Businessman Donald Trump greets Republican presidential candidateMitt Romney during a...

Businessman Donald Trump greets Republican presidential candidateMitt Romney during a news conference in Las Vegas (Feb. 2, 2012). Credit: AP

So now Reuters has obtained a copy of Mitt Romney's birth certificate, and, to no one's surprise, he was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947.

His birth certificate would be of no interest, except that President Barack Obama's is of interest, and red states that want to raise doubts about Obama are considering laws requiring prospective presidential candidates to produce their birth certificates.

There's already too much paperwork in running for office, and if state officials are that interested in public records, let the bureaucrats look them up themselves.

True, Romney's father, George, was born in Mexico, but that has a major "so what?" factor since the elder Romney has been dead since 1995 and, in any case, the question of his citizenship was settled during his unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney managed to let Donald Trump elbow him out of the limelight on what should have been a triumphant day for Romney, the day he clinched the GOP nomination.

Romney, to his discredit, has been half-hearted about squelching the Obama birther issue long after rational individuals have been convinced that, yes, Obama was born in the United States and, yes, he has a birth certificate to prove it.

The issue is now the province of those like Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Trump, who at least uses his own money to chase birther chimeras around the Hawaiian islands. Their antics are a source of fun in certain quarters because they're such easy targets for ridicule, but they are not serious politics.

Let us stipulate, then, that both Obama and Romney are full-fledged citizens of the United States with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto, and let's get on with the presidential campaign that, maybe, will solve some of our problems.

Dale McFeatters is a senior writer for the Scripps Howard News Service.

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