AZ official: Obama birth certificate OK

2012-05-24T00:00:00Z 2012-07-18T07:26:38Z AZ official: Obama birth certificate OKThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 24, 2012 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - Arizona's secretary of state said Wednesday that Hawaii's official verification of President Obama's birth records meets necessary requirements.

The inquiry launched recently by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett gave official weight to a long-simmering political controversy generated by those who say that Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore is ineligible to hold the nation's highest office.

The Obama administration attempted a year ago to dismiss the conflict by releasing his long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii.

But skeptics maintained their stance, and eventually Bennett announced he would seek further verification at the request of numerous voters who contacted his office, even saying he was prepared to leave Obama's name off the state's ballot in November.

Bennett, a Republican, said in a written statement that Hawaii officials "have complied with the request, and I consider the matter closed."

Bennett's office said Obama's name will appear on Arizona's November ballot as long as he wins his party's nomination and all paperwork is properly completed.

Obama campaign spokesman Mahen Gunaratna noted that Bennett also is Arizona campaign co-chair for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney. Gunaratna said Bennett's inquiry will have no bearing on the election, "but it does present an opportunity for Mitt Romney to finally rise to the occasion and denounce the extreme voices in his party."

The Romney campaign responded saying the candidate has made his stance on the issue clear.

"I think the citizenship test has been passed," Romney said to CNBC in April, a statement relayed to The Associated Press by his campaign on Wednesday. "I believe the president was born in the United States. And there are real reasons to get this guy out of office."

Also on Wednesday, the minority leader of the Arizona House has called on Bennett to resign as the Arizona co-chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign

Democrat Chad Campbell said it's inappropriate for the state's top elections officer to publicly support one candidate when trying to keep another off the ballot.

Matthew Roberts, a spokesman for Bennett's office, declined to comment.

Campbell also said Bennett should resign as secretary of state if he fails to quit the Romney post.

Hawaii sent Bennett's office a document on Tuesday saying the Aloha State had verified the information on Obama's birth certificate.

Bennett said he is satisfied with Hawaii's verification and has closed his inquiry into the president's birth information.

Hawaii State Registrar Alvin Onaka sent the document Tuesday confirming the information on Obama's birth certificate, such as the Honolulu hospital where he was born and the names and ages of his parents.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly verified Obama's citizenship as skeptics have maintained that the president was born in Kenya, his father's home country.

State and federal courts also have rejected lawsuits over the issue.

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