Was Obama born in America?
Some leading American opposition politicians make frantic efforts to dig into the background of Barack Obama, American President
President Barack Obama’s decision to release his Long Form birth certificate to dispel rumours about his American citizenship has stirred up more controversy. Rather than douse tension generated by the doubts raised mainly by Tea Party activists and Republican politicians, his latest action has raised more issues as his critics now demand for information about his academic and work history.
Obama initially released a scanned copy of his birth certificate. But when the demand from his critics became intense, he paid a fee of $14 and wrote to the Hawaiian authorities requesting two physical photocopies of his birth certificate April 22. “I am writing to request two certified copies of my original certificate of live birth,” the president wrote on White House letterhead. Though this was against Hawaiian laws, it was waived for the president and the document was released.
But the release of the document has not appeased his critics, who allege that he was born in Kenya or Indonesia. They now want Obama to release more information about his academic and work life.
One of those applying the pressure is Donald Trump, the billionaire New York businessman and a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate who continually questioned Obama American ancestry and demanded for the release of his actual birth certificate. He is now insisting that Obama’s should release his college records.
Don Irvine, chairman, Accuracy in Media, a right-wing advocacy group, is also not satisfied with Obama’s action. “Questions still linger with respect to his academic records and even the most basic biographical data. I challenge the President to set an example for future leaders regarding personal disclosure issues,” Irvine said.
Similarly, Levi Russell, spokesman for Tea Party Express, said that his group was “glad that Obama finally followed through on his campaign promise of transparency, but was left wondering why it took two years and relentless effort by Trump to force him to do so,” adding, “we hope this means the President is now ready to release the many other records about his past that he has gone to great lengths to conceal from the American public.”
Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, supported Russell’s position. “I really have to question the judgement of a man who spent millions of dollars to hide that.” Furthermore, he said, “Now, when will he release his other records, such as college records, law school records and his attorney disciplinary records?”
Obama is, however, bemused that a lot of unneeded attention is being paid to his citizenship when serious issues besetting America like tackling the budget deficit was yet unresolved. At a news conference, Obama said, “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshow and carnival barkers.”
But the issue goes beyond being a distraction. Jim Kuhnhenn of Associated Press, wrote that confronting doubters who harbour questions about Obama’s place of birth, the president chose to defy one of his White House’ rules: “Don’t get dragged into the news skirmish of the day.”
He said that the rising controversy about his birth, which barely stops short of xenophobic and even racist overtones, is geared towards sowing suspicions in the minds of millions of Americans. If the Obama camp lets such comments go unchallenged, those doubts would shadow his re-election campaign.
Also, Jim Jordan, a long time Democratic operative and veteran of numerous political campaigns agrees that the incident is a distraction. “It is likely that this was becoming a genuine distraction, that the question itself was seeping beyond the right fringe of the Republican Party and it was just time to demystify the whole thing,” he said. However, he added that, with the disclosure, “a large segment of the Republican Party, whether or not they concede it or even know it, looks foolish and conspiratorial.”
Similarly, Donalyn Dela Cruz, a spokeswoman for Neil Abercrombie, a Democratic governor, who said he knew Obama’s parents and had known Obama at a tender age, released a statement from the governor that supports Obama’s American citizenship. Abercrombie said; “Considering all the investigations that have been done and the information that has been provided, no rational person can question the president’s citizenship, adding, “We have found a way, once again, to confirm what we already knew.”
Controversy over Obama’s birthplace is not new. During the 2008 campaigns, it was a dominant issue. Like now, the debate got so heated that he had to release his computer-generated birth certificate. Hawaii’s computer-generated birth certificates carry a raised state seal and a signature stamp from the state registrar and are valid documents for obtaining driver’s licence and other government documents. But, the computer-generated version does not include such details as the signatures of the mother and the delivering doctor.
After Obama’s election, the state has been inundated with nearly 20 weekly requests for various birth records related to Obama, although that number has since dropped significantly.
It got to the point where the state’s legislators passed a law allowing state officials to ignore the repeated requests.
With the focus now shifting to demands for his academic and work records, it is likely that other states might soon start getting similar queries.