At the top of Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased a story on John McCain being born in the Panama Canal zone rather than inside the United States and if it would disqualify him from the presidency: "Born in the USA. John McCain wasn't. Can he still be president?"
The story, which was regurgitated from The New York Times, was presented as a news brief by co-host Russ Mitchell a few minutes later:
Does John McCain's birthplace disqualify him from serving as president? The New York Times raises the issue in a report this morning. McCain is a citizen, but he was born on a U.S. military base in the Panama Canal where his father was posted. The Constitution says only a natural-born citizen can serve as president. So far no one born outside the U.S. has served as president.
In the New York Times article, Associate Law Professor Sarah H. Duggin, from Catholic University, was quoted as saying "It is not a slam-dunk situation" in reference to the constitutionality of McCain’s candidacy. This is the same New York Times that published a weakly sourced hit piece on McCain just last week.
First, U.S. military bases are considered to be American soil. Second, given the media’s sensitivity to a photo of Barack Obama in Somalian dress, it is interesting that John McCain’s birthplace would be considered an important story to cover.