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Donald Trump's "birtherism" gets a boost from Palin; WH official calls Trump a "sideshow"

Sarah Palin discusses Donald Trump on Fox News, April 10, 2011. Fox

Sarah Palin praised Donald Trump over the weekend for "getting to the bottom of" President Obama's citizenship status, though she said she thinks he was born in Hawaii.

"I appreciate that the Donald wants to spend his resources in getting to the bottom of something that so interests him and many Americans," the former Alaska governor and potential Republican 2012 contender said.

Trump - the business magnate, reality television host, and possible GOP presidential candidate - has made waves in recent weeks by vociferously questioning the president's American citizenship, despite the fact that such "birther"-inspired theories have been long since thoroughly debunked.

In a Saturday interview on Fox News's Justice with Judge Jeanine, Palin stopped short of saying she believed the claims, but said "more power to" Trump if he wanted to use his considerable resources to look into the matter.

"He's not just throwing stones from the sidelines, he's digging in, he's paying for researchers to find out why President Obama would have spent $2 million to not show his birth certificate," Palin told host Jeanine Pirro.

"I think that he was born in Hawaii because there was the birth announcement put in the newspaper - but obviously if there's something there that the president doesn't want people to see on that birth certificate, that he's going to great lengths to make sure that it isn't shown, and that's kind of perplexing for a lot of people," she said.

Meanwhile, on ABC's "This Week" yesterday, White House senior adviser David Plouffe called Trump's recent claims "sideshow behavior" and said he had "zero chance" of being elected president.

"There may be a small part of the country that believes these things, but mainstream Americans think it's a sideshow," Plouffe said, of the birther issue. "And what they want our leaders to do is focus squarely on the issues right in front of us: how we're going to keep growing the we keep our people safe, how do we make sure we're going to win the future by focusing on things like education and innovation? So that's what they want us to focus on."

He added that he hoped Trump continued to do well in presidential straw polls.

"I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in some polls and given his behavior and spectacle the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising," Plouffe told said. "There is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job."

In a recent interview with NBC News, a former Hawaiian state health official who twice reviewed Mr. Obama's birth certificate called the renewed discussion over the president's birthplace "ludicrous," and affirmed - for the third time - that that his original birth certificate was "real."

"It's kind of ludicrous at this point," said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, former director of Hawaii's Department of Health, told NBC in a phone interview.

Fukino said she has examined the president's "record of live birth" on multiple occasions. (The document circulated on the internet is Mr. Obama's "certificate of live birth," which is a shorter version of the original.) The birth certificate, she said, is kept in a bound volume in Hawaii's Department of Health, and features the signature of the doctor who delivered Mr. Obama.

"It is real, and no amount of saying it is not, is going to change that," Fukino said, in 2009, after the second time she examined the document.

Fukino said that the "certification of live birth" is the standard document given to any Hawaii resident who requests his or her birth certificate.

"What he got, everybody got," Fukino said. "He put out exactly what everybody gets when they ask for a birth certificate."

Joshua Wisch, a spokesman for the Hawaii attorney general's office, told NBC that Hawaii law does not permit the release of such "vital records" as the original "record of live birth" to anyone, including that person whose birth is in question.

"It's a Department of Health record and it can't be released to anybody," Wisch told NBC. He also said the original document could not be photocopied. Obama could personally view his record of live birth at the Hawaii health department, but the only record that can be obtained and/or released to the public is the "certification of live birth" - which is the document that various sources have obtained and published online.

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