Even MSNBC’s pro-Obama host Chris Matthews has joined the crowd calling on the president to release his long-form birth certificate to settle the controversy surrounding his birthplace once and for all, saying “if it exists, why not put it out?”
Matthews has been critical of the so-called “birthers” who insist that Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is ineligible to be president. Some say he was actually born in Kenya, his father’s home country.
The majority of Americans discount that conspiracy theory. Hawaii state officials insist he was born on the tropical isles, and a legal ad taken out in a local newspaper announcing Obama’s birth days after he was born supports that claim.
Still, many find it interesting that Obama has continued to refuse to release his long-form birth certificate, and Obama joins just a handful of presidents who have no declared place of birth as a significant national landmark.
Instead, during the 2008 campaign, Obama’s aides issued a “certification of live birth,” a summary document that does not include the name of the hospital where he was born or the physician who delivered him, information that would be included on the long-form birth certificate.
Newly elected Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, re-ignited the birther controversy when he said he would ask the state attorney general’s office and health officials how he can make public more of Obama’s birth documentation from Aug. 4, 1961.
Obama easily could release the document himself or ask state officials to do so.
During Matthews’ “Hardball” program on Monday night, the MSNBC hosted cited a New York Times poll from April that found that only 58 percent of respondents believe Obama was born in the United States, while 20 percent believe he was not, and 23 percent are unsure.
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“I am not a birther,” Matthews declared. “I am an enemy of the birthers.”
But he held up the long-form birth certificate of someone who was born the day before Obama, and compared it with the shorter version Obama has released, which to the birthers, he said, “is evidence that he really ain’t one of us.
“Why has the president himself not demanded that they put out the official document?” Matthews said.
“Why doesn’t the governor just say, snap it up, whoever’s there at the department of records, send me a copy right now? Why doesn’t the president just say, send me a copy right now? Why doesn’t [White House press secretary Robert] Gibbs and [senior adviser David] Axelrod say, let’s just get this crappy story dead? Why not do it?
“The department out there just said the other day that there is such a thing. It exists. The original document of his birth is available. They have it in storage, they said. And if it exists, why not put it out?
“Will there be any harm done by releasing the original document?”
After a discussion with panelists Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune and David Corn of Mother Jones, Matthews concluded: “I’m sure we’ve gotten to the bottom of this as much as mortal men can.”
But Obama’s critics — many of whom don’t buy in the birther theory he was born outside the United States — still note a pattern of secrecy surrounding much of Obama’s life before he entered politics. They note that many Obama never has unveiled many key documents that presidential candidates released to the press and public.
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- During the presidential campaign, Obama released just one brief document detailing his personal health, while GOP opponent John McCain released what he said was his complete medical file totaling more than 1,500 pages. The Obama campaign eventually released some routine lab-test results and electrocardiograms for Obama.
- Obama refused to offer his official papers as a state legislator in Illinois and did not produce correspondence, such as letters from lobbyists and other information, from his days in the Illinois State Senate.
- Obama did not release his client list as an attorney or his billing records.
- Obama declined to release his college records from Occidental College, where he studied for two years before transferring to Columbia University.
- Obama’s campaign refused to give Columbia University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in political science, permission to release his transcripts. Such transcripts would list the courses Obama took, and his grades.
- Obama’s college dissertation, reportedly titled “Soviet Nuclear Disarmament,” has disappeared from Columbia’s archives.
- Obama did not agree to the release of his application to the Illinois state bar, which would clear up intermittent allegations that his application to the bar may have been inaccurate.
- Obama has not released records from his time at Harvard Law School.
- During his campaign for president, Obama promised he would make his White House “the most open and transparent administration in history.”
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