Fifty-two percent of Republicans in Mississippi and 45 percent in Alabama think that President Obama is a Muslim — even though he has repeatedly said that he is Christian. Those numbers come from a new Public Policy Polling survey, which also found that 37 percent of Republicans still believe Obama was born abroad — despite the fact that in April 2011 he released his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii. Those aren't the only rumors and conspiracy theories about the president that never seem to die, despite strong evidence to the contrary. Here, six more ways kooky skeptics insist Obama is not who he says he is:
1. Obama has 39 social security numbers
According to birther queen Orly Taitz, Obama has used "as many as 39 different social security numbers, none of which were issued in the state of Hawaii." She says Obama uses the different numbers to hide the fact that he is not an American citizen. Taitz's coup de grace? The social security card Obama officially uses was "issued to another individual born in 1890" in Connecticut — and, she argues, Obama couldn't possibly have been born in 1890. The flaw in her argument is that Taitz picked up the 1890 birth date from a wacky search result — basically "database garbage," says ObamaConspiracy.
2. Obama traveled to Pakistan on an Indonesian passport
In 1981, a college-age Obama traveled to Pakistan after visiting his mother and sister in Indonesia. The conservative blogosphere is full of claims that an American citizen would never have been allowed into Pakistan in 1981, because the country was under military rule. The conclusion: Obama must have traveled there with his secret Indonesian passport. The problem with that story is that Americans could, in fact, visit Pakistan fairly easily in 1981, says ObamaConspiracy.
3. Obama's draft registration is a fraud
The document showing Obama's registration with the selective service (more commonly known as the draft) is forged, say conspiracy theorists. That means he is ineligible to hold any position in the federal government — not even at the post office! — let alone the highest office in the land. There's only one wrinkle in that theory: The registration isn't fake.
4. Obama used the name 'Barry Soetoro' in college
Obama assumed the name Barry Soetoro when he was an undergraduate at Occidental College, according to some birthers. They claim this is Obama's true Indonesian name, which is what birthers say you will find on Obama's "true" Indonesian passport. (Obama's mother Ann Dunham was married to an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetero for 15 years, but Obama never adopted his name.)
5. Obama did not write his own memoir
Obama is not actually the author of his best-selling memoir, Dreams From My Father, say some conspiracy theorists. The real author is Bill Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground, which was known for its sometimes violent protests against the Vietnam War. Using a "stylometric" comparison of Obama's memoir and Ayers' own, theorists concluded that the two authors' sentences were extraordinarily alike in "poetic sense" and "their gracefully layered structure" — a little too alike, they say, to be written by different people.
6. Obama killed Andrew Breitbart
The right-wing blogosphere did not only mourn the sudden death of Andrew Breitbart, the hard-charging media icon who relished bashing the Left. They also questioned the timing, with Breitbart dying just hours before he was set to release a supposedly devastating video exposing Obama's radical roots. "HIT JOB?" asked the TeaPartyBrief blog immediately after learning of Breitbart's death. (The post was later removed.) The video Breitbart had teased, which showed Obama demanding greater racial diversity at Harvard, turned out to be rather benign.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- You're reheating pizza wrong
Subscribe to the Week