Born in the Good Ol' U.S. of ... Hey! - Pacific Standard

Born in the Good Ol' U.S. of ... Hey!

"If this document is forged, then they all are," concluded one probe into a fertile ground of conspiracy fans, about whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S.
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Six months after Barack Obama moved into the White House, and a full year after he first offered up the document for public perusal, his birth certificate conspiracy conspires on in cyberspace and now, in a "report the controversy" moment, on the mainstream media. The rumor has defied all normal news cycles (including the biggest chattering-class cycle of them all: campaign-election-inauguration) and its longevity probably says more now about the rumormongers than the piece of paper they've been debating — as seen here at a town hall meeting in Delaware with Republican Congressman Mike Castle.

But the rumor has fired up the GOP enough that Florida Republican Rep. Bill Posey has introduced a resolution to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 requiring candidates to produce legitimate certificates of having been born where they say they were born. There are currently 10 other GOP representatives backing him up.

Or maybe it's a lesson in the maddening two faces of the Internet, where a scanned record is instantly and democratically available to all but just as easy to blame on Photoshop.

At any rate, these Obama's-not-really-American rumors (which rarely seem to suggest what he is if he's not) have created the impression that actual, physical, official birth certificates are as hard to come by as a good solution to health care. Which, it turns out, they're not. Read more here.

At least, they're not if you want your own. Birth certificates aren't considered public records in most states, which means only you, or the right person close to you, has a right to see it. The federal government doesn't keep any vital records, but every state does, and the CDC will even tell you exactly where to go to request one.

If you wanted to request Obama's (that would be from the Hawaii Department of Health), normally you wouldn't have the right. But in these extenuating circumstances, state and health officials have come out to vouch for the authenticity of Obama's certificate, as have numerous independentfact-checkingorganizations that have physically touched the thing.

So if there is one definitive place to get these documents, and the people in charge there have verified Obama's birth in Honolulu at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, what else can they say?

"If this document is forged, then they all are," concluded a weary Politifact.com.

As for what the Constitution has to say about all this, it doesn't do much to define "natural-born," but it does say "all persons born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Which would seem to make Obama eligible for ... the job he already has.

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