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Obama's October surprise-ish: State of Hawaii says his birth certificate is genuine (but...)

[See the 12/05/08 update below]

The Associated Press offers an article perhaps misleadingly titled "State declares Obama birth certificate genuine" (link). There are some problems with the article, as will be discussed below.
State officials say there's no doubt Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.

Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said Friday she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama's original birth certificate.

Fukino says that no state official, including Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, ever instructed that Obama's certificate be handled differently.

She says state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest.
First, Obama could have been born somewhere else and still have a Hawaii birth certificate; see the provision of their state law linked from here. The AP's first sentence above could be an accurate representative of what those state officials explicitly said, or it could be simply the AP's assumption or spin that if they have his birth certificate that means he was born there.

And, what exactly is the "original birth certificate"? Are they talking about the Certification of Live Birth ("COLB"), information provided by the hospital, or something else? Why aren't there more details? While there's a good chance we can trust they're telling the truth about something, it would be foolish to completely trust them, especially because they aren't providing enough details to tell what they're referring to.

And, why was this announced four days before the election, and shortly after Obama making a special trip to that state?

As always, I don't suggest spending a lot of time on this and instead concentrating on things that will actually have an impact. However, some of the things about this just don't add up.

12/05/08 UPDATE: A longer article is in November 1, 2008's "Obama's certificate of birth OK, state says" from Dan Nakaso of the Honolulu Advertiser. The article is here, which is reprinted in full below (retrieved 12/05/08).

The Hawaii officials do not verify that Obama was born in Hawaii, nor do they verify that the COLB as shown at FactCheck matches the one on file. All they say is that Obama has a valid certificate on file.

And, it would be illegal under Hawaiian law for them to have done that. In fact, the article references §338-18 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which is here (bolding added):
Disclosure of records. (a) To protect the integrity of vital statistics records, to ensure their proper use, and to ensure the efficient and proper administration of the vital statistics system, it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any such record, except as authorized by this part or by rules adopted by the department of health.
Once again: under Hawaiian law, it would be illegal for them to verify what's on Obama's certificate. However, the penalties are small; see §338-30 here.

Note also §338-17.8 (link), under which Obama could have been born outside of Hawaii and still have a Hawaiian birth certificate on file:
Certificates for children born out of State. (a) Upon application of an adult or the legal parents of a minor child, the director of health shall issue a birth certificate for such adult or minor, provided that proof has been submitted to the director of health that the legal parents of such individual while living without the Territory or State of Hawaii had declared the Territory or State of Hawaii as their legal residence for at least one year immediately preceding the birth or adoption of such child.

(b) Proof of legal residency shall be submitted to the director of health in any manner that the director shall deem appropriate. The director of health may also adopt any rules pursuant to chapter 91 that he or she may deem necessary or proper to prevent fraudulent applications for birth certificates and to require any further information or proof of events necessary for completion of a birth certificate.
Here's the full text of the 11/01/08 Honolulu Advertiser article linked above:
State Health Department employees continue to be barraged by requests from people demanding to see Barack Obama's birth certificate, including some who have called the department's registrar of vital statistics at home — in the middle of the night.

"This has gotten ridiculous," state health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said yesterday. "There are plenty of other, important things to focus on, like the economy, taxes, energy."

So, in what likely will be a vain attempt to halt the inquiries, Fukino yesterday issued a statement saying that she and the registrar of vital statistics personally inspected Obama's birth certificate and found it to be valid.

Will this be enough to quiet the doubters?

"I hope so," Fukino said. "We need to get some work done."

Fukino issued her statement to try to stomp out persistent rumors that Obama was not born in Honolulu — and is therefore not a U.S. citizen and thus ineligible to run for president.

Fukino, however, repeated the Health Department's position that state law prohibits her or any other officials from actually releasing the birth certificate, which Obama's campaign says shows he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.

"There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama's official birth certificate," Fukino said in the statement. "State law (Hawai'i Revised Statutes ¤338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record. ... No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai'i."

The issue has generated attention from around the world — and court challenges across the country.

Obama critics in Ohio, Seattle and Philadelphia have tried to get their state officials to remove Obama's name from their election ballots until his birthplace could be confirmed. Judges, so far, have dismissed all of the suits.

A New York Internet author named Andy Martin has a Circuit Court hearing date set for Friday in Honolulu — three days after Tuesday's presidential election — on his lawsuit to get a certified copy of Obama's birth certificate. Hawai'i's Supreme Court denied Martin's request on Oct. 22 to expedite the hearing.

In Hawai'i, birth, death, marriage and certain divorce documents can only be released to people with a "tangible interest," such as the people themselves, their parents, spouses, grandparents or other relatives.

As a result, Fukino said she does not believe Health Department officials could release Obama's birth certificate to the public even with his permission, although she would need to get a legal ruling to be certain.

Bloggers and Obama critics allege that Obama actually was born in Kenya, but have provided no documentation. Obama supporters and satirists, such as Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, counter that he actually was born on Superman's home planet of Krypton.

Obama's campaign has posted a copy of the Honolulu birth certificate on its Web site at www.fightthesmears.com/articles/5/birthcertificate. The nonpartisan Web site www.Factcheck.org says the document appears to be authentic.

But the Web site documentation has only generated more fuel for skeptics.

