by Roger Ebert
President Barack Obama was born in the United States, a fringe group is charging. Complaining that mainstream news outlets have conspired to keep their views off the air, spokespersons for the group claim there is reason to believe the President is telling the truth when he claims he was born in Hawaii in 1961.
Reproducing tattered, hard-to-read old newspaper clippings on its web site, the group says they show birth announcements in the Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin claiming at the time that Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama Sr. were parents of a child born on Aug. 4 of that year.
The claims were challenged by CNN talk show host Lou Dobbs on a recent program. "I can easily purchase a reproduction of the front page of The New York Times for the day of my birth," said Dobbs. "Why should that be any harder to do in Hawaii?"
The fringe group, labeled "pro-Birthers" by Dobbs, has also posted what purports to be Obama's certificate of birth at a Honolulu hospital.
"It looks exactly the same as any other birth certificate from Hawaii," observed Dobbs. "Yet this man is President of the United States. He deserves a longer-form birth certificate. We're not talking about Don Ho here."
His guest on the program, attorney and dentist Orly Taitz, showed Dobbs a copy of her own birth certificate from Russia. "It is in the Cyrillic alphabet," she observed, "but you can see with your own eyes it is much longer than Obama's."
"There's nothing the matter with good old Cyrillic," Dobbs told her. "Our researchers inform us it's one of the three official alphabets of the European Union."
Dobbs pointed out that Obama's so-called birth certificate did not list the attending physician at the birth. "An obstetrician working in 1961 might not still be on staff," he said, "but Obama was there. Why won't he tell us this man's name?"
The two agreed that by publishing such documents, the pro-Birthers are engaged in a conspiracy to muddy the waters of the debate.
A caller to Dobbs' radio show asked him, "What do you propose to do if the pro-Birthers are wrong? Must Obama resign? Would Joe Biden become President?"
"I'm not proposing anything," Dobbs told the caller. "I'm just sayin'."