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Obama citizenship and birth certificate issue

[NOTE: The summary portion below this note was last updated on March 10, 2009. In the evening of July 27, 2009, the state of Hawaii issued a clear statement claiming Obama was born there, something that they had not said before. Note that those who lied about what Hawaii said on 10/31/08 are still liars; the latest statement doesn't absolve them of that. This summary will be updated at a later point to reflect the new statement. But, please bear in mind that, until the time of the new statement, Hawaii had not said that he was born there and thus those who claimed that Hawaii's 10/31 statement said something other than what it actually said are still liars. See also the large number of posts linked below the summary.

Note also that almost all of our coverage involves the certificate aspect, not the "natural born citizen" aspect. Our primary interest in this issue is a) to try to discredit mainstream media sources and others for lying and misleading about the basic, easy-to-understand facts of the matter, and b) to try to discredit those supposed Obama opponents who have enabled those media and other sources to mislead such as Ed Morrissey of Hot Air. It's possible to both believe everything Obama has said about his past and at the same time point out that a long series of mainstream media hacks have lied about the facts of this issue and use that to discredit them. Those supposed Obama opponents who've spoken out against "birthers" don't have the intelligence to understand that, and wouldn't have the integrity to mention it even if they could understand it.

For an example of our coverage, our first post about this issue was in June 2008 and pointed out that Eli Saslow of the Washington Post lied about the basic facts of this matter; many of the other posts below are similar in that they show how a source lied about objective facts of this issue. Rather than using this issue to help discredit those sources, many supposed Obama opponents showed just how incompetent they are.

The summary as of March 10, 2009 follows, and below that are links to more recent posts.]

Despite what you might have heard, no definitive proof that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii has been provided. The supposed "fact checkers" have not provided definitive proof, and neither has Obama himself.

That does not mean that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii. All it means is that we don't know for sure. Those who claim that his birthplace has been definitively proven are basing it on faith and not on facts.

A note of warning: Obama's supporters have been remarkably effective at misleading people about this issue, smearing all those who have questions as conspiracy theorists at the same time as they lie through their teeth.

First, the supposed proof which had been provided as of mid-October 2008 was discussed in this exhaustive overview.

After that was posted, the state of Hawaii supposedly confirmed Obama's birth certificate. However, all they actually did was confirm that he has a valid certificate on file. Those Hawaiian officials did not confirm that he was born in Hawaii. No, really: read their full statement and see if you can find anything in there verifying where he was born.

Note that there's a Hawaii state law that allows those born outside of Hawaii - including in foreign countries - to obtain Hawaiian birth certificates. Read the law at that link. That means that Obama could have been born outside Hawaii and still have a valid Hawaiian birth certificate on file, just as the officials said in their statement. Once again: that doesn't mean that Obama's certificate shows an out-of-Hawaii birth. That just means that the statement from the Hawaiian officials is ambiguous.

In light of that, I contacted the Hawaii Department of Health and asked them to clarify their statement. They refused to do so. Read their reply here.

FactCheck and others claim that those officials verified where Obama was born. Yet, those same officials refused to confirm FactCheck's assumptions. If FactCheck's claims were true, then it would have been just as easy for those Hawaiian officials to confirm FactCheck's claims.

Note also that under Hawaii state law it would be illegal for officials to disclose the contents of a birth certificate, which also includes verifying the contents of a certificate.

Despite that, sources such as FactCheck claim that Hawaiian officials verified the contents of Obama's certificate, something that would be illegal. And, in their reply to me, those Hawaiian officials referenced the fact that it would be illegal for them to verify the contents of a certificate.

In other words, no matter what you hear, where Obama was born has not been verified. Those who say otherwise are lying to you. There are several writers and others who've lied about this issue listed below, and a partial list of politicians who've lied or who are at least spreading disinformation about this issue is here.

If you disagree, here's a challenge: pick up the phone and get the answers to these questions.

Last modified Jan 27, 2010
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Brendan Nyhan still isn't credible (Obama, "Birthers", "science", CNN) - 04/28/11

... mainstream media article about the Obama citizenship issue has contained one or more lies or misleading statements about the indisputable facts of the issue. In some cases they've just made things up. Nyhan would fault the American public for not believing articles that lie to them and that smear millions of Americans. A "Brendan Nyhanovich" would have faulted Russians for not believing that...

