General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

How is McCain able to constitutionally run for the presidency?

Asked by AstroChuck (37405points) June 28th, 2008 from iPhone

Unsure if this has been asked here before.
Th U.S. Constitution is clear on the point that the president must be born in the country. Although I won’t be voting for McCain, I do think that there should be an amendment allowing people born citizens, or perhaps even naturalized citizens to run. However, as there isn’t one yet, and as John McCain was born in Panamá, what gives?

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9 Answers

eambos's avatar

He was born in a U.S. millitary base which, technically, is U.S. soil.

marinelife's avatar

I think this is the dumbest political shibboleth raised to date, and I am not a McCain supporter. Are you going to tell me that we as a country are going to send American servicemen and servicewomen overseas to defend our country and protect our national interests and then, oh by the way, tell them, “Oops, sorry, your children are not American citizens????? That is asinine. From one site:

“But citizenship per se is not the question here.

The Naturalization Act of 1790 addresses the question of who exactly is a citizen. Unfortunately the act rules includes racial restrictions, restrictions which have finally been eliminated over time. But the part of that act germane to the question of John McCain is the part that involves citizenship for Americans born “abroad.” As the Act states, “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens.” This Act was replaced by The Naturalization Act of 1795, but the provision quoted above was not changed, including the phrase “natural born citizen.” The Act determined that children of Americans born abroad were Americans, but this not necessarily make them eligible to be president.”

AstroChuck's avatar

I agree that it isn’t fair, but the constitution is clear on this. if someone is not a natural born citizen or a citizen when the constitution was adopted (Even John McCain isn’t that old) they are not eligible to become president. You can argue that he was born on a military base to two American citizens but I don’t believe the law considers that a natural born citizen. You must be born in the physical United States of America. I’m not arguing the fairness of this, just wondering how he’s gotten around the constitution.

marinelife's avatar

This excerpt from the above seems to address that, AC: As the Act states, “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens.”

Magnus's avatar

This is one of those cards that only mccain and/or hillary supporters would pull against somebody. So you can say this won’t be a problem.

AstroChuck's avatar

Sorry Marina. I see that now. Somehow I only got to “asinine” (one of my favorite words, by the way) and no further. I don’t know how I missed the rest of your answer. However,that answers it for me. Thank you!

AstroChuck's avatar

Magnus- Not “pulling” anything. Just wanted to know, that’s all.

Michael's avatar

The constitution does say that, in order to run for president, one must be a “natural born citizen.” It does not say that one must be born inside the territorial United States. Because John McCain’s parents were American citizens at the time of his birth, he is indeed a natural born citizen. This is in opposition to a “naturalized citizen,” someone who is not born a citizen. John McCain, despite being born outside the United States, is nevertheless eligible to be President.

winblowzxp's avatar

Basically, if a child is born abroad to US citizens, they have to go to an Embassy/Consulate and fill out the paperwork for their kid to be a citizen. This however, is not the same as naturalization, as the child is born to citizens of the United States, only not on US soil. They will basically have two birth certificates…one from the country from whence they were born, and a US birth certificate. Military bases abroad are not considered American soil, but Embassies/Consulates are.

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