TODAY'S QUESTION: Why do you believe President Obama's citizenship is still being discussed?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | 3:10 p.m. CDT; updated 3:44 p.m. CDT, Friday, April 15, 2011

This article has been re-edited in its entirety to better reflect that President Barack Obama's citizenship has been proven, yet political figures continue to claim otherwise.

Last Thursday, possible presidential candidate Donald Trump said he has "real doubts" that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. 

Article I of the Constitution states that only natural born citizens can be president.

Trump said in an interview on NBC that he is convinced Obama's unwillingness to produce his birth certificate is enough proof that the president was not born in the U.S.

Chiyome Fukino, the former director of Hawaii's Department of Health, said that she has personally inspected the birth certificate twice, and that it "absolutely exists." Also, the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13, 1961, and the Honolulu Star Bulletin, on Aug. 14, 1961, both ran birth announcements listing Obama's birth Aug. 4 of that year, according to the NBC news report.

Some political analysts say Trump's "birther" accusations could be a way to calculate his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination. 

Why do you believe President Obama's citizenship is still being discussed?


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Andrew Miller April 13, 2011 | 1:48 p.m.


Let's not forget that has also confirmed the validity of the certificate. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out a number of cases that were based on the premise that Obama is not eligible to hold the office. Not to mention the Hawaiian newspapers that have Obama's birth announcement posted. The following is the report from the Congressional Research Service, which concludes Barack Obama was born in the United States, and has a birth certificate on file in accordance with policy and procedures. Those who choose not to believe these irreparable facts do so out of pure ignorance. It's racist, and a true disgrace to this nation.

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke April 13, 2011 | 2:11 p.m.

Andrew - check your sources and who they work for. Injecting race into this debate is unecessary and makes your arguments look weak. Its a legitimate question and had he addressed it as openly as other candidates have it would be a non-issue. Why spend money to fight producing it if it can cause you no harm?

(Report Comment)
Miriam Mata April 13, 2011 | 3:49 p.m.

To: Andrew Miller

..." When Maskell drafted his memorandum and affixed his signature, it is unlikely that he had any concept of the terrible consequences of his words. If only he had folded it into a paper airplane and tossed it out the window…"

(Report Comment)
Robert Stinnett April 13, 2011 | 4:09 p.m.

Racism. Pure and simple.

(Report Comment)
Robin Nuttall April 13, 2011 | 5:56 p.m.

Ditto on the racism. He has a foreign sounding name and he is not white, therefore he cannot have been born here.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 13, 2011 | 6:10 p.m.

Send him to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger April 13, 2011 | 7:27 p.m.

My response keys on the question's wording, to wit "possible Presidential candidate Donald Trump." That he is even being considered by anyone (aside from himself) is testament to the blockheadedness that prevails today. That same quality--amped up by the fact that Obama is half-white-- fuels the loons who question the his birth status. Sad that we even have to have a "Today's Question" on this.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Miller April 13, 2011 | 8:47 p.m.

Ellie - I have checked my sources. I provided the link for the CRS Report, and if you would like to go to, the certificate is displayed and confirmed as legitimate. Even the Governor of Hawaii who was at the time, Republican, confirmed that the certificate is legitimate and was filed in accordance with state policies and procedures.

If it's not race, what is it about this president that is so different that 51% of the GOP believes he is not a citizen?

You are choosing to reject evidence provided by, the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. Supreme court, the State of Hawaii, and any other real "fact" people.

What he has spent money is on lawyers, who, under law, must be present to defend the many ignorant suits brought foreword against him.

I implore you to see reason and try to fight real issues facing America today.

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke April 14, 2011 | 8:53 a.m.

Thank you, common sense, for understanding what I meant by 'check your sources and who they work for'.
One reason this is not an issue of race;
“Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his advisers are doing their best to brush aside questions — raised in the liberal blogosphere — about whether he is qualified under the Constitution to be president. But many legal scholars and government lawyers say it's a serious question with no clear answer. “ … “This issue has been raised before in the presidential campaigns of Barry Goldwater, born in Arizona territory not the United States, and George Romney, born in Mexico. …
Senator McCain's case, a U.S. military base in the Panama Canal Zone…”

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke April 14, 2011 | 8:55 a.m.

odd those 'legal scholars' and 'government lawyers' no longer think its a serious question.

(Report Comment)
Brian Wallstin April 14, 2011 | 9:24 a.m.

I really wish my honorable friends at the Missourian had the good sense not to follow the tabloid herd by allowing this question to be posed. It's the journalistic equivalent of walking outside, lifting up a rock and reporting what you see. I could go on, but then I'd just be encouraging bad journalism.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock April 14, 2011 | 10:14 a.m.

The user posting as "common sense" was taken down for not following the policy of posting under a real name. That person was contacted by email, but I was unable to verify the name that was given to me.

Also, in response to Brian Wallstin, our intent was this: The "birther" argument, despite being debunked for quite some time now, keeps coming up. Our intent with this question was to have a conversation as to why it keeps coming up.

