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Editorial: 'Nutty Arizona' goes national again

Now it's the "birther" issue again, and whether President Barack Obama is a legal U.S. citizen who was born in Hawaii and, therefore, qualified to have run for the office in the first place and to seek re-election to another four-year term. Or is his birth place really Kenya, his father's homeland, and a birth certificate to prove otherwise is fraudulent?

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is the latest in Arizona's parade of interrogators into this pressing question. Preceding him have been Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and state lawmakers who passed a birther bill, which Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer promptly vetoed. The legislative measure would have required presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship in order to get on the ballot. As we all know and have been reminded over and over as this issue has ebbed and flowed in political ranks, the U.S. Constitution requires the president and vice president to be natural-born U.S. citizens.

Whether Obama is an American citizen came to the forefront of talk again this past Thursday when Bennett told a Phoenix radio station that the president's citizenship status is in question unless and until Hawaii answers positively his request under a Hawaii law to confirm that state has his birth certificate.

In reply to a Democrat's charge that Bennett's request for proof that Obama was Hawaii born was "blatant political pandering," the secretary of state said, "I am not a birther." Rather, he said, he was simply trying to satisfy constituents' concerns by raising the question.

According to an Associated Press story, the director of Hawaii's health department received Bennett's request in March and forwarded it to that state's attorney general. A spokesman for the Hawaii AG said Bennett has not provided the legal basis for his request. "As soon as Secretary Bennett's office provides adequate legal authority, it will receive verification," Hawaii AG special assistant Joshua Wisch said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press Friday night. He added that Hawaii state law requires Bennett to show that his office needs the records to update its official lists as part of its ordinary work.

Bennett told The Associated Press earlier that "I'm working from the assumption that they will verify it one way or another."

It's time for this saga to end, no matter which way it goes. Either Obama is in office legally. Or, he is not.

We wait for the right person to come forward and settle the question once and for all.

We are tired of hearing about it, and we are tired of Arizona's being the laughing stock of the nation.


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