Ask a Birther: Are You Convinced by Mitt Romney's Birth Certificate?

Mitt Romney's birth certificate was released Tuesday night, and after so many years of scrutinizing the birth certificate of Barack Obama, we couldn't help wondering what they made of the Republican nominee's eligibility to be president.

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Mitt Romney's birth certificate was released Tuesday night, and after so many years of scrutinizing the birth certificate of Barack Obama, we couldn't help wondering what birthers think about the Republican nominee's eligibility to be president. The document Romney released to Reuters is a "certificate of live birth" -- the same type of document released in 2008 by President Obama and deemed not good enough by birthers. The Atlantic Wire asked for a comment from Jerome Corsi, the most prominent birther and author of Where's the Birth Certificate? Corsi said he'd get back to us, and directed us to a January story he wrote about Romney's citizenship. More on that below, but it's clear that, if you're prone to think this way, Romney's birth document has many of the same problems as the orignal document President Obama's team released in its first attempts to keep the birthers at bay. Again, it's merely a "certificate of live birth." The document was issued by the State of Michigan on January 18, 2012. It shows a father born in another country -- Mexico this time, instead of Kenya. As The Guardian points out, the certificate was filed March 17, 1947,  five whole days after Romney was born: "How can Mitt Romney explain this mysterious five day gap during which time he may (or may not) have been smuggled in from Canada? – the foreign country bordering on Michigan." But that's just speculation by a left-wing foreign rag. Here's what real birthers say:

Jerome Corsi, birther author: His earlier post on World Net Daily explored the idea that because Romney's father, George Romney, was born in Mexico, Romney might not be eligible. Romney's grandparents were born in American territory before they moved to Mexico, but Corsi says they were still citizens. "Opponents of George W. Romney’s presidential candidacy in 1968 argued that his grandparents had renounced their U.S. citizenship when they went to Mexico, but there is no evidence for that," he writes. Further, he notes, the elder Romney was elected governor of Michigan, a job that legally requires American citizenship. (Of course, the U.S. presidency, which Obama has been elected to already, has that same requirement.) Finally, Corsi said, "even if neither of Mitt Romney’s parents were natural-born citizens, it would not prevent Mitt Romney himself from being a natural-born president." The same goes for Obama. We'll update as soon as Corsi gets back to us after he reviews Romney's birth certificate.

UpdateJoseph Farah, birther boss: We never heard back from Corsi, but his boss at World Net Daily, editor in chief Joseph Farah, responded publicly to our inquiries. And despite Corsi's earlier post questioning Romney's presidential eligibility (on a account of his Mexican-born father) for Farah, the matter is an open-and-shut case: "We would have considered it very newsworthy if there were evidence of ineligibility. We could find none – only evidence supporting his eligibility." Farah then says his opinion goes for Corsi, too:

Let me conclude with this parting thought: There is not a doubt in my mind, and I speak for Dr. Jerome Corsi as well, that Romney qualifies as a “natural born citizen” in the strictest constitutional definition. If it were not so, we would aggressively and tirelessly report that fact, as we have in the case of Obama.

Since Romney's parents were citizens when Romney was born, and that he was born in the U.S., the "certificate of live birth" is, and this is Farah's words, "a non-issue." Not so with Obama.  (Obama's mom was an American citizen, and he, too, was born in the U.S.) Farah lists all the reasons Obama's citizenship is suspect, such as, "Michelle Obama referred to Kenya as her husband’s 'homeland.'"

