Despite our best efforts, the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama may not actually be an American citizen continues to roll on. Indeed, in the past week, a pair of prominent talk show hosts have provided a forum — and at times supportive words — to the notion that the president and officials in the state of Hawaii are hiding Obama’s "real" birth certificate from the public.
On numerous occasions, PolitiFact has debunked the notion that there’s anything fishy with either Obama’s birth certificate or his citizenship. Documents and numerous government officials have established that Obama was born in Hawaii. We won’t provide the blow-by-blow here, but our previous articles have explained the facts and debunked the rumors. Still, a tour through the airwaves of recent days shows that skeptics persist.
On July 15, Lou Dobbs, the CNN host, offered listeners a lengthy discussion of the issue on his radio show, syndicated by United Stations Radio Networks.
“This isn't one of those things that goes away quite as easily as I — at least I thought,” Dobbs explained, according to a transcript provided by Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog. “I thought we were talking about a bunch of folks that were on the left, or on the right, you know, the fringe that gets a little excited about, you know, tinfoil on their heads and that sort of thing. Well, guess what, folks? There are some issues here that should be really resolved. What's really crazy about this is all the president of the United States has to do is produce a birth certificate. That's all that has to be done, and it would be over.”
Dobbs did acknowledge that “I think most of us would say, as a matter of fact, that he is a natural-born citizen until proved otherwise.” However, he raised questions about the official birth certificate posted online by us, our friends at Factcheck.org and other news sites, including its use of the term “Caucasian” to describe the race of Obama’s mother.
“It's peculiar, I have to say," Dobbs told listeners. "But, you know, hell, I can tell you this, in a career in journalism and broadcasting, I've seen a lot of peculiar things that turned out to be just as true as they can be. And things that seemed as true as they ought to be were the phoniest son-of-a-guns in the world, so we'll find out. … But this is a peculiar little document, this certification of life birth that everyone is purporting to validate the president. I think there's some issues with this. I mean, it's peculiar.”
Then, on July 20, Rush Limbaugh chimed in. In his radio show, Limbaugh said, “Barack Obama has yet to have to prove he's a citizen. All he'd have to do is show a birth certificate,” according to a Media Matters for America transcript. The group also reported an earlier Limbaugh comment from June 10 that Obama “has one thing in common with God. Do you know what it is? God does not have a birth certificate either."
The issue has also sprung up in a number of other settings recently. Rick Sanchez led off his midday show on CNN on July 21 with a segment on the controversy, featuring conservative radio host Ben Ferguson and Viveca Novak of Factcheck.org. Meanwhile, in a July 10 health care town hall, Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., faced a tirade, captured on You Tube , by a birth-certificate-wielding constituent. To a background of catcalls, the congressman asserted, awkwardly, that Obama was indeed “a citizen of the United States.”
Don’t look for a quick resolution of the controversy. “We're going to keep talking about this until we get some straight answers,” Dobbs told his listeners.
Dobbs repeatedly makes Obama birth certificate claims his CNN colleagues call ‘total bull
,’” Media Matters for America posting, July 17, 2009,
“ Limbaugh: ‘God Does Not Have A Birth Certificate. Neither Does Obama, ” Media Matters for America posting, June 10, 2009.
“ Limbaugh: McCain/Powell Should Start Third Party And ‘Let Us Have The Republican Party Back ,” Media Matters for America posting, July 20, 2009.
You Tube video of Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del. , at a town hall.