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Op-ed: ‘Birther’ movement needs to die

McClatchy-Tribune News Service –

The following editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer:


It’s settled. President Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. But some opponents who can’t find stronger arguments to make against Obama’s presidency still resort to claiming he’s not really an American.

They not only question his citizenship, but also insist he’s a Muslim despite Obama’s professed Christianity.

The red herring of Obama’s birthplace recently cropped up locally when the Commonwealth Court turned down a request to keep him off the April 24 Pennsylvania primary ballot. The court said it did not have jurisdiction over the matter brought by Lafayette Hill lawyer Philip Berg.

The U.S. Supreme Court, which does have jurisdiction, told Berg in 2008 that it would not hear his case nor would it listen to his subsequent challenges to Obama’s election. But some people don’t know when to quit.

Obama’s birth keeps coming up even though he released his short-form birth certificate during the 2008 presidential campaign. He released his more detailed birth certificate last April, and Hawaiian officials have verified its authenticity. Prominent Republicans have dismissed his birthplace as a nonissue. But the “birther” movement won’t go away.

Voters have far more important questions to answer about the president’s, and the eventual Republican nominee’s, qualifications. They shouldn’t be distracted by obviously false claims on settled matters.

And what voters will have to wade through to get the information they need in this election promises to only get worse.

As vicious and misleading as some of the advertising in the Republican primary has been, the general election will be even more brutal thanks to the dominance of the so-called super-PACs. Responsible to no one but their donors, they have the ability to spin half-truths into lies, further confusing voters.

Voters deserve better treatment, but they probably won’t get it. So, let’s stop with the birther campaign, and move on to real issues.

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