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'Sideshow' over Obama's legitimacy continues for some

By Shannon Travis, CNN Political Producer
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Some 'birthers' still not satisfied
  • President Obama released his birth certificate Wednesday
  • So-called birthers have repeatedly questioned where Obama was really born
  • Even after the birth certificate release, some are raising more questions
  • Obama: "We do not have time for this kind of silliness"

Washington (CNN) -- The "sideshow" will go on.

One day after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate -- to end what he called a distraction of "sideshows" and "carnival barkers" -- some still question his eligibility to serve in the White House.

To be sure, some "birthers" have said that doubts about the president's birthplace are now over. But others are moving on to new conspiracy theories.

Now they're asking: Where are the president's college records, transcripts and financial statements? Where are his passport records? Why isn't information about his law license, or his parents' marriage and divorce, being made public? Was he adopted by his stepfather in Indonesia, negating his "natural-born citizen" status?

And, perhaps most unusually, some are now saying that the birth certificate still does not confirm that the president is eligible to serve in the White House.

See the president's birth certificate

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One man raising new questions is the same man who elevated the birther debate: Donald Trump.

The real estate magnate -- and potential Republican presidential candidate -- took credit Wednesday for Obama releasing his certificate of live birth. And yet Trump raised a new question.

"The word is, he wasn't a good student and he ended up getting into Columbia and Harvard," Trump said. "I'd like to know: How does he get into Harvard, how does he get into Columbia if he isn't a good student?"

Moments before, Trump said, "I don't know why he doesn't release his records."

Obama releases original long-form birth certificate

Trump isn't the only one who is now pivoting to other issues that they say raise questions about the president's legitimacy to lead.

The man who filed the first birther lawsuit tells CNN that he wants to verify the authenticity of the president's birth certificate.

"I'm not sure that this document hasn't been altered," Pennsylvania lawyer Philip Berg said.

And he offers a provocative -- and completely unsubstantiated -- claim: He asks if the president, when he was living in Indonesia, was adopted by his stepfather there, Lolo Soetero.

"Once he's adopted in Indonesia, he loses his natural-born status, if he had it in the first place," Berg said.

"We don't think he's natural-born. We don't think he's naturalized. We think he's actually an illegal alien," he said.

Yet even Berg acknowledges that he has no proof to back up his questions and claims.

The birther movement: immune to facts?

Meanwhile, there is another argument related to the president's eligibility to serve.

Marco Ciavolino runs the Terry Lakin Action Fund. Lakin is the Army lieutenant colonel sentenced to six months in prison last September for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan after he questioned the president's birthright eligibility to be commander in chief.

"The key thing is not whether or not he was even born in Hawaii, but is he a natural-born citizen according to constitutional standards," Ciavolino told CNN.

"The concept of a natural-born citizen, as laid out in the Constitution, has not been well-defined by the courts at all," he said. Ciavolino questions if the president having an African father and American mother allows him to be president.

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution vaguely says that only "natural-born" citizens can become president. But some legal experts say Obama, under accepted legal understanding of the clause, is absolutely a natural-born citizen.

Why it's so hard to get people to give up conspiracy theories

Ciavolino claims there's a way to settle many of the questions.

"Mr. Obama, do you want to end this? Then please release the records we have from every other president," he said.

Like Trump, Ciavolino called for the president's college records. But he also said he and others want to see passport records, college financial statements, information about the president's law license, and Obama's parents' marriage and divorce records.

CNN pressed Ciavolino about how any of those documents affect Obama's eligibility to serve in the White House.

"Those records would have shown: Did he apply as a foreign student? Did he write about these things? What did he say about issues regarding citizenship?" he said.

As he spoke about the release of his birth certificate, Obama said the nation would not be able to fully focus on pressing problems if some people "just make stuff up."

And the president also accurately predicted that a small number of Americans would simply never accept his being born in the U.S.

"I know that there's going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest," the president said. "But I'm speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We got better stuff to do. I've got better stuff to do. We got big problems to solve."

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