The video: On Wednesday morning, President Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate to a group of stunned reporters. (Watch his press conference below.) The document, which is also available at the White House website, "shows conclusively that Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii," says Michael Shear at The New York Times. Previously, the president had only made available a copy of the short-form certificate. The conspiracy theory that Obama was actually born in Kenya, and thus is not eligible to be president, has been debunked time and again, but has still captured media attention in recent weeks, largely due to Donald Trump, who claimed he had sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to settle the issue. (For his part, Trump said Wednesday that he was "proud" to be a factor in Obama's decision to release the document, and said of the certificate, "I hope it's true.") In brief remarks of his own, Obama said it's time to focus on serious issues like the budget, and avoid the conspiracy-spinning distractions of "carnival barkers." "We do not have time for this kind of silliness," he said. "We've got better stuff to do."
The reaction: It's "surreal and weird and faintly ridiculous" that it's come to this, says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. But even though Obama has now addressed the question of his birthplace directly, his doubters won't be satisfied. "Just as it is widely attested in the sociological literature that messianic and apocalyptic cults frequently become more intense in their belief, the same pattern will now create so-called 'long-form birthers.'" Indeed, birtherism will survive, says David Weigel at Slate, though "I'd expect the focus to shift now to Obama's college records and writings." Well, while the White House's approach may not quelch this issue altogether, says Chris Mooney at Discover Magazine, it may at least succeed "in driving birtherism entirely out of polite discourse," which would be a big victory in itself. Watch Obama's press conference below:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- The constant struggle of running a family farm in 21st century America
- How to stop misogynists from terrorizing the world of gamers
Subscribe to the Week