Obama Speaks About His U.S. Birth Certificate

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

US President Barack Obama makes a statement on his birth certificate at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 27, 2011. (Getty Images/Jewel Samad/Getty)

This morning, the White House released President Obama's U.S. birth certificate. Obama said in a statement that he hoped this would end any debate over his birthplace, and allow those questioning his country of origin to move on to more important issues. Todd Zwillich, the Takeaway's Washington correspondent, spoke about whether or not this will be the death of the birthers. 

Guests:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Jim Colgan

Comments [5]

Charles

"Biglou" serves as anecdotal evidence to The Takeaway, that one effect of Obama's actions with regard to the long-form birth certificate will be to serve as a springboard for many on the left to complain that that the so-called "Birther" movement was all about racist attitudes, and that Obama is the innocent victim of racism.

We see this in many ways, right now.

Tavis Smiley complaining that the 2012 election campaign will be ugly and racially-charged.

Jesse Jackson complaining that there are racial motivations underlying everything from public sector union relations, to transportation policy, to religion and perhaps everything in between.

Joan Walsh at Salon.com, arguing that the Birther "movement" (such as it may be) is an essentially racist and bullying enterprise.

Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr, writing that the Birther movement is rooted in racism.

Governor Deval Patrick, Fareed Zakariya, Chris Matthews... It will take far too long to catalogue all of the prominent left-wing voices who will weigh in seriously on the Birther debate, using it to broadly smear Repbulicans. A smear that would be notable not only as a general allegation that all Republicans are nuts, but that they are racist nuts.

Take a test. Go to any left-wing website now, and see whether or not "the racism of the Birthers" is not prominently featured on the home page. I guarantee that you will lose count of all the references.

Then take the advanced test. Search the recent archives of the Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, the National Review Online, and any other leading conservative news source you'd care to name. And see whether there has ever been any equivalent "promotion" of Birtherism by the right.

What I have seen, gathering strength over the past several weeks, is that conservatives have become increasingly strident in their pre-empitve DENUNCIATION of Birtherism. No mainstream GOP leader wants to be tarnished with a silly and unconstructive conspiracy theory.

But again, what we see at The Takeaway is John Hockenberry's casual -- and false -- linking of a leader like John Boehner with Birtherism. And that part is what the left finds so attractive about this issue. That, plus the newly refueled "racism" argument.

Make no mistake about it; this is a story for the left-wing netroots, more than any other demographic. Obama's left wing wants to seem him fight, and this is how Obama "fights."

Apr. 27 2011 02:24 PM

The birther movement and Trump do not deserved the coverage afforded them in the press. Are there not enough issues of importance to examine that we need wall to wall coverage of a group of lunatics/racists and an egomaniac? Hunger, poverty, wealth distribution, foriegn policy, are just a few things that come to mind for public discourse. I doubt that facts will deter the birthers, but I can hope that the press and The Takeaway will move on.

Apr. 27 2011 12:27 PM
Charles

Incidentally, Pat Lowery rightly questioned John Hockenberry's careless (malicious?) citation of Speaker of the House John Boehner as someone who might not believe that Obama was born in Hawaii.

Back in February, Boehner appeared on Meet the Press and when questioned by David Gregory, Boehner indicated that it was his own belief that there was no reason to question the details of Obama's birth, but he resisted Gregory's exhortation to scold people who might have other beliefs:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/speaker-boehner-its-not-my-job-to-tell-americans-that-obama-is-not-a-muslim/

Really, John; why the inclusion of Boehner's name at all in this story?

Apr. 27 2011 11:40 AM
Charles

Obama said something that was quite incorrect; he indicated to the gathered White House Press Corps that the "Birther" story had been one of their lead stories for some period of time.

That's untrue. There has been very little coverage of "Birth certificate" stories in the Wall Street Journal. The "birther" theory has gotten almost no serious mention in places like the National Review Online, or the Weekly Standard.

Ann Coulter has made it one of her leading talking-points latley; that "Birtherism" as a news story is kept alive largely in the left-leaning press, as a strawman argument, to demonize and to ridicule all conservatives regardless of what they might understand to be the legal qualifications for President.

I actually see this faux-event as Obama catering to his left, not the right. The left loves this story, as a means to ridicule the opposition.

I have never subscribed to any "Birther" theories. I have always presumed that Obama was legally qualified under Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5. I also thought he was a lousy choice as President. I didn't vote for him in 2008 and I won't in 2012.

With respect to other questions, I simply thought that it was odd that someone on Obama's behalf didn't answer every question about his birth with a detailed, substantiated answer. Why Obama is doing that now, when he hasn't for the last two years, is a really interesting question; one that The Takeaway hasn't answered.

Apr. 27 2011 11:25 AM
Pat Lowery

There you go, John, your biases loud and clear. You were so intent on besmirching serious Republicans such as John Boehner, you failed to ask the big investigative question, "Why has it taken two years to release this certificate of birth?" I am sure there is a story behind that. A balanced news reporter would have asked that question.

Apr. 27 2011 10:44 AM

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