Now that President Obama has released his long-form birth certificate, the birthers can all rest easy that the president of the United States is in fact a “natural born citizen” and thus qualified for his job. Right?
Wrong. Basically, they’re still not completely convinced.
The questions keep coming. Like this: “Why did Obama spend millions of dollars to keep this document secret?” writes Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, on his group’s website.
Or this: “I’m sure someone will investigate this BC and prove it to be a fraud, like what they have tried to pass off in the past,” writes Worried Grammie on the Tea Party Nation site.
Orly Taitz, an original champion of birtherism, told New York Magazine after Wednesday’s big “reveal” that she’s willing to let the birth certificate issue go. Really?! Well, sort of. She called the newly released long-form document “a step in the right direction.”
Then Ms. Taitz elaborates: “As long as the experts are saying, ‘Yes, this is a genuine document that was created at the time [of Obama's birth],’ I would say that that would put this issue to rest.”
But wait, there’s more. Turns out when she says “this issue” she’s referring to place of birth, not eligibility to be president. According to New York Magazine, Taitz still questions whether Mr. Obama is a "natural-born citizen," as required by the Constitution – despite his Hawaiian birth and American mother – because his father was a British subject.
"Nobody knows, because the courts never took it upon themselves to provide a determination on this issue," Taitz says.
Another theory floating around is that Obama lost his citizenship, because he was adopted by his mother’s second husband, an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro, and then moved to Indonesia. There is no evidence that Obama was legally adopted by Mr. Soetoro, now deceased, but we do know that Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother and Soetoro for a few years as a child. Though living abroad does not necessarily mean losing one’s citizenship.
As for the $2 million in legal fees spent fighting the birthers in court, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin have wondered the same thing. On Wednesday, however, when Mr. Trump held a press conference to gloat about Obama’s document release, he did not bring up legal fees.
Why not? Perhaps because various news outlets have shot down the $2 million assertion. According to an article in the newspaper Roll Call last month, Obama has spent about $2.8 million on all post-election legal fees, not just fighting “eligibility” lawsuits.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan told the paper: "The campaign has incurred ordinary legal expenses related to the wind-down of its operations and other legal services which all campaigns incur and which are proportional to the unprecedented size of this campaign."
Mr. Sevugan said some legal fees were used to defend the campaign against "unmeritorious" suits, including one challenging Obama’s citizenship.
But, as Trump has suggested in recent days, there are so many areas ripe for questioning about Obama’s past, starting with his college records. Trump is now asking how Obama got into such prestigious schools as Columbia University and Harvard Law School, telling the Associated Press, “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible.”
Gaye Haehnel, writing on the Tea Party Nation website, takes the questions much further, and lists 23 areas ripe for inquiry, including his parents’ marriage license; his high school, college, and law school records; even his Illinois state Senate schedule.
As for college, one piece of “evidence” that Obama had been born aboard was that he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he began his college career, as a “foreign student.” Now the Obama skeptics want all the schools the president ever attended to throw open the books and show us everything they’ve got.
In his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama did acknowledge that he wasn’t always the best of students. But here’s a fact: Obama graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 1991 and was elected by his peers to be president of the Harvard Law Review, the first African-American to be so honored.