CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann Wednesday joined a growing list of Republican politicians and strategists distancing themselves from the "birther" issue that questions where President Barack Obama was born.
The issue is causing a split on the political right, with Donald Trump and some conservatives continuing to challenge Obama's constitutional eligibility to be president based on the contention that he was born outside the country.
More and more, though, top Republicans - including some with presidential ambitions - are trying to push the debate away from a question considered extremist by many independent voters who are crucial to electoral success in 2012.
On Monday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a so-called "birther bill" that would have required any presidential candidate to produce authenticating documentation proving they were American citizens born in the United States to get on the state ballot. The move by Brewer followed rejection of the birther issue as a serious topic by former Bush administration strategist Karl Rove, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a likely GOP presidential candidate.
Speaking on ABC's "Good Morning America," Bachmann said Wednesday that she accepted the validity of a signed, stamped Certification of Live Birth that showed the president was born in Hawaii in 1961.
"Well, then that should settle it," Bachmann, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, said on seeing the document. "I take the president at his word."
Asked if that ended the story. Bachmann said "I guess it's over" and added the birther question "is not the main issue facing the United States right now."
Analysts said Brewer's veto could reflect part of a GOP shift away from a fringe but vocal group pushing the birther issue.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with