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NASHVILLE - Four Tennessee Republican lawmakers say they are serious in joining a proposed legal action to force President Obama to turn over his "original" birth certificate and other vital records to prove he is a natural-born U.S. citizen.

A similar lawsuit, based on allegations that Mr. Obama was born outside the U.S., was rejected in December by the U.S. Supreme Court. But that has not deterred the Defend Our Freedoms Foundation and its founder, Russian-born immigrant Orly Taitz, an attorney, dentist and real estate agent, who plans to file another suit.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-College Grove; Rep. Eric Swafford, R-Pikeville; Rep. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plains; and Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, have lent their names as would-be plainfitts in Dr. Taitz' effort, a move which has state Democrats accusing them of being flaky at best.

"This is not about trying to be divisive or divide people," Rep. Swafford said. "That's not my motive at all ... Barack Obama needs to release his original birth certificate and prove where he was born so we can move on."

He said his son and other Little Leaguers are required to show their birth certificates to play ball; so should the president.

During the presidential contest, then-U.S. Sen. Obama, whose father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas, dismissed Internet-based attacks suggesting that he did not meet constitutional requirements to run for president.

On an Internet site, fightthesmears.com, the Obama campaign posted a copy of his Hawaiian "certification of live birth." The document states Barack Hussein Obama II was born Aug. 4, 1961, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

Rep. Casada said of President Obama that, "I know he's got it (birth certificate). I know he's an American citizen, but let's just get this thing out there and let's put everbody's mind at ease."

Some House Democrats have ridiculed the effort.

"He did what? Who's Eric Swafford?" asked Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, when asked about his actions last week during House Democrats' weekly news conference.

Quipped House Democratic Leader Gary Odom of Nashville: "He's from Mars."

Rep. Miller, who like President Obama is black, blasted Tennessee Republicans for a series of what he sees as racist actions. He pointed to former state GOP chairman Chip Saltsman, who in a bid for Republican National Committee chairman, sent out a parody CD to RNC members in December containing among other tunes, "Barack the Magic Negro."

Rep. Miller also cited a state Republican direct-mail piece last fall that portrayed then-state Rep. Nathan Vaughn, D-Kingsport, who is black, as a "blackbird" along with then-candidate Obama and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is white.

"What's wrong with the Republican Party?" Rep. Miller said. "There's always something coming out of the Republican Party in the state of Tennessee, something racist, something goofy. What is the mentality of these kind of people who continuously make these kind of goofy statements?"

Calling such moves "embarassing," Rep. Miller said "they continue to make us the joke of the nation."

Countered Rep. Nicely: "If I was from Memphis I wouldn't be calling anyone joke of the nation. Would you?"

Rep. Swafford and others questioned the veracity of the "certification of live birth" document. Rep. Nicely contended some of the president's Kenyan relatives have said he was born in Kenya.

Rep. Swafford said he signed the agreement to participate in the lawsuit as a "private" citizen. After it was pointed out the pledge was written on his official legislative stationary, Rep. Swafford said he is a "citizen legislator" and that he uses legislative stationary when he is in Nashville.

The Annenberg Political Fact Check, a nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania that examines campaign claims, said on its www.factcheck.org website in August that the organization's staffers had examined "the original birth certificate" and concluded "Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said."

On Oct. 31, 2008, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of Hawaii's Department of Health, issued a statement in which she said state law prohibits release of a birth certificate to someone who does not have a "tangible interest" in the vital record.

She said she and the state's Registrar of Vital Statistics "have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and proceedings."

After the four Tennessee Republican lawmakers came under criticism, Dr. Taitz posted a statement on her Web site that "Obama's Communist, Radical Muslim, Chicago Mafia style thugs are attacking 4 courageous TN State representatives."

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