White House Releases Obama's Original Birth Certificate

After years of birther conspiracy theories, Hawaii made an exception to release the form

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Who knows if this will settle anything, but President Obama has posted his long-form birth certificate after years of conspiracy theories that his wasn't really born in Hawaii and therefore is ineligible to be president. Obama had already released his certificate of live birth, which is the document Hawaii gives to citizens requesting copies of their birth certificate and is recognized as proof of birth in the state by the federal government. But that was deemed not good enough by many, most recently Donald Trump. So the president's lawyers have gotten Hawaii's health department to make an exception and post the long-form certificate, granted "in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting."

The document does not say that Obama's religion is Islam, which was another conspiracy theory as to why it hadn't been released.

Update: Trump went on MSNBC to claim credit for forcing Obama to post the birth certificate, saying, "Today I'm very proud of myself because I've accomplished something that no one else has been able to accomplish. ... Why he didn't do it when everybody else was asking for it, I don't know."

Update 9:50: At his press conference reiterating that he was born in America, Obama singled out NBC News' Chuck Todd, who had marveled that they were breaking into regular broadcasting to cover the birther issue amid breaking reports of a major shakeup of Obama's national security team. "You guys know you wouldn't be breaking in if I was talking about national security," Obama said. "Normally I would not comment on something like this... I've got other things to do." But two weeks ago, in the middle of the drawn-out debate over the budget--when Obama gave a major address laying out his vision of the country for the next decade--the top story was "about my birth certificate," Obama said, clearly annoyed. Obama said his larger point was that the country is facing "enormous challenges" and the press should not waste precious public debate space on frivolous topics.

Here's video of Obama's remarks:

Update 10:00: Mediaite has video of Trump's reaction to the release. "I hope it's true. ... So the press can stop asking me questions." He says he's "really proud" and "really honored" to have played a role in the debate, and is now eager to move onto tough  issues, like how China is hurting us. (Trump's clothing line is made in China.)

Update: 10:08: The Republican National Committee responds by accusing Obama of distracting voters from the real issues. "What do you do when you don't want to talk about skyrocketing gas prices? Release your birth certificate."

Update: 10:15: Hot Air's Ed Morrissey scoffs at Trump's credit-claiming. "Really?  Trump had claimed to have investigators probing Obama’s birth, and had declared the birth certificate 'missing' as late as yesterday... Whatever credibility Trump had just dissipated this morning. He won in the same sense that Charlie Sheen is #winning! by getting canned and then embarrassing himself on a national tour."

Update 10:25: Slate's Dave Weigel doesn't think this will end birtherism. "Surely more forgery gurus will tumble out of the woodwork and quibble with the kerning. This document includes the name of Obama's hospital and attending physician, but it doesn't include a footprint, and even though no Hawaii birth certificates like this included that, it'll be a reed for birthers to hang on to." As for Trump's little victory lap,

"There's really no way to spin this that doesn't reveal Trump as a buffoon or a conspiracy theorist. The White House's position for more than two years was that all 'birther' questions were answered by the COLB [certificate of live birth]. And the long-form certificate proves that the COLB was legitimate and answered all reasonable questions about Obama's birth. If you were 'just asking questions' about the COLB, you were not a truth-seeker. You were a fool."

Update 10:30: Potential 2012 candidates Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin have both weighed in via twitter. "What President Obama should really be releasing is a jobs plan," Romney tweeted. Palin continued her praise of Trump, saying, "Media: admit it, Trump forced the issue. Now, don't let the WH distract you w/the birth crt from what Bernanke says today. Stay focused, eh?"

Update 10:36: David Frum continues his mourning of the direction of the Republican Party in response to the controversy. The boring question of where Obama was born has been put to rest. "Now the more haunting question: How did this poisonous and not very subtly racist allegation get such a grip on our conservative movement and our Republican party?" He continues,

"I wish it were otherwise, but it does seem that these racialized attacks on Obama have exacted a toll on him. But they also have exacted a toll on the opposition to Obama. The too-faint repudiation of birtherism by regular Republicans has shaped not only the Obama brand, but also the Republican brand. It was not only white people who heard the implied message about who counts and who does not count as a 'real American.'"

Update 10:38: Under the headline "Rally Evaporates, As Market Realizes That America Is Officially A Circus," Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal blames the birther "nonsense" for a dip in the stock market Wednesday morning.

Update 10:43: "The president of the United States has given into the trolls," writes Wonkette's Jack Stuef.

Update 11:04: Sorry, Obama, the entire Internet is happy to talk about this "silliness" a little bit longer.

Update 11:18: Fritzworth at Ace of Spades HQ argues today's news really shows how strong Republicans are. "In the game of Go, there is a concept called sente. If you have sente, it means that your opponent is forced to respond directly to each of your moves rather than carry out his own strategy. This release by Obama suggests the Republicans have sente right now. Obama has been trying to maintain (or regain) sente himself by attacking Ryan Paul and other fiscal realists as 'extremists', but I think he's losing even that effort."

Update: Reactions around the internet are dominated by disbelief that the President actually had to address this issue.

  • Clearly the White House Was Getting Nervous Politico's Ben Smith writes. "The move suggests White House pollsters saw real danger to Obama here, and saw the distraction as hurting him more than Republicans. It's also a remarkable concession to the kind of freakshow politics that this White House disdains, but has found itself unable to ignore."
  • Will It Matter? Hot Air's Ed Morrissey wonders. "The conspiracy theorists have long speculated that the state of Hawaii’s law that allows parents to get a birth certificate after having a child abroad (true) gives them the option to declare Hawaii the birthplace (not true).  Others insist “natural born” means born of two American citizens, which is not only not true but would have disqualified Michael Dukakis in 1988, whose parents were both Greek immigrants. I’m going to guess that this will only shake off those with minimal or moderate attachment to the birth certificate issue, and that the industry will somehow muster onward after this bleak day."
  • It's Surreal, Josh Marshall writes at Talking Points Memo, "and weird and faintly ridiculous that it's come to this. ... Apparently the president is actually going to make a statement shortly affirming his birth in the US, presumably because the release of the long form document might reduce the level of lunatic frivolity in the public square and they feel the need to bring it back up to make things even more ridiculous."
  • Where Was the Media? asks William A. Jacobson, who doesn't seem entirely convinced, at Legal Insurrection. "It looks to me like a 1961 version of the short form Certificate of Live Birth.... The story is not over, I'm sure, but this will help Obama, since the document was issued just days after his birth. The ease with which the White House obtained the documents demonstrates the rank idiocy of the mainstream media, which has been feeding us a steady stream of excuses as to why Obama could not obtain the document."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.