Friday, 22 April 2011

Michele Bachmann Dismisses Birth Certificate Issue

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Tea Party darling Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) recently stated that she was satisfied with President Obama’s certificate of live birth. During an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopolous, Rep. Bachmann declared that the so-called “birther” issue was “over” and that the controversy was settled.

The following transcript of the exchange is taken from the ABC News website:

Stephanopoulos: Well I have the president’s certificate right here. It’s certified, it’s got a certification number. It’s got the registrar of the state signed. It’s got a seal on it. And it says "[T]his copy serves as prima facie evidence of the fact of birth in any court proceeding."

Bachmann: Well, then that should settle it.

Stephanopoulos: So it’s over?

Bachmann: That’s what should settle it. I take the president at his word and I think — again I would have no problem and apparently the president wouldn’t either. Introduce that, we’re done. Move on.

Stephanopoulos: Well this has been introduced. So this story is over?

Bachmann: Well as long as someone introduces it I guess it’s over.

Although she recently displayed an embarrassing lack of knowledge of key events in the history of the American founding, surely Representative Bachmann knows that there is no way that George Stephanopoulos has a copy of President Obama’s birth certificate, because one has never been produced.

As explained in an article in The New American:

The “certification of live birth” found on the Internet, which purports to prove that Obama was born in Hawaii, has been dismissed as valid proof, as it is a “short-form” document, as opposed to the “long-form” document that lists the hospital and attending physician. “Short-form” documents are easily obtainable. In addition to Obama’s missing birth certificate, other documentation that has been concealed includes kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school records; college records; Harvard Law Review articles; passport; medical records; Illinois State Bar Association records; baptism records; and adoption records.

It was this “Certification of Live Birth” that Stephanopolous was offering as proof of President Obama’s qualification to be President per the mandates of Article II. This document, purporting to prove that President Obama was born in Hawaii as he claims, is nothing more than a synopsis of information supposedly contained in a longer form (the aptly named “long-form birth certificate). It is not the document the ABC host implied it was, however.

This more complete record is reportedly filed away in some secure Hawaiian vital statistics vault. While a former Hawaiian health department official claims to have seen the original form, it has never been produced and likely never will be unless the President himself orders it to be.

Perhaps the pantomime by Stephanopolous was intended to trick Bachmann into mistaking the Certificate of Live Birth for the long-form birth certificate, or perhaps it was an honest mistake. Either way, Michele Bachmann quickly accepted the proffered document as persuasive of the true location of President Obama’s nativity.

Whether the events were part of a ruse or a genuine attempt to settle a controversy, the Tea Party faithful whose ardent opposition to the current administration propelled Bachmann’s rise to national political prominence are not likely to take lightly the esteemed lawmaker’s ready retreat on such a critical issue.

The most likely explanation (especially in light of her previous historical gaffe) is that Representative Bachmann is not familiar with the distinction between the two competing records of live birth and their importance to the larger debate regarding President Obama’s constitutional eligibility for the office he holds.

There is another possible explanation for Michele Bachmann’s ready dismissal of the “birther” question. It may be that she just doesn’t care about the implications of the matter and she doesn’t want to be bogged down in the qualification quagmire on the eve of a run for the Oval Office. Evidence of this nonchalance is found in her comments made to Fox News as quoted in a piece in The Hill.

"This is the easiest problem to solve," Bachmann said. "The president just has to give the proof and verification and there it goes. Either it's real, or it's not."

Bachmann's comments came in response to a question about real estate mogul Donald Trump's championing of the "birther" cause on the campaign trail. 

Trump, who's weighing a presidential run next year, has repeatedly called on Obama to produce his birth certificate and insists that questions over whether the president was born in the U.S. are legitimate.

For her part, Bachmann didn't specifically address Trump's recent comments, but said, "[T]he president has offered his certificate of birth and I take him at his word."

"Everybody should put their birth certificate on the table and not worry about it," she said. "It doesn't have to be a toxic issue. Put your birth certificate in, end of story. We have a lot bigger fish to fry than this."

That kind of indifference will not sit well with Bachmann’s base, particularly if they see it as inspired by her ambition for higher office.

It is ironic that Representative Bachmann’s casual dismissal of the “natural born citizen” issue may alienate her from the very bloc of activists that could have carried her all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue — with her own birth certificate in hand.

Photo of Michele Bachmann: AP Images

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