Obama releases 'long-form' birth certificate
President Barack Obama, trying to end the conspiracy theories about his eligibiility to the presidency, released his "long-form" birth certificate Wednesday.
Calling the "birther" issue a "sideshow" touted by "carnival barkers," the president said "We do not have time for this kind of silliness."
"Over the last two and a half years, I have watched with bemusement," Obama said in a brief statement to the press. "I’ve been puzzled by the degree to which this thing just kept on going."
So-called "birthers," pushing a theory that Obama is not a natural-born citizen as required by the Constitution, have long called for the release of his "long-form" birth certificate.
See a copy of Obama's 'long-form' birth certificate
The "birther" theory that Obama is not eligible to be president because he was not born in the United States, or because his father was not an American citizen, or because his mother had not lived in Hawaii long enough—the particulars of the conspiracy concept seem to change as each precept is knocked down—has been around since Obama began his campaign.
But the issue regained the spotlight, pushed by possible presidential aspirant Donald Trump. The real-estate developer and reality show star has repeatedly questioned the circumstances of Obama's birth.
Obama had released the public copy of his birth certificate in 2008 - a document that is "what Hawaiians use to get a driver’s license from the state and the document recognized by the Federal Government and the courts for all legal purposes," a White House statement said Wednesday.
"This is not and should not be an open question," wrote White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.
More from Pfeiffer:
The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country. It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country. Therefore, the President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate. They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting.
Despite the document's release, Trump continued to sound his horn.
"I'm very proud of myself because I've accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish," Trump said Wednesday.
"He should have done it a long time ago," Trump said. "I feel like I have accomplished something really, really important and I'm honored by it."
But Trump continued to question Obama's past, calling for the release of the president's student records from Occidental College. Trump said he'd heard that Obama was a "terrible student" while at the school but "ended up getting into Columbia and Harvard."
'Certificate of Live Birth'
The "Certificate of Live Birth" was provided by the Hawaii Department of Health, the White House said.
The document says Barack Hussein Obama II was born at Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961.
The father is listed as Barack Hussein Obama, 25, a university student born in Kenya, East Africa.
The mother is listed as Stanley Ann Dunham, 18, and says she had no "occupation outside home during pregnancy."
It is signed by Ann Dunham Obama, and has "Stanley" written in parentheses above. The signature is dated Aug. 7, 1961.
The doctor's signature and acceptance by registrar are dated Aug. 8, 1961.
An attorney working for Obama asked Hawaii's state health director last week to release the original certificate, documents provided by the White House show.
"Waiver of the Department's policy in this instance would allow my client to make a certified copy of his original birth certificate publicly available and would also relieve the burden currently being placed on the Department of Health by the numerous inquiries it receives from the media and others relating to my client's birth record," wrote Judith Corley, of Perkins Coie.
Corley wrote that she would "be coming to your offices to pick up the copies of the certificates."
Obama requested the release last week:
I am writing to request two certified copies of my original certificate of live birth. With this letter, I hereby authorize my personal counsel, Ms. Judith Corley of Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C., to act on my behalf in providing any additional information or paying any fees required by the Department of Health to fulfill my request. Ms. Corley is also authorized to make any necessary arrangements for delivery of the certified copies from your office.
Arizona's 'birther' bill
Gov. Jan Brewer last week vetoed a bill that would have required presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates to appear on the ballot.
HB 2177, the "birther" bill, "creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona," Brewer said.
The bill would have required presidential candidates to present their birth certificates or other birth records to be eligible to be on the ballot.
"As a former Secretary of State (sic), I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically-motivated decisions," Brewer wrote in her veto message to House Speaker Kirk Adams.
"In addition, I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President (sic) of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth to submit their "early baptismal or circumcision certificates" among other records to the Arizona Secretary of State. This is a bridge too far," Brewer wrote.
If the bill had become law, candidates could have substituted those records for a birth certificate to prove eligibility.
The irony, of course, is that Obama's opponent in the 2008 election, Arizona Sen. John McCain, was likely ineligible to hold the nation's highest office because of the circumstances of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone, while Obama was born in Hawaii to a mother who was a citizen.