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
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
Subscribe to the Week