Tuesday, February 24, 2009

President Obama's birth certificate

Though for well-informed folks the issue has long been put to rest, some have persisted in questioning President Obama's eligibility for the presidency on the grounds that he may not have U.S. citizenship. Fact: He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, August 4, 1961--that would definitely mean he was born on U.S. soil. His mother was a U.S. citizen. That means that by any reasonable definition, he is a "natural born citizen" of the United States.

The question of eligiblity for the presidency has come up before. John McCain was not born in the United States (as that is generally understood) but was born at a U.S. military installation, in Panama (and to U.S. parents). So he was generally accounted eligible. Questions have also arisen about George Romney, Chester Arthur, and others, who were--or may have been--born outside of the United States, though born as citizens because their parents were U.S. citizens. (George Romney was born in Mexico.) Questions were even raised about Barry Goldwater because he was born in Arizona before it became a state. Wikipedia has an article on the issue, noting among other things that the precise meaning of "natural born citizen" (the constitutional requirement) has never been determined (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-born_citizen).

Recently, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama was reported as saying that, though people claim Obama was born in Hawaii, "I haven't seen any birth certificate," and "You have to be born in America to be president."

Well, here's Senator Shelby's chance. What follow are photos of a certified copy of Obama's birth certificate, taken by researchers for FactCheck.org. Their full report can be found at http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html.

They also include photos of a birth announcement that appeared in a Honolulu newspaper on August 12, 1961, again confirming the August 4 birth of the boy who would become President Obama. I've also reproduced that announcement below.

Some still ask, "Why can't we see the original complete form filled out at the hospital in 1961?" Apparently, Hawaii law provides only for requesting a certified copy, not for getting a photograph of the original form. I believe that's typical of many states. For those who don't want to believe the evidence, even a photograph of the original paperwork might not be sufficient. They might want to go to Honolulu, see if they can get the authorities to let them see the paperwork, maybe even get permission to do tests on the paper to determine its age, etc., etc. But for most of us, a legally certified copy, along with a birth announcement appearing a few day's after Barack's birth, should be persuasive enough. I think that's also called "sanity."

(Click on any of the photos below to see larger versions.)

The birth announcement:

The column in which the birth announcement appears (it's hard to see, but it's the fourth announcement from the bottom):

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