Will Obama birth certificate release put the issue to rest?

Barack Obama birth certificate
The birth certificate for President Obama released by the White House.
CBS/Mark Knoller
This is the document the "birthers" have clamored for -- President Obama's long-form certificate generated at the time of birth, with more details than the short-form summary the president previously had produced.

His failure to make this document public is what the birther movement has used to argue Mr. Obama is not a U.S. citizen. They say the short-form (even though certified by the state of Hawaii) could be a phony document created well after the fact.

Video: Obama on why he released the birth certificate

The obvious question is why now -- since this has been a "distraction" for a couple years? Trump has been making noise, of course -- though our polling shows a surprisingly high number of people -- 42 percent in April 2010 -- believed then Obama wasn't born here or they just don't know. Those numbers didn't change that much in our poll last week.

The White House is saying this is a big deal -- to get this long-form certificate from the state takes a special "exception" from the state of Hawaii. That explanation won't fly on the conservative blogs -- those websites have posted the long-form birth certificates from other people in Hawaii, who had written in to say they easily were able to get them.

It will be interesting to see if this finally puts the issue to rest --or if the birthers just move onto something else.


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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.

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