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On August 24th, news outlets across the country carried a story detailing my apparent desire to pursue a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s standing as an American citizen. Unsurprisingly, the story garnered quite the emotional response from those on both sides of the political aisle. While the story has been quite popular, enjoying generous coverage from several blogs and television programs including Hardball with Chris Matthews, The Rachel Maddow Show, Politico, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Kos, the story also happens to be completely false.
My purported plan to question Obama’s citizenship in court was initially reported in a story printed by the Mohave Daily News: “[Franks] did say there was a lot of conflicting evidence of Obama’s citizenship and that he was considering filing a lawsuit, the only congressman to do so.”
The word “considering” apparently caused a great deal of confusion, causing many to believe that I am presently contemplating legal action against the President of the United States to force him to prove his citizenship status and therefore his eligibility to continue serving in the office of the President.
The original misrepresentation of my remarks was an honest mistake, and when brought to the reporter’s attention, he wrote a correction story that more clearly articulates the actual facts. My actual remarks were the exact opposite of that which was blindly repeated by countless main stream news outlets, and yet the original context of my remarks was completely ignored in a bid for an easy ratings-grabbing story (indeed, Politico’s stories regarding my alleged quote were among the Top 5 most read stories on August 24th).
For those interested, here is what I actually said, which immediately led to the vicious– however false– news reports that rapidly went “viral” throughout the leftist blogosphere:
“The ironic part about this is I was one of the few Members of Congress that was willing, if I could come up with a way to prove that Barack Obama was not born in this country, I was willing to go into a lawsuit. I don’t know of any other Member of Congress who was willing to do that, because I wanted to make sure that we were protecting both the Constitution and, quite frankly, I was terrified of this guy. But I wanted to do it in a way that comported with the honest evidence that I have in front of me. And so we did all kinds of research. We found all kinds of conflicting research. And we had to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to divorce myself from politics and I’m going to look at the evidence for what it is, and see what we come up with.’ And one of the things that happened, about three days before we were going to launch a lawsuit, is that we found several different newspapers that had shown that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii two years after it became a state. Now, there was no way to have forged that…I just don’t have evidence that shows me that he was not born here. Now, I know that everybody says that they’ve got it, but I’ve never seen it.”
(The audio of the above remarks can be found HERE.)
Further, I continued: “…the fact that we found [the evidence that Pres. Obama is a natural-born, American citizen] made it impossible for me in good conscience to go into a big lawsuit.”
These comments are easily verifiable, if one merely exerts enough effort to actually listen to audio of the event. Instead, the above-mentioned media sources (among many others) seized on the opportunity to go on the attack, some of them even AFTER being told directly by my office that the purported comments were a misrepresentation of what was actually said. The story was apparently too “juicy” not to run – even knowing that it was based on a false report. The journalists who ran with it were willing to throw their journalistic integrity to the wind to pursue a sensational account that was based entirely on a one sentence summary (not even a direct quotation) of nearly ten minutes’ worth of remarks. That’s unbiased, fair, and accurate reporting for you. Way to go, MSM.
Unsurprisingly, these same journalists are not quick to apologize or print retractions. Nonetheless, in light of the information I’ve presented above, I encourage every media outlet that spread the claim that I am in the midst of pursuing a lawsuit, because I supposedly don’t believe the President was born in the United States, to have the backbone to admit their mistake.