Row grows over Obama's birth certificate

The right-wing 'birthers', convinced the President was not born in the US and is therefore ineligible to govern, are gaining strength

Los Angeles

Forget about "Change we can believe in", "Yes, America can" and other heart-warming slogans of your average presidential election. The catchphrase being shouted loudest in the early skirmishes of the 2012 race consists of four angry words: "Where's the birth certificate?"

The single most debated issue among Republicans seeking to select their next candidate is not the economy, healthcare or the three wars that the nation is currently fighting. Instead, they are noisily debating the question of whether Barack Obama was actually born in Hawaii. This even though the President's name appears on government birth records for that state.

"Birthers", or people who believe the President was not born in the US, making him constitutionally ineligible to govern, nonetheless have in a few short years emerged from the fringes of far-right politics into the limelight of the mainstream. Today, they represent roughly 50 per cent of registered Republican supporters, according to several recent polls, and about a quarter of the entire US population. The suspicion for many is that Obama may have been born in Kenya, his father's country, or Indonesia, where he spent some childhood years.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that only an AP journalist and one other person has tried to access Obama's birth records this month. The only publicly available documents in the Department of Health building show a listing for a boy named Barack Hussein Obama II, born in Hawaii in 1961.

The full certificate, or so called "long form certificate", is locked away by privacy laws. But Dr Chiyome Fukino, the former health director, confirmed its existence. Even so, the birthers are marching towards the mainstream and last week a book entitled Where's the Birth Certificate? was briefly propelled to number one on Amazon's US sales chart. It won't even be released until the middle of May, but, last night, it was holding steady at number two. Its author, Jerome Corsi, claims the book will reveal how crucial details about the President's birth cannot be verified because of "missing records" in Hawaii, Kenya and Indonesia. "It's utterly devastating," he said. "Obama may learn things he didn't even know about himself."

Intrigue surrounding the issue threatens to have a huge knock-on effect on the coming primary season. A poll released last week revealed only 26 per cent of Republican supporters in Iowa, one of the first and therefore most strategically important states to select presidential candidates, now believe that Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen. Cashing in on their appetite for scepticism is the property tycoon Donald Trump (left). After declaring himself interested in exploring a presidential bid several weeks ago, he toured news studios announcing his conversion to the "birther" cause. Within days, he was second favourite to win the Republican nomination.

The President has always claimed to have been born in Hawaii in 1961, when his mother was studying in Honolulu. His birth was announced in two local newspapers, copies of which exist on microfilm. A certificate of live birth, from the hospital at which he was born, was released by his campaign office in 2008.

That holds little weight with "birthers", however. They insist that only a full-form version of the President's birth certificate will prove him to be a "real" American. For reasons that President Obama has yet to elaborate upon, such a document has not entered the public domain.

Some Democrats now wonder if Mr Obama is deliberately withholding the certificate so as to make sure the "birther" debate continues to overshadow Republican politics. That may indeed be the case. But he could be playing with fire. Mr Corsi wrote the 2004 book Unfit for Command, which brought to public attention the so-called Swift Boat Veterans, who claimed that the then Democrat candidate John Kerry had embellished his war record. While the majority of their claims were found to have been fabricated, Kerry was rejected at the ballot box in favour of George W Bush.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£4848 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Outstanding...

Cover Supervisors/Teaching Assistants Secondary Schools in York

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors/Long Term Teaching Ass...

Science Teacher

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher...

Cover Supervisor

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors needed for seco...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker