© 2012 jbjd
For my next few articles, I will focus on the elusive nature of paid political advertising campaigns. First, a riddle.
Why did President Obama wait until April 27, 2011 to release a facsimile of his long form birth certificate indicating he was born in Hawaii?
As you will see, the answer to each of these questions – why release and why release now – depends on whom you ask.
On April 27, 2011 Ben Smith at Politico posts this rationale he claims was emailed to him by a White House official (although, for some reason, Mr. Smith produces neither the name of the sender of the purported email nor an image of the email which was purportedly sent), answering both questions:
The day was chosen by when they provided it to us, it got here last night, so our belief was we had to do it today. Petraues et al is tomorrow’s announcement
I am not going to argue the politics of doing this are good — they probably aren’t. Allowing the GOP primary to devolve into birther mania probably would be better, but the president felt strongly that this was bad for the country
That same day, John McCormack at the Weekly Standard, referencing Smith’s post, adds the following analysis:
Team Obama thought the “birther issue” was politically advantageous for them. By refusing to release the document, they gave the conspiracy theory just enough oxygen to keep it alive and make Republicans look crazy when asked about it by their constituents (obviously, the most die-hard “birthers” will summarily call the “long-form” certificate a forgery or find other excuses to keep their fevered dreams alive).
Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reported at 10:13 AM (ET) on the details of the birth certificate launch, but did not speculate as to the answer to either question:
The move came as a surprise to the press corps, many of whom had not shown up for Wednesday’s early-morning White House briefing. By the time word had spread that Obama would be making a 9:45 a.m. statement on the matter, however, the top anchors at all the networks had scurried into the briefing room.
Last Friday, the president himself wrote Loretta J. Fuddy, the director of health at the State of Hawaii, requesting “two certified copies of my original certificate of live birth.” Fuddy complied. Shortly thereafter, the president’s counsel, Judith Corley of the firm Perkins Coie, flew to Hawaii to pick up two copies of the form. The trip was not taxpayer funded but, rather, paid out of the president’s personal account. Corley returned on Tuesday at roughly 4 p.m. with the copies. The White House announced a “morning gaggle” for reporters shortly thereafter. One aide explained that they did not want to “hold” on to the documents for release on a later date.
Many members of the press confessed to being “stunned” as it became clear what was about to be discussed. White House press assistants handed out a six-page stapled packet of photocopies showing the new and old birth certificates as well as the White House’s legal correspondence with Hawaii’s Department of Health.
Michael A. Memoli authored more than 1 article for the LA Times on that day. Here’s the one that, being more in line with the underlying theme of this (series of) article(s), most interested me:
Reporting from Washington — The White House released President Obama’s long-form birth certificate to reporters on Wednesday, an extraordinary step in reaction to renewed questions from critics about whether he was born in Hawaii.
The document also was posted on the White House website. President Obama is expected to speak on the subject from the White House briefing room later Wednesday morning. (Here, Memoli clearly indicates that, being a reporter, he received a copy of the President’s long form birth certificate and posted this article before the President spoke. But Sam Stein at HuffPo makes clear in the article he posted immediately after the President’s briefing room launch, that “top anchors at all the networks [who] had scurried into the briefing room” received both the President’s spin and the document he spun, contemporaneously. And that “members of the press [in the briefing room] confessed to being “stunned” as it became clear what was about to be discussed.”)
Amid questions during Obama’s 2008 run for the White House, his campaign released a certificate of live birth to verify he was a native-born citizen, a constitutional requirement of the office. (No; the Constitutional requirement is “natural born citizen”; and he released a “Certification,” not a certificate. It said so right on the mock-up.) So-called “birther” critics called the document insufficient, however, and conspiracy theories about the president’s birth have continued.
Administration officials said they felt compelled to release additional documentation because the continued “distraction” was harmful for the country.
“It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country,” Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, wrote on the White House’s blog.
To receive the long-form document, the president personally sent a request to the Hawaii Department of Health. White House counsel Robert F. Bauer traveled to the state to retrieve it. (According to the blog, Attorney Judith Corley of Perkins Coie, traveled to HI for that purpose.)
The state of Hawaii has faced a regular barrage of requests for information about Obama’s birth, but privacy rules barred them from releasing the full birth certificate. The White House said the state granted this exception “in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting.”
The release comes on the same day that real estate mogul Donald Trump, who has put questions about Obama’s birthplace front and center in recent weeks, travels to New Hampshire as he considers a presidential campaign of his own. (More importantly, this release coincides with the President’s previously scheduled taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show, in Chicago, immediately after this press conference. Obamas Visit Oprah in Chicago Wednesday)
So, what is my answer to the riddle, why did President Obama wait until April 27, 2011 to release a facsimile of his long form birth certificate? Because both the purported request to HI officials for his long form birth certificate; and the release of that facsimile of his long form birth certificate were part of his 2012 political campaign. (That’s why Stein’s article included the disclaimer, “The trip [to HI to ‘retrieve’ those documents] was not taxpayer funded but, rather, paid out of the president’s personal account.”) And even though questions still “swirled” since he was inaugurated in 2009, that he was Constitutionally ineligible to be President; he couldn’t launch another paid political advertising campaign to counter those concerns until he was actually in another political campaign; and he only launched his 2012 re-election campaign on April 4.
And he launched the paid political ad on April 27 to coincide with his appearances on Oprah and at several high end fundraisers in NY. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/27/oprah-winfrey-show-obamas_n_854232.html