Pesidents birth, health, school records besides Obama
February 1, 2016 4:22 PM   Subscribe

How many other Presidents had to show their birth certificates, health records, or school records either during their campaign or while serving as President?

This is my mother's question. We couldn't find an answer via Internet search, so I suggested she ask here. She wants to know if any candidate or President ever faced the questions/doubting/conspiracy theories that Obama faced.
posted by American Christmas Devil to Law & Government (7 answers total)
 
Not that I can recall.
posted by heathrowga at 4:36 PM on February 1, 2016


Best answer: I saw a few stirrings about John McCain's birth, enough that I've seen a document purporting to be his birth certificate. He was apparently born in a hospital in the Panama Canal Zone and his parents were American citizens (including his father, John Jr., a serving Navy officer), both of which are good enough to consider him natural-born for the purposes of the Constitution and subsequent federal court rulings, but there was some documentation indicating he was actually born at his parents house, which was outside the PCZ. So maybe he wasn't born in a building with US Dirt underneath, but he is, by other means (such as his parents status) considered natural born under law. PCZ babies were not explicitly considered natural-born at the time, but were made so by legislation sometime after this birth. Sorry I don't recall the details but it was when John III was a kid. (Edit: wiki has the deets)

Google for Ted Cruz's name, and google may autosuggest "ted cruz born in canada" as it did just now for me. This fooforall is one of Trump's current ploys against Cruz.

Wikipedia has a number of others, including President Chester A. Arthur
posted by Sunburnt at 4:49 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would assume that they all do, being that it is a paid government position and there must be some sort of HR paperwork that must be processed.
posted by sexyrobot at 4:50 PM on February 1, 2016


VP Quayle's law school grades became a thing in the debates in 1988.

Kennedy's physician spoke about his health during the 1960 campaign and was very squirrely about his actual health.

GW Bush's released his Yale records (I think, link on that website goes to a parody website) and his performance there was something people mostly knew about.

McCain's campaign released one of his health records.

You may find this website interesting in terms of the actual health of Presidents. A lot of this is what presidents did and did not reveal about health issues they were having. But generally when the president gets a physical, there's some news/PR reporting involved.
posted by jessamyn at 4:51 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Slightly off topic, Barry Goldwater was born in 1909 in Arizona which became a state in 1912. He ran for president in 1964 and it was mentioned but not a serious issue, I don't think. This article from the Harvard Law Review discusses On the Meaning of "Natural Born Citizens".
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:30 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Since the Reagan presidency health records of the sitting president are fairly routinely discussed, in fairly PR-ish ways, but they give a yearly press conference about the president's physical ("excellent health!") and they generally talk to the press about any major procedures or ones that involve anesthetic. George W's colonoscopies, for example, were used as a conversation-starter about the importance of colon cancer screening by his press staff. They disclose them because while he's under twilight anesthesia for the scan, technically the VEEP is in charge.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:37 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just heard, in a current episode of the Planet Money podcast about tax protesters, that there was some birther conspiracy having to do with Chief Justice* Taft's presidency. He was born in Ohio, and it is claimed that the State of Ohio never actually filed the necessary paperwork to become a state. This fact is also the basis for someone's crackpot legal theory about not having to pay taxes.

*Title of a dead person goes to their last title or their highest title, and it's unclear if the President is higher than the Chief Justice, so I'll stick with his last title.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:50 PM on February 22, 2016


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