No one however has ever claimed that the staffer WROTE that email. Here is a copy of that email, via Snopes, and their observations about the email origins and circulation.
“Barack Obama’s mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth,” asserted one chain email that surfaced on the urban legend site Snopes.com in April 2008.
That Hillary Clinton supporters circulated such an e-mail isn't in question, but the claim that that's the moment the birther theory "first emerged" simply isn't true. The likeliest point of origin we've been able to find was a post on conservative message board FreeRepublic.com dated 1 March 2008 (which, according to a report in The Telegraph, was at least a month before Clinton supporters got on the e-mail bandwagon):
I was told today that Obama swore in on a Koran for his Senate seat. I do not believe he did. Can someone clarify this for me? I am under the impression only a Congressman has so far sworn in on a Koran.
Also that Obama’s mother gave birth to him overseas and then immediately flew into Hawaii and registered his birth as having taken place in Hawaii.
Again, any clarifications on this? Defintely disqualifies him for Prez. There must be some trace of an airticket. While small babies are not charged air fare they do have a ticket issued for them.
Long time ago but there may be some residual information somewhere. Good ammo (if available and true) BEST USED AFTER he becomes PREZ (if that occurs) and it’s too late for Dems - except accept the VP.
Only the right persisted in perpetuating the theory beyond 2008, notably Trump, well after the totally unnecessary release of the president's birth certificate - something done, imho, to humiliate the president as different (and therefore inferior in the minds of conservatives) to prior presidents, (like Chester Arthur rumored to have been born in Canada, with a foreign father). Not only is there some question as to the location of Chester Arthur's birth, but also a question of what year he was born.
As with President Obama, the issue of school records were involved as well in the conspiracy theory. Chester Arthur's birther, by the way, really WAS a Democrat, a lawyer by the name of A. P. Hinman.
Politico did a great job tracking down who really DID originate birtherism in a recent article in 2008:
“As we reported, some of her supporters flirted with the idea in 2008 — but it has its origins in the fever swamps beginning in Illinois in 2004,” he said.
In fact, birtherism, as it’s been called, reportedly began with innuendo by serial Illinois political candidate Andy Martin, who painted Obama as a closet Muslim in 2004. That spiraled into a concerted effort by conspiracy theorists to raise doubts about Obama’s birthplace and religion — and essentially paint him as un-American.
Martin, who briefly launched a little-noticed presidential campaign last year, has disavowed the movement he’s often credited with starting, though he still foments similarly discredited doubts about Obama’s religion.
...On Friday, Clinton’s former senior aide Patti Solis Doyle acknowledged that a volunteer coordinator in Iowa forwarded a birther-related email. “Hillary made the decision immediately let that person go,” she said. “We let that person go. It was so beyond the pale of the campaign Hillary wanted to run and that we as a staff wanted to run that I called David Plouffe who was managing Barack Obama to apologize to say this is not coming from us, that this was rogue volunteer.”
It is worth noting that Andy Martin is running again for President, per Ballotpedia, as a Republican. Again. Also according to Ballotpedia, Andy Martin a week ago lost a run for Congress as a Republican in New Hampshire.for the 2nd Congressional District.But an appearance in a documentary-style program on the Fox News Channel watched by three million people last week thrust the man, Andy Martin, and his past into the foreground. The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government.An examination of legal documents and election filings, along with interviews with his acquaintances, revealed Mr. Martin, 62, to be a man with a history of scintillating if not always factual claims. He has left a trail of animosity — some of it provoked by anti-Jewish comments — among political leaders, lawyers and judges in three states over more than 30 years.He is a law school graduate, but his admission to the Illinois bar was blocked in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of “moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”Though he is not a lawyer, Mr. Martin went on to become a prodigious filer of lawsuits, and he made unsuccessful attempts to win public office for both parties in three states, as well as for president at least twice, in 1988 and 2000. Based in Chicago, he now identifies himself as a writer who focuses on his anti-Obama Web site and press releases.Mr. Martin, in a series of interviews, did not dispute his influence in Obama rumors.“Everybody uses my research as a takeoff point,” Mr. Martin said, adding, however, that some take his writings “and exaggerate them to suit their own fantasies.”As for his background, he said: “I’m a colorful person. There’s always somebody who has a legitimate cause in their mind to be angry with me.”When questions were raised last week about Mr. Martin’s appearance and claims on “Hannity’s America” on Fox News, the program’s producer said Mr. Martin was clearly expressing his opinion and not necessarily fact.It was not Mr. Martin's first turn on national television. The CBS News program "48 Hours" in 1993 devoted an hourlong program, "See You in Court; Civil War, Anthony Martin Clogs Legal System with Frivolous Lawsuits," to what it called his prolific filings. (Mr. Martin has also been known as Anthony Martin-Trigona.) He has filed so many lawsuits that a judge barred him from doing so in any federal court without preliminary approval.He prepared to run as a Democrat for Congress in Connecticut, where paperwork for one of his campaign committees listed as one purpose “to exterminate Jew power.” He ran as a Republican for the Florida State Senate and the United States Senate in Illinois. When running for president in 1999, he aired a television advertisement in New Hampshire that accused George W. Bush of using cocaine.
So far as I can determine, while Martin attempted to run as a Dem, he got further and more often running as a Republican and he has always been a bigot and a conservative.
Also from the 2008 NYT article, some of the other players in the birtherism conspiracy theory are identified. They are pertinent to include here, because so many tin-foil hat wearing right wing bigots are still repeating them:
Theories about Mr. Obama’s background have taken on a life of their own. But independent analysts seeking the origins of the cyberspace attacks wind up at Mr. Martin’s first press release, posted on the Free Republic Web site in August 2004.Its general outlines have turned up in a host of works that have expounded falsely on Mr. Obama’s heritage or supposed attempts to conceal it, including “Obama Nation,” the widely discredited best seller about Mr. Obama by Jerome R. Corsi. Mr. Corsi opens the book with a quote from Mr. Martin.“What he’s generating gets picked up in other places,” said Danielle Allen, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who has investigated the e-mail campaign’s circulation and origins, “and it’s an example of how the Internet has given power to sources we would have never taken seriously at another point in time.”Ms. Allen said Mr. Martin’s original work found amplification in 2006, when a man named Ted Sampley wrote an article painting Mr. Obama as a secret practitioner of Islam. Quoting liberally from Mr. Martin, the article circulated on the Internet, and its contents eventually found their way into various e-mail messages, particularly an added claim that Mr. Obama had attended “Jakarta’s Muslim Wahhabi schools. Wahhabism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging jihad on the rest of the world.”Mr. Obama for two years attended a Catholic school in Indonesia, where he was taught about the Bible, he wrote in “Dreams From My Father,” and for two years went to an Indonesian public school open to all religions, where he was taught about the Koran.