Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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“Birthers” Find New Berths

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The matter of Barack Obama and his birth certificate is a story that just keeps going — and, it would seem, a topic that conservatives won’t let go of.

You’re probably familiar with the conspiracy theory put forward by so-called “birthers”: Obama, the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father, wasn’t really born in the United States, they claim. If true, Obama wouldn’t be a natural-born citizen and not eligible to hold the highest office in the land. 

During the course of the 200 campaign, a scanned copy of Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate materialized, as did a couple of newspaper announcements from August 1961 heralding the future president’s arrival. Hawaii’s state health director attested to seeing the document and said it was legit.

Still, the buzz persists.

Earlier this week, Arizona’s House of Representatives signed off on SB 1024. Among other things, it requires Arizona’s Secretary of State to inspect a presidential candidate’s birth certificate before that candidate can qualify for the ballot. Translation: if Obama wants to carry the state in 2012, he’ll need to produce the document.

Similar laws have been proposed in Oklahoma, Florida and Missouri — not a one is state law.

And now, some House Republicans want Congress to follow Arizona’s lead.

HR 1503, the Presidential Eligibility Act, would “amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate . . . to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, back in the state where the controversy began, Hawaii’s legislature is considering SB 2937. It would allow state government agencies not to respond to follow-up requests for ‘information” (i.e., the President’s birth certificate) if they determine that the subsequent request is duplicative or substantially similar to a previous request.
According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the bill was the idea of Hawaii’s state Health Department, which has had to field almost daily questions about the Obama birth certificate (state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest).
Still, despite being told the document can’t be released, the requests persist. The Health Department testified it still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama’s birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii.

btw, the New York Times just completed a poll on the “birther” issue. Its findings: 58% believe Obama was born in the U.S.; 20% believe he was born in another country; 23% didn’t have an opinion.


Written by Bill Whalen

April 22, 2010 at 7:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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