Orly Taitz, birther litigator: Taitz's dogged pursuit of litigation to have Obama declared ineligible to be president based on his supposed foreign birth earned her the title of "Birther Queen." She is much more lenient with Romney, but he's still not off the hook. "Even though I do not have any evidence to show that there's a forgery in the copy provided by Romney," she told us over the phone, "just to be impartial and even-handed I am asking that both candidates release the original documents." Taitz said that when Obama released the short version of his birth certificate in 2008 (she's convinced that the 2011 "long form" is also a computer forgery), a date stamp bled through the back saying 2007, when Obama said he acquired the document in 2008. With Romney's certificate, she says, "the date is here, is January of this year. It's not a year ago. That looks more reasonable." Just to be safe, she added, "I am calling on all of the candidates -- and the vice-presidential candidates -- to sign a release where they would allow the release by the department of health the original birth certificate and microfilm."
Nick Walsh, birther reader: After The Atlantic Wire wrote about Donald Trump's evolution as a birther, Walsh wrote in (and posted it as an open letter) to say, "No sane person can be this ignorant, so I’ll just assume your material today about the birth certificate is your corporate duty as a presstitute. I am an adobe expert with 35 years in computers and information technology. I wasn’t a birther until someone asked me to look at the file. Begrudgingly I looked at it – and I was shocked!" We replied by asking to see his resume and are still waiting to hear back. Nevertheless, Walsh was a good sport and shared his views on Romney's so-called birth certificate:

I am speaking simply here as a computer geek.  That certificate bothers me a lot.  Here's why.

The dude was born in 1947.  We didn't even have computers capable printing this stuff until about the mid 80's.

The font on Romney's certificate is Arial 8 pt, but the kerning is compressed a bit.  So we know it's computer generated.  They use stock "certificate paper" and a watermark.  All easy to do.  He appears to be a "natural born citizen", but his dad was born in Mexico.  I'd want to verify his mother's birthplace as well.

I would NOT accept this certificate if he was applying for the position of President.  It's a "Facsimile" of information they claim exists.  It is like our money.  I hand you a hundred dollar bill... do you have money?  No. You have a certificate that says $100 worth of real money or gold is on hold at the reserve.  You use the money on faith that the gold is there.  But your life doesn't depend on it.  In this case, our lives do depend on Romney being real.  So he'd have to cough up the original birth certificate before I would back off.  And if he wins, and fails to show the real certificate, I'll be all over him like iron filings on a magnet.

The difference between this one and the Obama one is that Obama tried to skip the step where real proof is needed.  He thought he could get away with just showing the Romney-type certificate that you showed me here. I hold them both to the same standard.  We have our national survival at state here.  We can never have a system where a foreign agent can take control.  Honestly, this is like watching a live edition of the TV Series 24.  

Larry Johnson, birther commenter: When the Wire suggested that the promotional booklet that referred to Obama as "Kenyan-born" might be a mistake on the part of the literary agency (as the literary agent said) and not evidence of Obama lying about his birthplace, reader Larry Johnson wrote me, saying, "Are you really this fucking stupid?  Seriously.  Who allows a 'mistake' to go uncorrected for 16 years?" Johnson's website describes him as the "CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm with expertise combating terrorism and investigating money laundering," so we expected him to be ready to comment on the issue of any document fraud. But when I asked for his response to Romney's birth certificate, Johnson did not provide many details. "Why don't you do your job and ask the campaign for a copy of the original and then do the same for Obama," he responded. I suggested that perhaps he had more expertise on the issue than I did. "Your ignorance is breathtaking," he sent from his iPhone.
Mickey Mathis, birther reader After a Wire story about Romney's bullying in high school, Mathis wrote in, "It is so interesting that you find it frightening that a teenaged boy(Romney) might have participated in cutting an odd student's hair  fifty years ago. You are full of freaking sht. You don't find any of Obama's REAL background interesting?  Like a fake birth certificate-fake draft registration, fake social security number;   using an alias in Chicago; having a house that is in a trust partially owned by a mobster; any of those little tidbits you don’t' find interesting or worth talking about at all??????? No of course not. You Marxist human garbage are in bed with the man to get him back in the White House to finish the job of destroying this country." Now here comes the Wire, all ready to restore investigative honor to American journalism, and Mathis doesn't want to help. When asked about Romney's birth certificate, Mathis responded, "Well I'm sure you Marxists will find some lies to tell about it-just like you do everything else. Fools."
We have other requests out to birthers. If you're one and want your voice heard, email us.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.