An apparent member of the birther movement seated in the gallery of the House of Representatives on Thursday interrupted a reading of the Constitution. The woman yelled out “Except Obama, except Obama, help us Jesus!” as Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) read the “natural born citizen” clause of the Constitution.The woman screamed out from the House Gallery as Pallone read Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution, which reads that “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Members of the birther movement contend that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is not eligible for the office.
The Sergeant at Arms was called in, as they are in charge of removing those creating a disturbance on the House floor. An officer told the woman she was under arrest and removed her from the gallery as she yelled out “My name is Theresa,” Politico reported.
Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson (R) banged the gavel to bring the House back to order.
“The chair will remind persons in the gallery — the chair will remind all persons in the gallery that they are here as guests of the House and that any manifestation of approval or disapproval of the proceedings is in violation of the rules of the House,” Simpson said. “The chair notes the disturbance in the gallery contravenes the law and rules of the House. The sergeant at arms will remove persons responsible for the disturbance and restore order in the gallery.”
Pallone told TPM in an interview just now that he was randomly assigned to read the natural born citizen clause.
“We were reading on a first come, first serve basis. We were waiting in line and they went Republican, Democrat, Republican, Democrat — like that,” Pallone told me. “It was just coincidence that I ended up reading that section about natural born citizens being eligible.”
The New Jersey Democrat said it was inappropriate for the woman to have interrupted the proceedings and that it was right to have her removed.
“I mean it’s a fact that he’s a natural born citizen, so I think it’s just inappropriate for people to keep raising it. The problem is the people that keep raising it want to go against the facts,” Pallone said. “I think that was an example of this phenomenon today. There’s nothing he can do to make it go away because they just don’t want to face the facts.”
Members of the House should make the economy, and not distractions like the birther questions or the repeal of health care reform, the priority in this session, Pallone said. Republicans shouldn’t push forward on health care repeal when they know it’s something the Senate and the President wouldn’t agree upon.
“It’s like this natural born issue, it’s just a waste of time,” Pallone told me. “It takes away from the real issue, which is what are we going to do to improve the economy and create jobs.”
Late Update: Representatives of Simpson and the Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dave Weigel reports he was told the woman was Theresa Cao, “a birther activist and supporter of court-martialed birther Lt. Col. Terry Lakin. On December 16, she told WorldNetDaily that she was “taking his message to the White House and Congress.” She maintains a blog here and a Facebook page here.”
[Ed. note: This story was updated after publication]