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TAMPA, Fla. – In rapid response to Mitt Romney’s joke to a crowd in his home state of Michigan, that “No one ever asked me for my birth certificate,” Barack Obama’s campaign put out a 15-second TV spot to declare, “America doesn’t need a birther-in-chief.”

I’ve finally found a point of agreement with Obama.

America certainly does not need a “birther-in-chief” – which is one of at least 2,012 reasons to dump Barack Obama from the White House on Election Day.

America already has a “birther-in-chief.” His name is Barack Obama.

Who started the controversy over his identity? He did. For at least 17 years he boasted in his literary biography of being born in Kenya. That claim was quietly withdrawn only in 2007 – less than a year before he declared his candidacy for the presidency. It was never repudiated or explained. His own wife referred to Kenya as his home country. His autobiography claims he is the offspring of two parents, neither of which could bestow upon him the constitutional requirement of “natural born citizenship.” When repeatedly asked for years into his presidency to produce his birth certificate, he released a document every expert who has looked at it agrees is fraudulent – including the one and only law enforcement investigation to examine the evidence.

No one else besides Barack Obama can claim credit for the title “birther-in-chief.” He owns it. He prompted the very term. He sustained it needlessly. And then he blames others for his own absolute unwillingness to provide the most rudimentary documentation of his eligibility for office.

I’m gratified Mitt Romney told that joke.

I’m only sorry he apologized for it later.

Because the Constitution is not a laughing matter – or it shouldn’t be.

It’s Obama who has made it such.

He has demonstrated over and over again that he has nothing but contempt for the Constitution. And then his own amen-corner feigns righteous indignation that we shouldn’t accept on faith his unsubstantiated claims to constitutional eligibility for office.

One of the things I would like you to notice is the crowd reaction Romney got to his little joke.

It was enthusiastic. They weren’t just laughing. They were applauding. They were thinking, “It’s about time Romney brought this up.” Everyone in America knew exactly what he meant. Why is that? Why is Obama’s birth certificate one of the biggest sources of controversy and humor after nearly four years in office?

I’ll tell you why: Because Americans know Obama’s hiding virtually all documentation about his true identity.

Only the media elite don’t seem to understand the obvious – because of their collective failure to honestly investigate what could prove to be a story bigger than Watergate and the Teapot Dome scandal combined. And the news media don’t even appreciate any jokes that reflect on their ineptitude and calculated cover-up of the truth.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mitt Romney get a nice bump in the pre-convention polls as a result of his birth certificate challenge.

Fundamental issues like constitutional qualifications are important to Americans – and they know they’ve been snookered in the case of Barack Obama.

Obama’s true life story is as much a mystery today as it was in 2008. His story doesn’t add up. His arrogant, steadfast unwillingness to release virtually any documentation – from a legitimate birth certificate to his school records to his travel papers to his health reports and more – makes it clear to thinking Americans that something’s not right here. All that smoke suggests a fire. Only the darlings of the media elite are too dumb, too guilty of complicity or too self-interested to admit the obvious.

Romney should keep poking them all in the eye by telling that “joke.”

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