The opening of 2011 state legislative sessions has been accompanied by a spate of birther-related bills, the clearest indication yet that the controversy surrounding President Barack Obama’s place of birth will continue to simmer throughout his reelection campaign.
Lawmakers in at least 10 states have introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to provide some form of proof that they are natural-born citizens, a ballot qualification rule designed to address widespread rumors on the right that Obama was not born in the United States.
The notion that Obama does not meet constitutional qualifications to be president has dogged him since the early stages of the 2008 race, despite his campaign’s posting online his certificate of live birth in the state of Hawaii.
The birther controversy resurfaced in recent weeks when newly elected Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a friend of Obama’s parents, promised to investigate the issue and finally put to rest rumors that he was born in Kenya or Indonesia. Abercrombie later backtracked, citing the state’s privacy laws.