23 February 2009

Did Shelby Bite the COLB Fruit?

According to an Alabama newspaper, The Cullman Times, Richard Shelby, the state's senior U. S. Senator, has chosen to bite at the "Obama-is-ineligible" rumor. Apparently, he did so in quite a public way--in response to a question at a town-hall meeting:
[a] local resident asked Shelby if there was any truth to a rumor that appeared during the presidential campaign concerning Obama’s U.S. citizenship, or lack thereof.

“Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate,” Shelby said. “You have to be born in America to be president.”

According to the Associated Press, state officials in Hawaii checked health department records during the campaign and determined there was no doubt Obama was born in Hawaii.

The nonpartisan Web site Factcheck.org examined the original document and said it does have a raised seal and the usual evidence of a genuine document. In addition, Factcheck.org reproduced an announcement of Obama's birth, including his parents' address in Honolulu, that was published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13, 1961.
When Politico's Ben Smith contacted Shelby's office to ask about the story, a spokesperson backtracked on the Senator's statements and claimed that the paper had "distorted" the Senator's remarks. The paper stands by its story and has requested that anyone with audio or video of the event get in touch. We'll have to wait until the paper finds and posts such evidence, but there's little doubt the paper's story has energized folks on both sides of the issue: the conspiracy theorists as well as those who see the GOP as focused on harming the president rather than fixing the nation.

This could get interesting. Unfortunately, it's also interfering with the nation's real problems--the economy, for example--by muddying the waters with rumor and innuendo.

Update: I'm thinking that Shelby didn't bite; his comment on the citizenship issue is starting to look like a mangled response to the constituent's question. Folks who attended the event offer differing recollections of the Senator's statements:
Dave Ozment, chairman of the Cullman County Republican Party, who attended the meeting, said he remembered some of Shelby’s comment on Obama’s citizenship.

“[Shelby] was not saying and I’m not saying he (Obama) is or isn’t [a U.S. citizen], he was just saying he hasn’t seen one (a birth certificate),” Ozment said.

Cullman Airport Manager Bob Burns, who was also at the meeting, recalled the question and answer as well.

“It sounded to me like he really didn’t want to go there,” Burns said about Shelby. “He said he hadn’t seen his birth certificate. He said something to the effect that it had been certified in Hawaii.” (Cullman Times)
Unless audio/video surfaces to dispute this, suffice it to say this story is over. It certainly doesn't warrant either jubilation amongst conspiracy theorists or ire amongst the anti-"birthers."

No comments: