Obama produces his detailed birth certificate

The below intern blog is a commentary on reproductive rights of incarcerated women based on the article that can be found below the commentary.

It is completely unacceptable and sad that for as much racial progress that has purportedly been made in this country that a “serious” debate about the birth legitimacy of our president has continued for so long. While the view of birthers is troubling, there will always be people extremists on the fringe of either party. What is truly disheartening is the amount of media attention that has been given to this “issue” which promoted the president to finally produce the full birth certificate from Hawaii. Would the citizenship status have remained an issue for so long or even have come into question if our president had been a first generation American born of European parents? If we answer this question honestly, I think we can all agree that the answer would have been a resounding no. But because president Obama is the child of a Kenyan man and clearly not of entirely Anglo Saxon descent, this country has decided to place this debate front and center. While I’m certain that both birthers and the media will contest that their arguments have nothing to do with race, it’s hard to imagine these concerns arising for a white president. Never mind that we are still in the midst of trying to recover from one of the deepest recessions since WWII, that we have a budget crisis that must be addressed immediately or that we need to make massive improvements and investment in education as well as infrastructure. No, instead we have decided to focus on whether or not our president is a citizen for the past 2 years. It seems that no matter how much time comes between the present and our inequitable racist past, the old debates and arguments come up in new forms. Perhaps one day a person of color will be elected to the highest office in the land and not have his legitimacy to occupy the office questioned. Sadly, it doesn’t appear that day will be today.

Obama produces his detailed birth certificate

By Karen Tumulty and Perry Bacon Jr.

In a gesture that acknowledged the corrosive and distracting effect that a false but persistent rumor has had on the Obama presidency, the White House on Wednesday released the long-form version of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, which showed that he was born in Hono­lulu, Hawaii.

In a White House appearance, a smiling Obama expressed puzzlement that some people continue to believe he is not a U.S. citizen, a rumor he said has been fueled by “side shows and carnival barkers.”

Citing the serious economic challenges that face the nation, Obama added, “We do not have time for this silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve.”

The belief that Obama was born in another country, which the most recent CBS/New York Times poll suggests is embraced by about a quarter of Americans, has been used by some conservative critics of the president as a means to question his constitutional legitimacy to occupy the White House — and even his basic American-ness.

“The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote in a blog post on the White House Web site. “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.”

Most recently, it has been raised in near-constant television appearances by showman and business executive Donald Trump, who is flirting with the prospect of running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. As recently as Tuesday, Trump — who claimed to have a team of investigators looking into the issue in Hawaii — said he had heard that the certificate was missing.

“I’m very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish,” Trump announced as he arrived in Portsmouth, N.H., for what looked like a campaign swing, to the news that Obama had released the certificate. “I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully — hopefully — getting rid of this issue.”

At that point, Trump launched into another favorite topic: whether Obama — who graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude — deserved admission to Ivy League schools. Trump cited unspecified sources who claim that Obama had not been a good student.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama had posted on the Internet a shorter “certification of live birth,” which Pfeiffer noted was the same one that Hawaiians use to get a driver’s license from the state and the one recognized by the federal government and the courts.

The campaign also set up a Web site to address the “birther” controversy, as well as other rumors that had dogged Obama.

However, the rumor persisted — and, Obama acknowledged during his appearance Wednesday, probably will still persist, despite the release of the long-form birth certificate.

The timing is in some ways surprising — though also telling of what drives the political culture these days. It came on a day when the top story might otherwise have been news of changes in the administration’s national security team.

And even as Trump had vaulted up in some polls of the Republican 2012 field in part by making claims that Obama was not born in the United States, a series of major Republican figures, including Karl Rove, the top political strategist for President George W. Bush, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, considered a leading contender for the 2012 GOP nomination, had publicly urged members of the party to move on from the “birther” issue.

Indeed, it is far from clear who is hurt most by the persistent rumors, which many Republicans believe makes their purveyors seem wacky.

Obama himself was mentioning the birthers during his recent campaign speeches, attempting to fire up his own supporters by reminding them of how some Republicans remained so sharply opposed to him.

In an interview with ABC News earlier this month, Obama suggested that continued questions about his background from Republicans such as Trump would hurt the GOP in next year’s elections.

It “creates, I think, a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the president was born where he says he was, in Hawaii,” Obama said. “He doesn’t have horns. We may disagree with him on some issues, and we may wish that, you know, the unemployment rate was coming down faster, and we want to know his plan on gas prices.

“But we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or or birth certificates,” Obama said, “and so I think it presents a problem for them.”



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