Obama IS a U.S. citizen, says exasperated White House

Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:16pm EDT
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By Ross Colvin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A vocal group of conspiracy theorists known as "birthers" are riling the White House with their persistent claim that Barack Obama is not an American citizen and therefore ineligible to be president.

The claim that the United States' first African-American president was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, first emerged during his presidential campaign, but it has garnered more media attention in the summer "silly season," a traditionally slow news period when many Americans are on vacation.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs looked exasperated at his briefing on Monday when a reporter asked him, "Is there anything you can say that will make the birthers go away?"

"If I had some DNA, it wouldn't assuage those that don't believe he was born here," Gibbs replied. "But I have news for them and for all of us: The president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the 50th state of the greatest country on the face of the earth. He's a citizen.

"A year-and-a-half ago I asked that the birth certificate be put on the Internet because Lord knows, you got a birth certificate and you put it on the Internet, what else could be the story?"

The digitally scanned copy of the "certification of live birth" from Hawaii's Department of Health shows Obama was born in Honolulu at 7:24 p.m. on August 4, 1961.

The nonpartisan FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, examined, handled and photographed the original certificate in an effort to put the controversy to rest.

"We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the USA, just as he has always said."   Continued...

<p>President Barack Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House to the Rose Garden to speak on health care reform in Washington July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed</p>