Author Revives 'Birther' Theory in Morristown
Controversial political commentator Jerome Corsi speaks to capacity crowd
If you think the controversy over President Obama’s birth certificate is old news, think again.
“The mainstream media has not given this fair treatment,” said political commentator, author and Denville resident Jerome Corsi, who spoke to a supportive, standing-room-only crowd Tuesday evening at the Morristown Masonic Lodge. “But this is not going away. … We really don’t know who our president is.”
Corsi, who holds a doctorate degree in political science from Harvard University, has written several books that many critics dismiss as conspiracy theory riddled with inaccuracies. His influence among conservatives and Tea Party faithful, though, is strong enough that two of his books have landed on the New York Times’ best-seller List.
As an author, he gained national attention with the 2004 publication of “Unfit to Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” which questioned the war record and subsequent anti-war activism of the former Democratic presidential candidate. In 2008, he published “The Obama Nation,” which painted Barak Obama as a radical leftist with strong ties to Islam. Both books were best-sellers, with the latter hitting the No. 1 position of the Times’ hardcover nonfiction list.
Tuesday in Morristown, he embraced the so-called “birther” movement that theorizes Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not eligible for the office of president. Prior to his hour-long presentation in the second-floor meeting room of the lodge, Corsi did a brisk business in the lobby, selling and signing copies of his 2011 book, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?”
The capacity crowd of about 250 people included several prominent Morris County Republicans, including Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford, Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, Freeholder Thomas J. Mastrangelo, Morris Township Committeeman and former Mayor Scott Rosenbush and Morris County Republican Committee Chairman John Sette.
“I don’t do many local events, I like to stay out of local politics, but we did one not too long ago and the interest was great,” Corsi said.
According to the organizers, Corsi’s appearance last year at a Randolph Republican drew such a positive reaction that they looked for a larger venue in the area to meet the demand.
“We’ve been using the lodge as a meeting place for various grass-roots events and it seemed ideal for this,” said Billy Baer of Harding Township, who helped to organize the event with Randolph Resident Dan Haggerty. Baer and Haggerty cohost the radio program “Patriot’s Watch” on WNJC AM, which serves the Philadelphia area. Haggerty described his show as sympathetic to libertarian and conservative viewpoints.
Baer added the lodge was not a sponsor or affiliated with the event and the volunteers staffing the event, including members of the Americans for Liberty, had to pay for rent, equipment and the free hot buffet served before Corsi’s talk.
There was no charge to attend the event and Corsi was not paid for his participation, Haggerty said.
“We set the limit at 250 and it filled right up,” Baer said. “I think you’ll find that there are a lot of registered Republicans and conservatives here, but this is not a political issue. It is a constitutional issue and there is serious doubt about Obama’s eligibility to serve as president. I know for a fact there are some Democrats and independents here, and probably a lot of Tea Party members as well.”
Gordon Crawford, who attended the event with his wife, Cindy, said he was a registered Republican “but I’m really more of an independent.”
“I’m here because I believe in being as well-educated as possible when it comes to elections. That was the problem in 2008 and if we’re not careful, it’s going to be a problem in 2012,” Crawford said.
Crawford said he voted for John McCain in 2008, but only after reading “both of Obama’s books first.”
“More than anything, I’m an American and I want what’s best for the country,” he said.
“I am a friend of Jerome Corsi and his wife,” Rochford said. “The first time I met him I was very impressed. I was there when he spoke to the Randolph Republican Club, and he brought the house down. So Dan, myself and John Sette said let’s open this to a bigger audience. I’m very interested to hear what he has to say tonight.”
Drawing on research from “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” and using a MacBook to display documents on a screen, Corsi charmed the crowd with his calm, professorial rhetoric and jokes while pointing out the portions of Obama’s birth certificate and selective service papers that he claimed were proof that the documents were forged. He used Abode Illustrator software to separate the layers of the birth certificate and zoomed in on what he described as inconsistencies that prove the documents “were forgeries, in fact, bad forgeries.”
Several of his observations were greeted with spirited applause, including one prediction that, as his he said his investigation revealed new facts, that “Obama may not be the Democratic Candidate in 2012.”
“The noose is tightening for Obama,” he said.
Following his presentation, Corsi took several questions from the audience, including several people who identified themselves as members of local Tea Party organizations, including one who referred to Corsi as “a true American hero.”