Now, did we execute this in the best way? No. That's something we'll work on to do better next time.

But I'll stand by this piece, because I think it's important to have the conversation about why this keeps coming back up. That, to me, is good journalism.

Good to hear from you, old friend. Hopefully we can continue this conversation over a Booche's burger one of these Friday afternoons soon.

Jake Sherlock
Opinion Editor

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2011 | 10:16 a.m.

There are 6 people I can think of off the top of my head that I simply do not trust because of their past behaviors/actions:

Geraldo Rivera
Al Sharpton
Dick Morris
Mary Ratliff
Mary Hussman

and Donald Trump is #6.

There's probably more.............

PS: I don't believe racism is involved in this non-issue. The fact is that the President DOES have an unusual pedigree compared to most US presidents, and he has lived in places well outside the US while a very young boy. I view this as the same scab-picking we see from ALL opposition parties....Kennedy and his philandering, Carter and his brother Billy, Ford and his unsteadiness on his feet, GHWB and "no new taxes", Clinton and the stained dress, and GWB and his flight service. It's all nonsense.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 14, 2011 | 10:34 a.m.

Hank - Don Trump will never be elected President of the United States; unless he does something about his hair.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 14, 2011 | 10:49 a.m.

Send him to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
Brian Wallstin April 14, 2011 | 10:51 a.m.

Hey Jake - Good to hear from you, and, yes, every conversation goes better at Booches, so let's plan on it ...

For now, I'll just say I'd agree with you if the commentary addressed "why this keeps coming back up." I think it would have been easy to predict that any question on this topic, no matter how carefully worded, would devolve into a re-litigation of Obama's citizenship, with false and disproved allegations once again allowed to pollute the discourse.

Hope you're well ....


(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke April 14, 2011 | 12:39 p.m.

I believe the intent of this requirement was to insure that the President would be loyal to his country. If he identified with another country he may not be entirely loyal to the U.S.
Loyalty is the bigger issue; the birth certificate question legitimizes the discussion.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 14, 2011 | 1:26 p.m.

It sounds like someone needs an excuse to legitimize a discussion.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 14, 2011 | 1:31 p.m.

Yes, and the birth certificate facts end the discussion.

Listen people, if there was a shred of evidence that Obama was Kenyan, don't you think good ol' Hillary would have used that to foxtrot into the White House?

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jacobs April 14, 2011 | 3:32 p.m.

As uncomfortable as it may be to some, this "zombie lie" (even facts can't kill it) has an undeniable racist slant.

You know something's up when members of the Missouri General Assembly-whose responsibilities clearly end at the state's borders-try to introduce legislation requiring all candidates for President or Vice President to produce proof of their U.S. citizenship. Redundant (hello, Constitution!) and way beyond their purview. Is it to late to require an IQ test be administered to anyone seeking political office in Missouri? They really know how to put the MO in moron.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Miller April 14, 2011 | 5:15 p.m.

Ellie, it's still an issue. You can't seriously compare suspicions of John McCain's birth to Barack Obama's.

I encourage you to give me a piece of evidence that proves he was born in a place other than Hawaii.

I have provided you with statements from the highest, most bi-partisan research groups our country has. Miriam Mata, and probably yourself, have both chosen to take information on blogs and consider it fact.

No information is perfect...but I'll take the Supreme Court and Congressional Research Service and and the Hawaii State Government over a blogpost any day....and anyone with a good mind...or any mind at all....would agree with that.

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke April 14, 2011 | 6:06 p.m.

Andrew - I seriously do make that comparison. Why do you feel they are not equal? What about this screams 'Race' to you? The same concerns of home country were raised of other presidents.
I don't feel a birth certificate would make him any more or less loyal. My only concern is how this is being handled. How it is now being dismissed as nonsense when just a few years ago, with a different candidate, was taken so seriously and needed to be fully vetted. If there are concerns, answer them. I stand by that would be less expensive than a lawyer.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 14, 2011 | 6:59 p.m.

Ellie, that has to be one of the least comprehensible passages that I have read in recent memory.

(Report Comment)
David Karr April 14, 2011 | 7:17 p.m.

To Jake Sherlock: Actually, no--it is not "good journalism." It is shameful journalism.

---What you describe as "journalism" consists of a short set of non-analytical single-sentence observations, headed by a call to readers to jump in. This is merely pot-stirring; it's designed to produce forum traffic. You present the issue as if there are reasonable "sides," when there are not.

--Please explain why you feel this is good journalism. Let's have a debate about that; I think that'd be a better service to readers than this trash.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 14, 2011 | 7:38 p.m.

Um, David...

I think this is one of those things that pops up when you hit the OPINION page. You know about opinions, right? You know about what OPINIONs are like.

So come on. Be fair here. This is the Missourian's equivalent of "Trib Talk" and Ellie is like one of their featured callers, one so special that the staff found it necessary to share the charm of their voice with you. If you have broadband and paid your subscription you can even hear the "Trib Talkers" talk. It's much funnier then.

I want to hear more people who think this is an issue.

(Report Comment)

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