Anne E. Kornblut (Washington Post): After his major address on the deficit two weeks ago, President Obama sat down for an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos expecting a conversation about fiscal issues.
Instead, Obama faced repeated questions about the controversy surrounding his place of birth … the interview added to the growing sense within the White House that the mainstream media was perpetuating a dangerous myth.
Obama had grown incredulous at the overall debate. He had watched as even Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan had been sucked into the discussion of his birthplace, aides said … on April 19, in a meeting with White House counsel Bob Bauer, the president asked about the feasibility of getting his long-form birth certificate at last …..Last week, it was Obama who made the call to proceed. “He was the driving force,” the official said.
…the process began early in the week of April 18, after Obama raised the subject. White House counsel Bauer reviewed the legal steps necessary to obtain the long-form document, which is not routinely released by authorities in Hawaii …..When administration officials released the paperwork on Wednesday morning shortly after 9 a.m., it came as a shock to the political establishment….
….Aides acknowledged that there would have been a potential upside to keeping the obviously outrageous myth alive. “He did that despite the fact that it probably was…probably in his long-term political interests to allow this birther debate to dominate discussion in the Republican Party for months to come,” Pfeiffer said. “But he thought even though it might have been good politics, he thought it was bad for the country. And so he asked counsel to look into this.”
Paul Harris (The Guardian): The timing of the release of Barack Obama’s birth certificate expertly made a fool of Donald Trump – and the GOP with him.
….to the surprise of no one with two brain cells to rub together, the document proved that, yes, in fact, Obama was indeed born on American soil.
Yet Obama seemed barely in chiding mode at having to deal with this idiocy. Instead, he appeared relaxed. He told reporters that he had “watched with amusement” as the rumours spread and been surprised they refused to go away….
…The fact is that the Obama administration has played the recent spasm of birther attention remarkably well. They have let Trump rise up on a balloon of inflated birther nonsense – getting near the top of Republican polls for the 2012 nomination – and then promptly popped it underneath him.
…the White House timed the release so that Trump would be right in the media’s glare when the birther bubble burst. Not surprisingly, he looked like an idiot. At a news conference, he blustered about his proud achievement in forcing the release of the birth certificate, then attempted to cast a little doubt on it and finally made up a CNN poll that he claimed showed him neck-and-neck with Obama in the race (CNN promptly reported no such poll exists).
No one needed any more proof to understand that Trump is a joke in very poor taste. But he provided it anyway – in long form….
Which is why Obama has played this well. His team waited for Trump to have enough rope to hang himself on the birther issue, and in doing so, have helped him toxify the Republican brand – just as he tried to debut his serious side.
…. the sheer and increasing madness of the issue – especially now that the long form birth certificate has been released – must be offputting for the independents and moderates who are often so crucial in American elections.
…It is a sad indictment of the Republican party that its own leaders took the attitude of not dismissing birtherism and its followers without qualifying their stance or hinting at closet sympathies.
Come 2012, they may yet pay at the polls for that cynicism and moral cowardice. It is going to be an easy task for Democrats to paint the Republicans as extremists with little grasp of reality and many Republicans will have only themselves to blame.
Former White House press secretary and Obama confidante Robert Gibbs is throwing down the gauntlet on Donald Trump. “Donald Trump said he’d release his tax returns as soon as the president released his birth certificate, so the ball is in his court now and I know everybody is anxious to see his tax returns over the last 10 years,” Gibbs told Politico.
Trump first floated the trade-off in an interview with ABC earlier this month. “Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate,” said the real estate mogul, whose wealth has long been a matter of dispute. “I may tie my tax returns [to the birth certificate]. I’d love to give my tax returns.”
At a Wednesday morning news conference in New Hampshire following the president’s release of his birth certificate, Trump repeatedly ignored questions about whether he’d fulfill his pledge.
But now he’s being called out by one of the president’s closest advisers. What say you, Mr. Trump?