A brief history of birtherism Birtherism is the latest and most enduring version of a theory in search of facts.
The original smear against Obama was that he was a crypto-Muslim, floated in 2004 by perennial Illinois political candidate and serial litigant Andy Martin. Other related versions of this theory alleged that Obama was educated in an Indonesian “madrassa” or steeped in Islamist ideology from a young age, and the theories began to spread virally after Obama appeared on the national stage – to the casual observer, from nowhere – with his early 2007 presidential campaign announcement. (See: Obama kin: Birther rumors 'a shame')
All through that year, the Obama campaign – with the affirmation of most leaders of both parties – aggressively battled that smear by emphasizing his Christian faith. Obama’s controversial but emphatically Christian pastor emerged as a campaign issue and the belief that he was a Muslim seemed to lose traction. (See: Clinton: Birther claims 'ludicrous')
Then, as Obama marched toward the presidency, a new suggestion emerged: That he was not eligible to serve. (See: Birther debate alive across U.S.)
That theory first emerged in the spring of 2008, as Clinton supporters circulated an anonymous email questioning Obama’s citizenship.
“Barack Obama’s mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth,” asserted one chain email that surfaced on the urban legend site Snopes.com in April 2008.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Birtherism: Where it all began - Ben Smith and Byron Tau - POLITICO.com