The long form birth certificate: political winners and losers

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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President Barack Obama finally announced he’s releasing his long-form birth certificate Wednesday morning after years of speculation about the issue metastasized into a major political phenomenon he could no longer ignore.

The release is a coup for real estate mogul Donald Trump, but others are faring poorly – politically speaking.


Donald Trump

The real estate mogul and potential presidential candidate made Obama’s birthplace a signature issue of his campaign. Now he’s forced the leader of the free world to respond in a high-profile way.

After over two years of Obama’s aides downplaying the issue, only a personality like Trump, with his knack for publicity and skill on television, could have turned the issue like he did.

A key question going forward, however, is how Trump will deal with the issue now that Obama has answered him.

He can still push his recently launched quest for Obama’s academic records, and the issue will raise his profile even higher.

Matt Drudge

The conservative Drudge Report publisher went against the grain and picked up yet another victory in driving this story. Leading the site with headlines like, “SHOCK POLL: ONLY 38% SAY OBAMA ‘DEFINITELY’ BORN IN USA” there was no way for a modern, traffic-hungry news corps to ignore.

The American People

Hopefully, the release of the document resolves the issue, ending a divisive episode in which tens of millions of Americans doubted whether their president was elected legitimately.

It also allows news coverage to move on to pressing substantive issues like the economy and gas prices.


President Barack Obama and his White House team

There’s no escaping blame for a White House that withheld a simple, unremarkable document for over two years, giving cover to conspiracy theorists.

Obama was forced to answer the issue, but in doing so provokes questions of why his “most open and transparent” administration waited so long.

Jerome Corsi

Corsi’s forthcoming book is titled, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” It’s no longer a question, and the release of the document destroys the key fact driving the entire issue.

Conspiracy theorists, and potentially Corsi, may never be satisfied, but the public is likely to move on.

Gullible political reporters

As the issue heated up, a series of high-profile reporters wrote it was actually illegal for Hawaii to release the long form birth certificate.

That turned out to be wrong.

“Hawaii law prevents the long-form record from being photocopied or released to anyone — including Obama,” Politico’s Ben Smith and Byron Tau wrote on April 22. “Obama himself would only be permitted to inspect it – not copy it or post it online.”

“Those documents are state government property that can’t be released to anyone, even the president himself, said Joshua Wisch, special assistant to the state attorney general. Obama would be able to inspect his birth records if he visited the Health Department in person, but original records of live birth are never released, he said,” the AP said in an April 23 story by reporter Mark Niesse.

NBC’s Michael Isikoff made the false report as well, quoting Wisch saying something similar to what he told the AP.

Of course, it begs the question of why Hawaii’s top law enforcement official was making the claim in the first place.