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GOP Rep. Deal insists birth certificate question not a knock on Obama’s ‘legitimacy’

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 20:21 EDT
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It’s a conspiracy theory that will never die.

They call them “birthers.” It seems no matter how many times President Obama’s birth certificate is handed to them, no matter how many lawsuits they lose, they just continue to insist that the president is hiding something about his place of birth … That he may secretly be a Kenyan. Or worse.

Count Congressman Nathan Deal (R-GA) among them.

Except, by asking for Obama’s birth certificate, Deal insists he’s not questioning the president’s “legitimacy” as other birthers may. He just thinks it is something President Obama would like to “clear up.”

The congressman, who is running for Governor of Georgia, sent an electronic letter on congressional stationery to the White House at the beginning of December, asking President Obama to release his birth certificate.

“This is probably the first time in 233 years of American history that a sitting member of the House of Representatives has officially challenged the legitimacy of a sitting president,” birther blog The Post & Email claimed. “This forever changes the public discourse.”

Unfortunately for them, it did not. The story went largely unnoticed.

President Obama’s birth certificate has been available on the Internet since 2008. A copy is visible at the bottom of this article.

Yet, at a Feb. 6 meeting of the Georgia Christian Alliance, Deal told a group of birther activists that their questions “deserve at least [Obama's] response.”

Deal added: “I do not shy away from hard questions. I answer those questions. If I don’t have information to answer the questions, I have to go to the folks who do have the answers. In this case, the president is the one who could clear this up. What I am asking him to do is tell me where I can ask my constituents to go to see authentic documentation that he says [inaudible] will satisfy their curiosity.”

As if on cue, the Georgia Liberal blog launched its own campaign asking Deal to prove that he is, in fact, eligible to run for governor.

“Sure, maybe Deal is a resident of Georgia now… maybe… But has he been so for the past six years?” they sarcastically ask. “And has he been an American citizen for 15 years? And, is he actually 30? I mean, I ASSUME he is 30… but we can’t assume these things, we need proof!”

They would like to be known as the “proofers,” the blog adds.

Neither Deal’s House.gov site, nor his campaign site feature documents proving his eligibility to run for governor. However, during the presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama had his birth certificate posted to a site dedicated to counteracting outlandish political attacks.

That document was confirmed as valid by Hawaii’s health director.

“These sort of things deserve straightforward responses,” Deal claimed during his recent interview. “I’m not questioning his legitimacy to serve as president. I would think that he would like to clear that up …”

During an appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier in February, President Obama chided Republicans for these type of attacks.

“Surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith,” he said before adding, “or, for that matter, my citizenship.”

Just 44 percent of Republicans at-large believe President Obama is a United States citizen, according to a recent DailyKos poll.

The Washington Independent’s David Weigel posted a video of Deal “being questioned by minor birther figure Carl Swensson.”

“I know that some folks are trying to label this as politically incorrect,” Deal told Swennsson. “I want to tell you something. Political incorrectness is paralyzing our society. These kinds of things deserve straightforward responses. And I think this ought to be put to rest I’m not questioning his legitimacy to serve as president. I would think he’d like to clear that up in as unequivocal a fashion as possible. And that’s simply all I’m asking.”

This video was published to YouTube by user pixelpatriot on Feb. 8, 2010.

For a larger version of President Obama’s birth certificate, click the image below.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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