via the KC Star
Cleaver's birth date becomes an issue
Patterson questions 1-year discrepancy
By STEVE KRASKE The Kansas City Star
Republican Jeanne Patterson's campaign on Tuesday baked a birthday cake for her 5th Congressional District opponent, Democrat Emanuel Cleaver.
Then Patterson asked: "Mr. Cleaver, are you celebrating your 59th or 60th birthday today?"
Patterson pointed out that several public documents -- including Cleaver's Missouri driver's license, voter registration and application for a marriage license -- show that the former Kansas City mayor claims Oct. 26, 1945, as his birth date.
But Cleaver has long said that he came into the world a year earlier -- on Oct. 26, 1944 -- and his birth certificate supports that. He celebrated his 60th birthday at a fund-raising event last month.
Patterson called the discrepancy a "lie" and described it as another example of Cleaver's unethical behavior.
"If he'll lie about all of these things, he'll lie to you, the citizens," she said. "We are coming up to Halloween, and this man has a closet full of skeletons."
Cleaver countered that the discrepancy stemmed from a "42-year-old teenage prank."
When he lived in Texas as a teen, Cleaver said, he received his driver's license when he was almost 18. On his application, he moved his birth date back a year, he said, to make it look as if he had received his license when he was younger.
"It was something you did when you were kids," Cleaver said. "It let girls know you had your license longer."
The birth date stuck, he said, because when he moved to Missouri decades ago, authorities issued him a driver's license based on information from the Texas license.
Patterson, though, questioned whether Cleaver used the false birth date to avoid the draft or procure retirement benefits from his work at City Hall.
Cleaver said he had not benefited from the date change in any way. He pushed the date the wrong way if he had been trying to accelerate any retirement benefits, he pointed out. And he was drafted, although he did not serve because of knee injuries suffered playing football.
Decisions on who gets drafted are not based on birth dates on driver's licenses, Cleaver said.
"I think this is indicative of the direction of politics in our country, and it's a sad development," Cleaver said. "Instead of debating me on the issues at the places we've had scheduled forums, she would rather go and dig up a 42-year-old teenage prank.
"This is so typical of candidates with nothing to offer."
Cleaver said he hadn't given much thought to the age issue over the years. He got his license renewed every few years and moved on, he said.
"I'm trying to find the sinister plot here," he said.
Cleaver's defense on the draft is true. I was at a talk of his on 'changes' where he mentioned his knee injury from College Football.
And yeah.. i'd imagine a BIRTH CERTIFICATE is used instead of a driver's license for the purposes of the draft.
These things happen when you have a first time candidate with too much money like Jeanne Patterson.