The White House called the conspiracy theory that President Obama was born outside the U.S. a story worthy of Hollywood, but lingering doubts about the president's American origins has the White House angry and on the defensive.
"You couldn't sell this script in Hollywood," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in response to a question about a poll that found only 53 percent of Virginians believe the president was born in the United States.
In recent months a fringe group of conspiracy theorists called "birthers" have been intent on proving Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States and therefore ineligible for the post of president.
The White House has reluctantly responded to the din of rumors and lawsuits by providing documentary evidence of the president's birth in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961.
In a phone survey of Virginians, Public Policy Polling asked, "Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?" Fifty-three percent of respondents pressed "1," indicating "Yes." Twenty-four percent pressed "2," indicating "No," while another 24 percent pressed "3," indicating they weren't sure.
Gibbs tried to ridicule the allegations that Obama wasn't born in the U.S.A.
"Tell me if you've heard one that's this totally crazy," Gibbs said. "A pregnant woman leaves her home to go overseas to have a child -- who there's not a passport for -- so is in cahoots with someone…to smuggle that child, that previously doesn't exist on a government roll somewhere, back into the country and has the amazing foresight to place birth announcements in the Hawaii newspapers? All while this is transpiring in cahoots with those in the border, all so some kid named Barack Obama could run for president 46 and a half years later. You couldn't sell that to the WB."
Birthers used the president's birthday this week to roll out what they claimed was an authentic copy of Barrack Obama's birth certificate, which indicated he was born in Kenya. The document has been widely viewed as a hoax.
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This is the second such document making rounds on the Internet. This first Kenyan birth certificate was discredited last week as an obvious hoax.
Liberal bloggers have already picked apart the new document, citing inaccuracies in the name of the hospital where the document claims Obama was born and pointing out the document uses the name the Republic of Kenya, though it is dated before the country officially began calling itself that.
In truth, there is ample proof that Obama was born in Hawaii on this day in 1961.
Last October, Hawaii state health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino issued a statement that she "as director of health for the state of Hawaii, along with the registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."
Both of Honolulu's major newspapers, the Advertiser and the Star Bulletin, have provided, from their archives, birth announcements from that week: "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, son, Aug. 4."
Several courts have also rejected another birther theory that Obama can't be a citizen because his father was not a U.S. citizen.
Gibbs has been denying the birthers' claims for weeks now.
At a July 27 press conference, Gibbs dismissed the rumors as "made-up fictional nonsense of whether or not the president was born in this country."
"If I had some DNA, it wouldn't assuage those who don't believe he was born here," said Gibbs, who added that he posted the president's birth certificate online last year.
"The president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the 50th state of the greatest country on the face of the earth," he said.
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Gibb's said the president's citizenship "has been proven ad nauseam."
As to why the rumors persist, Gibbs said, "because for $15 you can get an Internet address and say whatever you want."