Byron Tau misleads about Obama certificate issue (Politico) - 04/28/11

Byron Tau is about as truthful as his Politico colleague Ben Smith, meaning not much. The latest example is provided in "Hawaii's blunders fueled birthers" (politico.com/news/stories/0411/53842_Page2.html). Why the following from the article is misleading will be explained below: One month before the presidential election, then-state Department of Health Director Chiyome Fukino — a Republican...

Who was Obama's birth doctor? (David Sinclair, Rodney West, ...; Snopes) - 04/27/11

... someone else? When it comes to the Obama citizenship issue things are never clear (but it's probably not the last three). And, there's always the newtruth, which supersedes one or more versions of the oldtruth: what was the truth yesterday is no longer the truth today as the story changes and a new version of the truth is determined. So, for instance, the newtruth is that the person who...

Obama releases long-form birth certificate? Well... - 04/27/11

(Note: see also the dozens of Obama citizenship entries) Earlier today Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate, proving he was born in Hawaii and finally ending the "Birthers" issue once and for all. Or, at least that's what you'll be told, despite the fact that that's not what he did and questions still remain. All Obama did today was release a PDF file [1] that has a picture of...

Gary Tuchman misleads about Obama certificate (CNN, "Birthers") - 04/26/11

... he's going to mislead about the Obama citizenship issue. Examples of the last are found in "CNN investigation: Obama born in U.S." (link). To start, consider this sentence from the article: Obama's 2008 campaign produced a certification of live birth, a document legally accepted as confirmation of a birth and routinely used for official purposes. A certification of live birth ("COLB") is in many...

Ben Smith and Byron Tau can't tell the truth about Obama certificate ("Birthers", Politico) - 04/22/11

... the indisputable facts of the Obama citizenship issue. He continues lying today in "Birtherism: Where it all began" (link) which contains a series of false or misleading statements about the indisputable facts of this issue. This time around he's got some help from his Politico colleague Byron Tau. 1. They write "[The Obama campaign] posted Obama’s certificate of live birth on their “Fight the...

Hawaii gov Abercrombie now says he saw Obama a few days after he was born - 04/20/11

The strange case of Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie keeps rolling along with him now saying that he saw Barack Obama a few days after he was born and also that he saw Obama's parents bringing Baby Obama to social events. His new statements don't exactly sync up with his prior statements. Rather than repeating myself, see this, this, and this for the backstory and his various confusing statements...

Michele Bachmann fails to expose George Stephanopoulos' deceptive game ("Birther", Obama's certificate) - 04/20/11

... (see our extensive coverage at Obama citizenship). Neither of them came off very well in the exchange: Stephanopoulos acted (not surprisingly) like a deceptive partisan hack. And, Bachmann failed to show clear thinking by calling him on it. Stephanopoulos acted the part of a three-card monty dealer, holding up a supposed print out of "the president’s certificate". Bachmann said that the issue...

Ed Hornick of CNN just makes things up (Brian Todd, Obama certificate, "Birthers") - 04/17/11

... like immigration, trade, and the Obama citizenship issue. An example was provided yesterday as John King lied and misled about the indisputable facts of this matter. Another example is provided by Ed Hornick of CNN (helped by Brian Todd, who in his report just makes something up that never happened ("Debunking the birther claim", politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/15/ debunking-the-birther-...

John King lies, misleads, smears; thinks facts are crazy (CNN, Obama certificate, Birthers) - 04/16/11

... features a discussion of the Obama citizenship issue with Orly Taitz and former Barack Obama pollster Cornell Belcher. On the video, John King lies, misleads, and smears millions of Americans, and seems to think that the truth and getting his facts straight are crazy. 1. King holds up a barely legible piece of paper and calls it Obama's "certificate of live birth": - a. The infamous picture on...

Fukino: Obama has birth certificate on file and it matches the COLB - 04/10/11

... Fukino - at the center of the Obama citizenship issue - has given an interview in which she claims that Obama has a valid birth certificate on file in Hawaii. Per her, the certificate is half handwritten and half typed and is signed by the delivering physician. She also claims that the information on the "Certification of Live Birth" ("COLB") shown on Obama's site matches what they have on file...

Ben Smith keeps lying about Obama certificate issue, two years later - 04/01/11

Over two years ago I posted Ben Smith /Politico keeps lying about Obama certificate issue. Now, over two years later, Smith is still lying about the basic, indisputable facts of the matter. At [1] he says: Obama has, as has been reported for years, released the document. Hawaii officials have verified it. The conspiracy theory is crazy. And, having been held at bay by the Republican Establishment...

