An issue from the 2008 presidential campaign that was thought to be put to rest last year has reared its ugly head again -- is President Obama really an American citizen? Some say the birth certificate that shows he was born in Hawaii is a fake, and that he was really born in Kenya, thus making him ineligible to be President.
The controversy was stirred up earlier this month at a town hall meeting held by Delaware Republican Rep. Mike Castle:
The cable news networks, with 24 hours of programming to fill, took the ball and ran with it, devoting several segments to the controversy. On CNN, anchor Rick Sanchez produced a copy of the birth certificate to show it is indeed legitimate. Over on MSNBC, Chris Matthews brought on California Rep. John Campbell, who is one of the Congressmen sponsoring a bill which "would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate." Matthews called the bill "crazy."
On the radio side, Rush Limbaugh joked, "God does not have a birth certificate, and neither does Obama -- not that we've seen." And on his radio show when a caller said Obama was really a Kenyan, conservative CNN host Lou Dobbs said, "Certainly your view can't be discounted."
But it was discounted in August 2008, when factcheck.org published this: "FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false."
So that should be it, right? According to CNN contributor Roland S. Martin, the answer is an unfortunate no. "The nut jobs that continue to promote this story are wacky, right-wing radio and TV talk shows hosts and no-credibility bloggers. They have latched onto this story like bloodsucking leeches, and actually want us to believe this story has legs."
Martin predicts they won't drop it, regardless of the evidence. "Do you actually believe these wackos will stop there? They will then accuse the president of doctoring the document and ordering up the state of Hawaii and federal officials to create the birth certificate. The next thing you know, one of those nut job right-wingers in Congress -- and yes, there are left-wing nut jobs as well -- will demand a federal investigation into the production of the birth certificate."