Obama’s campaign originally released his shorter birth certificate during the 2008 campaign, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy many in the so-called “birther” community who continued to have doubts.
The long-form certificate shows that Obama was born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961 — as did the short form — and it includes the signature of an attendant who witnessed the birth and a local registrar, as well as a certificate number.
President Obama announced the release in a press conference, calling the controversy a distraction from serious issues.
In a statement on the White House Web site, communications director Dan Pfeiffer said the long-form certificate is generally not provided to those inquiring, but that the state of Hawaii did so in response to the large number of requests.
“The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country,” Pfeiffer wrote. “It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country. Therefore, the president directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long-form birth certificate. They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting.”
Pfeiffer noted that the release of the long-form certificate should not be seen as an acknowledgment that the short form wasn’t sufficient, but rather as a good faith effort to put the issue to rest.
Still, many political analysts are dubious that many in the birther community will accept the document as the be-all, end-all.
Potential GOP presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump has been relentlessly questioning the president’s birthplace in recent weeks, and has built up a significant amount of support in early polls of the contest.
If nothing else, the release of Obama’s long-form certificate shows the impact that Trump is having on the debate.
Democrats have long maintained that the continuing controversy helps them in the long run, but over the last few days, the issue has begun consuming the political debate, even as important budget issues loom.
The president is set to record an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show today, an appearance that will undoubtedly touch on the continuing controversy.