Ben Smith finally does real reporting on the Birth Certificate (Donald Trump's that is) - 03/28/11

Ben Smith of the Politico is finally doing real reporting on an issue about the Birth Certificate. No, not whatever Birth Certificate Barack Obama has: Ben Smith has a habit of lying about that. Rather, Smith's real reporting involves looking into a certificate of some kind that Donald Trump posted after engaging in "Birther theorizing" (politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0311/...

Michael O'Brien of The Hill keeps lying about Obama's "certificate" - 02/17/11

... basic, indisputable facts of the Obama citizenship issue. The latest example is this false statement in an article attempting to "Birther-bait" Michelle Bachmann (link): The state of Hawaii has produced a birth certificate showing Obama was born there. The problem is that whether that happened is unclear; to state it as a fact is to lie. First, the infamous picture on Obama's site says right at...

Anderson Cooper lies about Obama's "certificate" (Montana, Bob Wagner, "Birther") - 02/16/11

... representative Bob Wagner about the Obama citizenship issue and - no big surprise - Anderson Cooper lied about the basic, indisputable facts of this matter. Obviously, Obama fans like Cooper don't care about getting the facts right, but if you do and you want to find out how Cooper tries to mislead you, keep reading. Video of the appearance is attached [1] First, here's what Cooper said,...

Jonathan Strong gets facts wrong about Obama certificate and "Birthers" - 02/16/11

... reporter offering "facts" about the Obama citizenship issue designed to put that issue to rest and finally quell the concerns of the great unwashed is a certain guarantee that they'll get their facts wrong, and Strong is no different. 1. Strong claims that "[t]he evidence shows Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961" and that "[w]e know Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961". In fact, the most that we can...

Did Hawaii gov Abercrombie lie about seeing baby Obama? (1/09 interview) - 01/24/11

The strange tale of Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie and Barack Obama's birth certificate continues with a video from early 2009 that might contradict Abercrombie's claim to have seen Obama as a baby. See the video below, and here's the transcript: At the end of 2010, Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie said he was going to prove that Obama was born in Hawaii... He said "I was here when that baby...

Hawaii governor Abercrombie won't release supposed Obama birth certificate - 01/21/11

... can think for yourself, see the Obama citizenship page for our extensive coverage, and click here if you don't understand our take on this issue and why this issue is so vital. UPDATE: A January 2009 interview casts doubt on whether Abercrombie saw Baby Obama as he claims.

Not credible: Neil Abercrombie misleads, now can't seem to find Obama's original birth certificate - 01/19/11

... left as an exercise.) See the Obama citizenship page for extensive past coverage of this issue, including many examples of reporters and politicians lying about the basic facts of this matter. [UPDATE: Now he won't release it] UPDATE 2: A January 2009 interview casts doubt on whether Abercrombie saw Baby Obama as he claims. -------- [1] time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1729524-3,00.html On...

When did Stanley Dunham move to Seattle with Obama: 1961 or 1962? (University of Washington, Wikipedia) - 01/19/11

... trying to silence debate. See the Obama citizenship page for extensive past coverage of this issue, including many examples of reporters and politicians lying about the basic facts of this matter. UPDATE: From this: As Obama tells the story [in Dreams from My Father], Obama Sr. had children with at least four different women, two of them American, two African. Ruth Nidesand, a white American,...

Sarah Palin's lonely fight against claims of her birth in Nunavut - 12/30/10

From Part 11 of a 15 part Joint Investigative Report by the NYT, WaPo, MSNBC, Chicago Tribune, LAT, AP, and CSM: ...Sarah Palin has repeatedly refused to comment on the issue, leaving many to speculate on whether she was in fact born in Nunavut and not in Idaho as she claims. Before the election, she posted on her website a picture of what she 'claims' is her birth certificate. However, a team of...

Chris Matthews: Obama should release his original birth certificate (Clarence Page & David Corn agree) - 12/28/10

... certificate so as to put the Obama citizenship issue to rest. And, fellow Washington DC hacks Clarence Page and David Corn agree. Matthews even says: "Why has the president himself not demanded they put out the original documents? ...If it exists, why not put it out?" Recall that in 2007 Matthews said that Obama was "born in Indonesia" and referred to "his Islamic background". The video is from...

"Birther Bill" failed: few requests for Obama birth information, few denials - 12/27/10

... answer her questions. See the Obama citizenship page for our extensive coverage and our take on this issue. Note particularly that unlike some others I'm not claiming that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii; he probably was. My (correct) claim is simply that he hasn't definitively proved where he was born and those who say he has are lying. See that link for examples of reporters and politicians lying...

