‘I Haven’t Seen Any Birth Certificate’
Monday, February 23, 2009 at 9:10 am
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is getting heat today for his response to a question about President Obama’s citizenship, delivered to a conspiracy-minded citizen at a town hall meeting.
Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate. You have to be born in America to be president.
The senator’s office is explaining that Shelby “laid out the Constitutional qualifications for the Presidency and said that, while he hasn’t personally seen the President’s birth certificate, he is confident that the matter has been thoroughly examined.” The newspaper is standing by its account of the senator’s answer, which really did give the questioner some rope. After all, Shelby didn’t “personally see” George W. Bush’s birth certificate, either. He is able to see a 2007 Hawai’i document confirming that the president was born in Honolulu (not, as conspiracy theorists say, that he was born abroad and given a new Hawai’ian document when he returned home) and two 1961 newspaper announcements of the president’s birth.
Does Shelby deserve the (fairly low-level) heat he’s getting? Well, imagine if a Democrat (or Republican) had answered a 9/11 conspiracy question by saying “I’ve never seen proof of controlled demolitions, but they say the twin towers were brough down by crashing planes.” That would be giving the conspiracy theorists some ground.* Sure enough, some Obama “Birthers” are following up Shelby’s town hall statement by asking him to investigate the “controversy.”
*In this video, in which he’s hounded by 9/11 conspiracy theorists, Al Franken demonstrates how to blow off the questions and questioners.
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