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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Obama Could Debunk Some Rumors By Releasing His Birth Certificate.



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Having done some Obama-rumor debunking that got praise from Daily Kos (a sign of the apocalypse, no doubt), perhaps the Obama campaign could return the favor and help debunk a bunch of others with a simple step: Could they release a copy of his birth certificate?

Reporters have asked for it and been denied, and the state of Hawaii does not make such records public.

The campaign cited the birth certificate in their “Fact Check” on William Ayers, so presumably, someone in the campaign has access to it.

(Apparently the lack of birth certificate, which would state the time of birth on August 4, is driving the astrologers nuts, as they need his birth time to calculate… whatever it is they calculate.)

There are several (unlikely) rumors circulating regarding Obama’s birth certificate.

Rumor one: Obama was born in Kenya. Rather unlikely, as it would require everyone in his family to lie about this in every interview and discussion with those outside the family since young Obama appeared on the scene. However, if it were true, it would probably raise a major question of “does he qualify as a natural-born citizen”? If Obama were born outside the United States, one could argue that he would not meet the legal definition of natural-born citizen under because U.S. law at the time of his birth required his natural-born parent (his mother) to have resided in the United States for “ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.”

Ann Dunham was 18 when Obama was born – so she wouldn’t have met the requirement of five years after the age of 16.

(Interestingly, apparently there isn’t much paperwork on Obama’s parents’ marriage. Obama: From Promise to Power, page. 27: “Obama later confessed that he never searched for the government documents on the marriage, although Madelyn (Obama’s maternal grandmother) insisted they were legally married.” Also note that Obama’s father apparently was not legally divorced from his first wife back in Kenya at the time, a point of contention that ultimately led to their separation.)

Rumor Two: Obama’s middle name is not “Hussein” but “Muhammad.”

As Politifact notes, all available public records going back to 1991 refer to the candidate as “Barack H. Obama.”

It is theoretically possible, if not plausible, that Obama changed his name at some earlier point in his life, as he was sorting out his issues of culture and identity. But this would mean that Obama recognized how emotionally-charged the name “Muhammad” would become in American life long before the 9/11 attacks. And if you’re going to change your middle name from that of the central figure in Islam because you fear controversy, picking the last name of the highest-profile anti-American dictator in the Middle East (Saddam) doesn’t seem like a huge improvement.

Rumor Three: His mother did not want to name him after his father, and his birth certificate says “Barry.” Perhaps the most plausible of the rumors, as Obama was known by that name through much of his childhood and young adulthood. If true, this would spur a new round of “When Barry Became Barack” stories – a minor headache for the campaign, but hardly a major scandal.

If the concern of the Obama campaign is that the certificate includes his Social Security number or some other data that could be useful to identity thieves, that information could easily be blocked out and the rest released. (Although I wonder if identity thieves would find Obama a tougher than usual target, since using the name on purchases would almost inevitably bring closer scrutiny.)


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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