Obama Birth Certificate Fuss "Ridiculous"

Anti-Obama and right-wing bloggers have been throwing more and more criticism against the wall to see what sticks. One of their more fanciful charges is that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, born in Hawaii in 1961, is not a U.S. citizen and therefore cannot be elected president.

In the face of Internet insinuations that the Illinois Senator was actually born somewhere outside the U.S. and therefore does not fall within Article II of the Constitution ("A natural born Citizen") and the 14th Amendment, Barack Obama's campaign has posted a copy of his birth certificate on its rumor-discrediting Web site, www.fightthesmears.com. But that still isn't good enough for some skeptics.

Some Web chatterers question the authenticity of the document, pointing to the lack of a state seal on the online copy. Some also suggest a black rectangle (a redacted identification number, obscured by the state for security reasons) hides something more revealing.

Earlier this week The Honolulu Advertiser reported that Hawaii's Department of Health receives requests weekly for a copy of Obama's birth certificate. [It was their concern about the unending requests that prompted the Obama campaign to take action.]

Officials said that under the law only people with a "tangible interest" (parents, spouses or other relatives, or the subjects themselves) could obtain a copy.

"Our state law is very firm on information on vital records," Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo told the Advertiser. "You cannot receive someone else's birth certificate — to protect the person's confidential information."

As for the persistent accusations that Obama is not a U.S. citizen, Okubo replied, "It's pretty ridiculous."

The ruckus recalls a similar controversy during the GOP primaries when the fact that John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone — when his father was serving at a U.S. military base there — caused some to claim he was ineligible to serve as president, not having been "natural born" on U.S. soil.

A bipartisan team of lawyers declared earlier this year that McCain's 1936 birth to U.S. citizens outside the continental United States did not disqualify him from being president.
  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.

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