice " is doing great.

    >> what's --

    >> it sounds conservatitrivial. you're not allowed to have a show on and be a candidate. it's a great show and it's got phenomenal ratings, and until that show is over i can't declare, otherwise nbc would have to take the show off the air and that would be very unfair.

    >> recently you spent a lot of time talking about president obama 's birth certificate or lack thereof. you're convinced he doesn't have one.

    >> no, he doesn't have one. i've had very smart people say, donald, stay on the china issue, saudi arabia issue, stay on india taking our jobs and mexico, nafta, get off the birth certificate issue.

    >> why don't you? because you know what? three weeks before he started i thought he was born in the country and now i have a much bigger doubt. his grandmother in kenya says he was born in kenya and witnessed the birth, okay? he doesn't have a birth certificate or he hasn't shone it. he has what's called certificate of live birth . that's something that's easy to get.

    >> consider the equivalent.

    >> it's not the equivalent.

    >> in the state of hawaii they say they have seen this document, he was born in the united states , that's good enough for them.

    >> a birth certificate is not even close. a certificate of live birth is not even signed by anybody. i saw his. i read it very carefully. it doesn't have a serial number , doesn't have a signature. there's not even a signature.

    >> do you think he was lying? come on, just answer.

    >> meredith, he spent $2 million in legal fees trying on to get away from this issue, and if he weren't issue, why would j he just solve it? i wish he would because if he doesn't, it's one of the greatest scams in the history of politics and in the history, period. you are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. right now i have real doubts. i have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding.

    >> you have people down there -- i mean searching in hawaii? absolutely. they can't believe what they're finding. i'd like him to show his birth certificate . can i be honest with you? i hope he can. if he can't, if he can't, if he wasn't born in this country, and i'm not saying it's a real possibility. but it's much greater than two or three weeks ago, then he's pulled one of the greatest cons in the history of politics and beyond.

    >> do you consider yourself a tea partier?

    >> i think so.

    >> yeah?

    >> i'm very proud of some of the ideas they put forth. the big ideas , they want to stop this ridiculous, absolutely killer of spending that's going on. what's going on in this country, the way we're spending money like drunken sailors, we are absolutely -- i'm telling you, we're going to destroy our own freedom.

    >> they can't stop it even with the possibility of shutting down the government.

    >> excuse me it's not shutting down the government. it's cutting costs. the kind of money you're talking about is pea nuts. and i think the tea party has done an amazing service for this country. people, even very liberal democrats are starting to thing for the first time, well, maybe we can't keep giving everything away. i think they performed a great service.

    >> so if there were a partial shutdown of the government come friday, that would be okay with you.

    >> i hear democrats are going to be blamed, the republicans are going to be blamed. i actually think the president is going to be blamed. if there is a shutdown, but as you know --

    >> it's a partial shutdown.

    >> if there's a shutdown, i think it would leave a tremendous mark on the president of the united states . he's the one who has to get people together. i've made hundreds and hundreds of deals and tractionnsactions. how can you expect a man -- he never did a deal.

    >> how would you do it now? now, you're in the oval office now.

    >> i would get everybody together. i would have a budget.

    >> they've gotten together.

    >> well, that's because they don't have the right leader. you don't have the right leader. this is the president of the united states has to get this done, and i think he probably will. now, i don't say "he." but i think he and the group probably will get it done, but it's pretty sad because the whole world is looking at us and laughing at us.

    >> you've criticized obama quite a bit in this interview and in the past. what do you think he has done well?

    >> get elected. i think he did a great job when he ran for office.

    >> that's it?

    >> well, i think obama care is a total disaster. i think the thing that he did best, best of all is get elected. he got elected. he ran an unbelievable campaign. i want him to do well. if i had my choice of having obama do great as a president and do a really great job for this country and not running as opposed to running, i'd prefer that he did a great job. i love this country. but this country is going to hell. i would run a great, great country. this country will be great again. it is not great right now. we have huge deficits, huge unemployment, huge problem, and we're not respected. we're not respected in the world. the world laughs at us. they won't be laughing if i'm president.

    >> he's certainly not a shrinking violet .

    >> how much tape did you have because there's more. but wait, there's more. and that's coming up later, right?

    >> there's a little bit more, yeah. he's -- you know, i think he is serious. now, he's got a couple of months to think about this, ponder this a little more, but i think he's taking it very seriously.

    >> and he's serious about having people down in hawaii right now.

    >> that's what he claims. he claims there are people there that are investigating it, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with. i used the word detective. he didn't discount the word so i would assume that's who they are. what we would love to see is donald come back and show the evidence.

    >> exactly right. i wonder if he's going to declare for president.

    >> he said he was going to do it on our broadcast. he told us yesterday.


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