WASHINGTON – Barack Obama's elusive long-form birth certificate that would establish his eligibility to serve as president as a "natural born citizen" is the hottest discussion topic at the Fox News Channel's website.
Under the heading, "Should Obama release his birth certificate? Or is this old news?," nearly 1,000 comments have been posted – all of them since White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was questioned about the document earlier this week by WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving.
The rush of posts at the Fox News site makes it the "most talked about" issue, according to a ranking on the right side of the page.
One contributor to the page had this to say: "Not old news, just a burning question that needs an answer, and while your at it, get some of that other hidden, sealed information uncovered like, his passport to Indonesia, his college records, etc. There are so many unanswered questions, and frankly you all dropped the ball before the election."
The visibility of the Obama birth certificate issue has also been raised by a new national billboard campaign initiated by Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND. Launched just over a week ago, the campaign has raised about $55,000 and begun erecting billboards that ask the question, "Where's the birth certificate?"
That campaign followed one launched months earlier to collect names on an electronic petition demanding accountability and transparency on the issue. So far, that petition has gathered nearly 400,000 names.
In his questioning of Gibbs, Kinsolving specifically made reference to the WND petition.
"Are you looking for the president's birth certificate?" he asked incredulously. "Lester, this question in many ways continues to astound me. The state of Hawaii provided a copy with the seal of the president's birth. I know there are apparently at least 400,000 people – (laughter) – that continue to doubt the existence of and the certification by the state of Hawaii of the president's birth there, but it's on the Internet because we put it on the Internet for each of those 400,000 to download. I certainly hope by the fourth year of our administration that we'll have dealt with this burgeoning birth controversy."
It was the first time any member of the press corps has publicly asked a member of the administration a question directly related to Obama's constitutional eligibility for office as a "natural born citizen."
Politico has video of the exchange, which is embedded below:
The question comes as the controversy is heating up nationally – sparked in part by a new billboard campaign asking the question: "Where's the birth certificate?" The campaign has also raised more than $50,000 in contributions from the public.
Just last week, Farah announced the billboard campaign to raise public awareness of the fact that Obama has never released the standard, "long-form" birth certificate that would show which hospital he was born in, the attending physician and establish that he truly was born in Hawaii, as his autobiography maintains.
The "Certification of Live Birth" posted online and widely touted as "Obama's birth certificate" does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same "short-form" document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true "long-form" birth certificate – which includes information like the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a "natural born citizen," no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama's claim to a Hawaiian birth.
Both the petition and the billboard campaign are part of what Farah calls an independent "truth and transparency campaign."
Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs bends over laughing at a question over Obama's eligibility
The first sign to be posted under the week-old campaign, a digital, electronic one, is up and online on Highway 165 in Ball, La. In addition, based on the heavy volume of financial donations in the first two days of the campaign, WND was able to commit to leasing two more standard billboards – one in Los Angeles and the other in Pennsylvania. It will take several weeks to get those billboards up because of the vinyl printing and shipping involved. Yesterday, WND agreed to lease another electronic billboard in Orange County, Calif.
While the campaign is off to a robust start, many viewers have asked why Obama's name is not included in the billboard. Farah said the matter was carefully considered.
"There are several reasons we chose the message: 'Where's the birth certificate?'" he explained. "There is only one birth certificate controversy in this country today – despite the near-total absence of this issue from coverage in the non-WND media. This is a grass-roots issue that resonates around the country, as our own online petition with nearly 400,000 signers suggests. In addition, I like the simplicity of the message. I like the fact that the message will cause some people to ask themselves or others about the meaning of the message. It will stir curiosity. It will create a buzz. I'm assuming when these billboards are springing up all over the country, it might even make some in the news media curious. And there's one more factor that persuaded me this was the way to go.
Birth certificate question being raised in Ball, La.
"Come 2012, campaign laws will pose restrictions on political advertising mentioning the names of presidential candidates. This one clearly doesn't. I would like to see the federal government make the case that this is somehow a political ad," he said.
Farah said the campaign was born of frustration with timid elected officials in Washington, corrupt judges around the country and a news media that show a stunning lack of curiosity about the most basic facts of Obama's background – especially how it relates to constitutional eligibility for the highest office in the land.
"As Obama transforms this country from self-governing constitutional republic to one governed by a central ruling elite, the simple fact remains that no controlling legal authority has established that he is indeed a 'natural born citizen' as the Constitution requires," Farah said. "Obama's promises of transparency have become a bad joke as he continues to hide simple, innocuous documents like his birth certificate and his student records."
The idea behind the billboard campaign is to make sure Obama cannot avoid this question any longer. He must be asked to produce it at every turn, Farah says. Billboard space is currently being hunted in Houston, Dallas, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle and other metro areas.
"Is it unusual for a news agency to launch such a campaign?" asks Farah. "Yes it is. But we live in very unusual times. The founding fathers built special protections into the First Amendment for the free press. The reason they did that is because they understood a vibrant 'Fourth Estate' was necessary as an independent watchdog on government. It is in that tradition that WND assumes this role – since nobody else in the press will do it."
WND previously launched a petition campaign that has collected more than 375,000 names demanding Obama's eligibility be verified and demonstrated publicly. That campaign continues. That list has been shared with members of the Electoral College and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I wish such a campaign were not absolutely necessary," said Farah. "I wish there were checks and balances in our political and electoral systems to ensure that constitutional eligibility of presidential candidates was established before politicians could assume the highest office in the land. I wish my colleagues in the news media believed the Constitution really means what it says and pressed this issue as hard as we have pressed it at WND. I wish radio talk-show hosts were bold enough to ask this question. But wishing is not enough. It's time to raise the visibility of this issue vital to the rule of law in America. I ask everyone to pitch in and help WND make a simple yet profound statement: The Constitution still matters."
Your donation – from as little as $5 to as much as $1,000 – can be made online at the WND SuperStore. (Donations are not tax-deductible. Donations of amounts greater than $1,000 can be arranged by calling either 541-474-1776 or 1-800-4WND.COM. If you would prefer to mail in your contributions, they should be directed to WND, P.O. Box 1627, Medford, Oregon, 97501. Be sure to specify the purpose of the donation by writing "billboard" on the check. In addition, donations of billboard space will be accepted, as will significant contributions specifically targeted for geographic locations.)
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Joseph Farah about this campaign, e-mail WND.