The release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate is expected to put to rest – for most people – any doubt that the president was born in the United States. But the document is causing a new controversy by showing that the president was born in August 1976 – meaning Obama was not 35 years old when he became president, as the Constitution requires.
“It’s like whack-a-mole,” said political analyst Chuck Warren, who has followed the birther issue. “Now it becomes not an issue of where, but when.”
Neither Obama nor the White House has responded specifically to the issue of the president’s birth date. Meanwhile, an offshoot of the birther movement – the agers, as some call them – has sprung up.
Article II of the U.S. Constitution requires a person to be thirty-five years old to be president. But what if someone – like Barack Obama – has already been in office two years and, in any event, will be thirty-five years old later this year?
“It’s a head-scratcher,” said Claudette Resin, a constitutional scholar at Southern Iowa University. “We know who shouldn’t become president in the first place, but we have no idea how to remove someone who’s ineligible once they’re in office.”
Not everyone is convinced there’s a constitutional problem with Obama’s age.
Democratic consultant Jeremy Wiser pointed to the general welfare clause of the Constitution, saying, “That part of the Constitution always trumps everything else.”
Acknowledging that the clause applies to the powers of Congress, Wiser persisted: “It’s broader than that and broader than any other limits or clauses in the Constitution. If Obama being president advances the general welfare of the country, his age doesn’t matter.”