What the Birthers are saying now

The evangelical Florida pastor who hosted a Birther infomercial responds to the new document: "Praise God"

By Justin Elliott

Published April 27, 2011 2:05PM (EDT)

The cover of Jack Cashill's book "Deconstructing Obama"
The cover of Jack Cashill's book "Deconstructing Obama"

11:55 am UPDATE: And here is WorldNetDaily CEO Joseph Farah:

"We're gratified that our work has begun to pay off," he said. "The certificate of live birth is an absolutely vital foundation for determining constitutional eligibility of any president. We look forward to reviewing it like so many other Americans do at this late date. But it is important to remember there are still dozens of other questions concerning this question of eligibility that need to be resolved to assure what has become a very skeptical public concerning Barack Obama’s parentage, his adoption, his citizenship status throughout his life and why he continues to cultivate a culture of secrecy around his life."

"Dozens of other questions"!

Meanwhile, Mother Jones' Suzy Khimm talks to another Birther heavy, Andy Martin:

"Well, I'll be damned…it looks OK!" Martin told Mother Jones by phone, as he perused the document for the first time. "I'm stunned…obviously the pressure got to be too much." ...

Martin, however, says that the birth certificate doesn't put to rest other questions about Obama's past and rise to power. Echoing Donald Trump's recent demands to see Obama's college grades, Martin said he wants to see the "admission files and the transcripts" of Obama’s college years. "The pressure for his college records is going to become relentless," he vows.

And TPM's Ryan Reilly gets Orly Taitz:

But she still has her suspicions. Specifically, Taitz thinks that the birth certificate should peg Obama's race as "Negro" and not "African."

So there seems to be a split. Some like Bill Keller (see below) and Martin, are now satisfied that Obama was born in the U.S. Others, like Farah and and Taitz, are witholding judgment on the president's eligibility.

10:40 am UPDATE: I just got off the phone with evangelical Florida pastor Bill Keller, the creator and host of a notorious 2009 Birther informerical ("Birthermercial") that asked for donations to help build pressure on Obama to release his birth certificate.

"Praise God," said Keller. "I mean what was so hard about this?" Most of the people I know have never bought into this thing that he was born in Kenya. But he created a controversy that didn't have to be there."

That's a significantly different tone than Keller took in his famous Birthermercial, which asked viewers for $30 in order to send faxes to every state attorney general demanding that they demand Obama's birth certificate. Watch:

I asked Keller: how is this new document any more convincing than the certificate of live birth Obama already released?

"It shows the name of the hospital. It shows the name of the attending physician," he said. "I think it's great. That issue is dead now."

Would he consider this a victory?

"If it's a victory for anybody, it's for the nation."


If the White House thought releasing the president's long-form birth certificate would silence Obama's conspiracist critics, it has already been proven wrong.

This morning I had an email exchange with Jack Cashill, who, as a columnist for leading Birther website WorldNetDaily, has built his career in recent years on proposing wild conspiracy theories about Obama's origins. I asked Cashill: Are you now satisifed Obama was born in the U.S.?

Responded Cashill (emphasis added):

I never said he was born elsewhere. My argument was with who wrote his books and is the story they tell true. The story of his first two years remains false.

My question to you is why did the media not demand to see this in 2008 and why did Obama let Terry Lakin go to prison when he could have put his mind at ease a long time ago. And yes, Virginia, there is a difference between a certification of live birth and a long form certificate of live birth.

Cashill has in fact flirted with the idea that Obama was not born in the U.S. As recently as this month he wrote:

When asked why you don’t take President Obama’s word that he was born in America, simply reply, “Why should I? The story that he has been telling America about the first two years of his life is provably and profoundly untrue.”

The long-form birth certificate also clearly lists Obama's parents as Barack Hussein Obama and Stanley Ann Dunham. Here's a sample of what Cashill has written on the parentage front:

It seems altogether possible that the progressive and adventurous 17 year-old Dunham was impregnated by a black man while the family was still living in the Seattle area. If so, this pregnancy could have prompted the family to uproot to Hawaii where no one knew them and where mixed-race babies were more accepted. According to the Andersen account, whose source was Maxine Box, "There were loud arguments between father and daughter -- fights that sometimes turned violent." Ann did not want to go.

Both the "Dunham as father" and the "anonymous black father" scenarios would make the Obama camp wary of sharing Obama's actual birth certificate, either because Dunham was not Obama's mother or, if she were, because Obama was born much earlier than August 4, 1961.

Asked if he is now satisfied that Obama's parents are Obama's parents, Cashill responded:

That was one of four scenarios I posed. As I wrote in the book's penultimate chapter, from Axelrod's perspective, "The best suspect remained Barack Sr. Yet every time he looked at that picture of a smiling Stanley Dunham waving Aloha to his supposed scoundrel of a son-in-law he had to wonder even about that. "

My second best candidate has always been "Pop," Frank Marshall Davis. There is nothing here that rules this out.

In other words: the conspiracists aren't going anywhere.

Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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