Bachmann Caught off Guard - By George

Michele Bachmann seemed unprepared today when George Stephanopoulos presented her with the president's shortform birth certificate. The disupte would be over whether that proves that Obama was born in Hawaii, or if a long form is required to do that.

Here's an explanation as to the difference between the short and the long form certificates.

Short forms, known sometimes as computer certifications, are not universally available, but are cheaper than photocopies and much more easily accessible. Limited information is taken from the original birth record (the long form) and stored in a database that can be accessed quickly when birth certificates are needed in a short amount of time. Whereas the long form is a copy of the actual birth certificate, a short form is a document that certifies the existence of such certificate, and is usually titled a "Certification of Birth" or "Certificate of Birth Registration". The short form typically includes the child's name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth, although some also include the names of the child's parents. When the certification does include the names of the parents, it can be used in lieu of a long form birth certificate in almost all circumstances. Nearly all states in the U.S. issue short forms certifications, on both state and local levels.

The president's failure to produce a long form seems to suggest that there's information on the long form that he doesn't want released (although his parents' names are on the certification) - or, that his handlers like the idea of having a controversy over the missing document. Some also claim that the short forms are issued after the fact to those who haven't been required to prove proof of birthplace.