They point to the lack of an official state seal on the document, although Health Department officials say seals often are placed on the backs of birth certificates.

Bloggers and other skeptics also wonder why a large black rectangle appears next to the words "CERTIFICATE NO."

Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said the blackened portion is a department file number that was redacted to prevent hackers from breaking into the Health Department's system.
UPDATE: To be precise, it's a "Certification of Live Birth", not a "Certificate of Live Birth".
Other tags: obama citizenship

Politics · Fri, 10/31/2008 - 18:40 · Importance: 19

Sat, 11/01/2008 - 03:59
smrstrauss

This just in: State declares Barack Obama's Hawaii birth certificate is genuine By Associated Press 6:43 PM EDT, October 31, 2008 HONOLULU (AP) _ State officials say there's no doubt Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said Friday she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama's original birth certificate. Fukino says that no state official, including Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, ever instructed that Obama's certificate be handled differently. She says state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest. === (and this slightly different account:) Friday, October 31, 2008 - 11:51 AM HAST (That means Hawaii/Aleutian Standard Time) Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate confirmed Pacific Business News (Honolulu) The director of Hawaii’s Department of Health confirmed on Friday what Barack Obama has been saying all along: the presidential candidate was born in Honolulu. “There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate,” said Chiyome Fukino. “State law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.” Citing her statutory authority to oversee and maintain Hawaii’s vital records, Fukino said she has “personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures. “No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawaii,” Fukino added. Lingle, a Republican, has been campaigning on the Mainland for Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois, was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu. He graduated high school at Punahou School in 1979. End quote: These two versions of the same report seem clear enough. The birth certificate is on file in Hawaii and it is valid. However, the opponents of Obama simply will not give up. I have seen one Web comment that went along these lines: "It could have been a valid Kenyan birth certificate on file in Hawaii that the Hawaii official was talking about." Laughable, of course, why would a Kenyan birth certificate be filed in Hawaii? Oh, and as to the claim that Obama's grandmother said that she had been present at his birth in Kenya. Well, that all stems from Corsi and Philip Berg, who claim to have an audio tape of her saying that. But Berg and Corsi have never played that tape for anyone. And they have not shown any other evidence, such as Kenyan documents, either.

Sat, 11/01/2008 - 07:59
eh

_However, the opponents of Obama simply will not give up._ In part because no one (that I know of) has ever seen the original birth certificate -- only a 'certified copy', or whatever. _She says state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest._ One could say this is convenient for Obama. Although given the importance surrounding the question of his birth, you'd think Obama would personally request/authorize that the original be released in order to put this question (nonsense?) to rest once and for all. But he hasn't done that; why not? So all of this is nothing new. Personally, I have no idea.

Sat, 11/01/2008 - 14:07
lulz
www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2008/oct/29/bar

Maybe you can call up your mom and ask if you were really born where she and your copy of your birth certificate say you were. Maybe you were really born on another continent and the false story was planted as part of a conspiracy!

Sat, 11/01/2008 - 14:31
eh

Yeah, maybe. But I'm not running for President. So it doesn't fucking matter.

Sun, 11/02/2008 - 03:23
r€nato

maybe you're just a fucking crybaby. PRESIDENT. BARACK. HUSSEIN. OBAMA. Get used to it, loser.

Sun, 11/02/2008 - 06:28
truth machine

_So it doesn't fucking matter._ You and your idiotic ideas don't fucking matter, cretin.

Sun, 11/02/2008 - 15:04
In Good Company

Oh, please. He could put his birth certificate IN YOUR HANDS and give you $50,000 of his campaign money for you to fly in an expert of your choosing to authenticate it, and you'd just go, "Wait... isn't this exactly what somebody who'd made a fake so clever they knew it could fool any expert would do?" (And then you'd criticize him for spending his campaign money on it.) This is the disease of conspiratorial thinking. You only accept facts that fit with your preconceived notion. Any fact which doesn't is automatically suspect, for no other reason than it doesn't fit. You honestly believe that 40-some years ago, some shadowy Kenyan Ay-Rab Muslin Forces(tm) arranged to have Barack Obama born in Kenya then faked natural born US citizenship so he could be made president one day? Is that what you're saying? If it's not, then what ARE you saying? (Funny how quickly it goes back and forth between "Obama is a loyal agent of his relatives in Kenya!" to "Obama couldn't care less about his family in Kenya who live on a diet of three rocks a month while his wife's having lobster and champagne.")

Sun, 11/02/2008 - 17:35
petty bourgeois

The original has not been released. What is the little weasel hiding from the American public? And why are you little whiny leftist pussies defending such a corrupt politician?

Mon, 11/03/2008 - 20:18
petty bourgeois

The silence speaks volumes of the hit and run ad hominem followers of the messiah. Pussies, every one of you hateful hacks. These idiots seem pretty confident of themselves when the election has not taken place yet.

Fri, 06/05/2009 - 04:50
Brian H

I betcha even the Certification is a fake. Has Hawaii ever confirmed that it issued that piece of web-paper?

Sat, 07/18/2009 - 09:39
Mrs. Polly
rumproast.com

You don't want him to be, but he is. President. American. Legally. But keep fighting; at least it gives you something to do. You might want to try the Flat Earth Society, if this doesn't work out for you.