This is what Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett has to show for two months of writing emails and nearly a week of nationwide ridicule in his investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate: a single sheet of paper.
Hawaii officials sent the man in charge of Arizona’s elections a one-page verification late Tuesday that President Obama was indeed born in their state in 1961.
There were no surprises in the document. It said the same things Hawaii officials and the president himself have been saying for years and it matched the information that appeared in a copy of the president’s long-form birth certificate released by the White House last year.
But for Bennett, a Republican and co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign, it was something he hoped would quickly put a bewildering chapter of his career behind him.
“At the request of numerous constituents, I merely asked Hawaiian officials to verify the information contained within President Obama’s original birth certificate,” Bennett said in a written statement on Wednesday. “They have complied with the request and I consider the matter closed.”
The previous day, Bennett apologized on a Phoenix radio station for embarrassing Arizona with his conspiracy theory-fueled investigation into the president’s birth certificate. He said he only starting looking into Obama’s birth after being heckled with angry emails from people who didn’t believe the president was truly a natural born citizen of the United States.
Bennett had told another local radio station six days earlier that he might keep Obama off the November ballot if he didn’t get the answers he wanted from Hawaii. He also said he had no plans to investigate Romney’s birth. In his apology, he backed away from the Obama threat, saying the president would be on the ballot if he filled out the same paperwork all the other candidates did.
Hours after the apology, Hawaii sent Bennett the verification he was looking for. His office released it to the media on Wednesday. The document (above, click to enlarge) was signed by Hawaii state registrar Alvin T. Onaka.
After the document was sent Bennett the document on Tuesday, the Hawaii attorney general’s office released a statement declaring the issue “resolved.”
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him: nick [at] talkingpointsmemo.com