At Monday’s hearing where the State Objections Board laid to rest any question about whether President Barack Obama’s name will be on the ballot in Kansas, Secretary of State Kris Kobach was the only member of the board to show up.
Its other members — Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer — sent top aides to the meeting as surrogates. Schmidt, whose office said he was out sick, and Colyer, said to be with patients at his plastic surgery practice, voted along with Kobach in favor of delaying a decision last week to seek Obama’s certified birth documents and other records.
But they seemed to somewhat distance themselves from Kobach’s skepticism — physically and philosophically.
Schmidt made it pretty clear last week that he didn’t buy the argument of Joe Montgomery, the Manhattan resident and Kansas State University employee who initially challenged Obama’s qualifications to be on Kansas ballots. But he echoed Kobach in saying he was disappointed the Obama campaign sent only a page and a half letter that brushed the claim aside.
Montgomery withdrew his claim after a flurry of negative reaction.
In an e-mail to The Eagle, Schmidt’s chief of staff, Jeff Wagaman, said Schmidt had not reviewed the certified documents the panel sought last week and that he was ready to deny the objection last week.
Sherriene Jones-Sontag, Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokeswoman, said Colyer hadn’t reviewed those documents either. “Colyer never doubted President Obama’s qualifications to be on the ballot in Kansas,” she wrote.
The Eagle received no response to a question last week about how Brownback felt about the board seeking certified documents.
Last week, Kobach said he didn’t agree with Montgomery’s reading of case law. And he was careful not to say explicitly that he doubts Obama qualifies. But in seeking certified documents and other records from three states, many people, particularly on Obama’s side, said Kansas was giving credence to an argument largely discredited years ago.
Monday, Kobach said he has seen the documents and he noted their “raised seal” as proof of authenticity. He said he has no doubt that Obama’s birth certificate in the Hawaii Department of Health is the same one posted on the White House’s website.
Kobach said that puts it to rest. “I have no doubts now,” he said.
Another presidential campaign twist emerged in a CNN blog post Monday evening that said Republican candidate Mitt Romney told a Univision America Radio host that he hasn’t met with Kobach at any official policy meetings. That seems to show that the Romney campaign wants to keep its distance when compared with their response to Kobach’s endorsement earlier this year, which says Kobach is “on the team.”