Apologies starting with “if” rarely convey sincere — or sufficient — regret. Such was the case Tuesday when Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett told a Phoenix radio audience, “If I embarrassed the state, I apologize.”

At least that sorry apology represented another belated retreat from the tiresome conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and thus is not legally eligible to serve as our president.

Mr. Bennett, who insisted that he’s no “birther,” has accepted Hawaii’s official verification of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate, a judgment that will allow him to keep the president’s name on Arizona’s general-election ballot.

But Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County said Wednesday that his “investigation” of the president’s origins will continue. And earlier this month, the discovery of a 1991 literary-publicity release that misidentified Mr. Obama’s birthplace as Kenya further fueled the birther fire.

Gee, and we thought the matter had been finally settled last year after Donald Trump lent his considerable publicity clout to doubts over where the president was born. That furor prompted the president to release his long-form birth certificate 13 months ago.

More than enough already. You need not advocate this president’s re-election to find the lingering “birther” blather a ridiculous distraction.

Indeed, those who want a second Obama term will gladly try to link his more substantive detractors with the gullible folks who think he wasn’t born in the U.S.

Mr. Bennett said Wednesday, “I consider the matter closed.”

So should everybody else.