But in doing it Wednesday of all days when the issue has been simmering for months, two of his biggest critics, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, charged the White House with conspiring to create its own distraction -- from the first-ever news conference by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. That long-awaited event is also Wednesday.
"Now, don't let the WH distract you w/the birth crt from what Bernanke says today. Stay focused, eh?" Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, said in a Twitter message Wednesday addressed to the news media.
Beck had the same reaction.
"My theory: this is because Bernanke is speaking today," Beck said on his syndicated radio show.
Bernanke is making history Wednesday, becoming the first Fed chairman to hold a news conference after the central bank's Federal Open Market Committee finishes its two-day policy-setting meeting. Palin and Beck have been highly critical of the Fed and its actions during the financial crisis and and attempts to stimulate the economy.
The White House said the birth certificate was released Wednesday because Obama's personal counsel just returned with it from Hawaii last night.