"Fox News Viewers are Most Uninformed" study gets facts wrong (World Public Opinion, Clay Ramsay, Steven Kull, Evan Lewis) - 12/17/10

... the issue they got wrong is the Obama citizenship issue, don't expect anyone who promotes their study to point out that it's flawed. The establishment works night and day to silence debate on that issue and to try to present as fact that Obama was born in the U.S., when it's not a fact but just a belief. It's very highly likely that Obama was indeed born in the U.S., but there's no definitive...

Kasie Hunt lies about Obama certificate issue - 09/27/10

... enforce rightthinking about the Obama citizenship issue and in it Hunt makes this false statement: Obama has been dogged by questions about his citizenship despite producing a birth certificate that proves he was born in Hawaii. 1. The picture she's referring to is of a Certification of Live Birth (i.e., a short-form COLB), which isn't the same as a long-form Certificate. While Hawaii has...

Debate me on the Obama citizenship issue, Part 2 - 09/13/10

... second chance to debate me on the Obama citizenship issue. Before proceeding, I'm going to ask that you read and understand "Why the Obama certificate issue is vitally important" to understand my angle on this issue. My coverage is perfectly valid, logical, and fact-based, even if many have been trained to reflexively reject any coverage of this issue that doesn't push the official line. For...

Timothy Egan misleads for Obama (religion, certificate, Limbaugh) - 08/26/10

... observer but simply a hack. See the Obama citizenship page for my extensive coverage, and if you've been programmed to automatically reject any discussion of that topic please take a few seconds and see my angle on this issue. Egan also claims as a fact that Obama is a Christian. In a loose sense he certainly is. However, it's false to claim that we know for a fact that Obama is not a Muslim. It...

Jeffrey Toobin of CNN forced to correct smears of "Birther" - 08/19/10

... but if others who discuss the Obama citizenship issue were smarter and competent and understood why this issue is important we could get much more meaningful corrections from more powerful people. The backstory: a few weeks ago, CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed Army Doctor LTC Terry Lakin about his court martial over this issue, which was followed by a segment featuring Toobin claiming: "You...

Obama attended 3rd grade in two different countries? - 08/09/10

... newtruth as they go along. See the Obama citizenship page for my extensive coverage and if you aren't familiar with my angle please don't jump to conclusions but see this introduction instead.

Shannon Travis of CNN lies about Obama certificate issue - 08/04/10

... contains three lies about the Obama citizenship issue. Now, of course, just because Shannon Travis and dozens of other mainstream media sources have lied and misled about the easy-to-understand facts of that issue doesn't mean that Obama was born outside the U.S.: it just means those aren't reliable sources. (Note: If you aren't familiar with my coverage of this issue, please take a minute first...

Why the Obama certificate issue is vitally important - 08/04/10

... written dozens of posts about the Obama citizenship issue; see them at that link. The reason: because this is a vitally important topic. Does that mean I'm trying to prove that Barack Obama is ineligible for the presidency? No, in fact none of those posts are designed to show that. Rather, the goals include: 1. Encouraging others to acknowledge the fact that Obama has not provided definitive...

State Dep't doesn't have passport records for Stanley Dunham before 1968; conflicting marriage information - 08/02/10

From this: Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the State Department has released passport records of Stanley Ann Dunham, President Obama's mother – but records for the years surrounding Obama's 1961 birth are missing. The State Department claims a 1980s General Services Administration directive resulted in the destruction of many passport applications and other "non-vital"...

Debate me on the Obama citizenship issue - 07/13/10

If you disagree with me on the Obama citizenship issue, here's your chance to try to show how you think I'm wrong. Leave a comment below presenting a counter-argument to any of the posts at the last link, and I'll reply in comments or in the post with my rebuttal. To summarize, my two basic claims are: 1. While there's an excellent chance that Obama was born in Hawaii as he says, he still hasn't...

Ed Morrissey: the Birther's Joe McCarthy (Sharron Angle) - 07/02/10

... engaging in McCarthyism on the Obama citizenship issue. Morrissey says [1]: In the past few days, rumors have swirled that Angle is a crypto-Birther. I asked her “flat out” whether she believed Barack Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii, and she replied, “No. Is that flat-out enough for you?” Angle says she “wasn’t dodging” the caller on the radio show now being parsed by the media, in...

Hawaii elections clerk claims no birth certificate on file for Obama - 06/11/10

From this: A college instructor who worked as a senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu in 2008 is making the stunning claim Barack Obama was definitely not born in Hawaii as the White House maintains, and that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Obama does not even exist in the Aloha State... ..."I had direct access to the Social Security database, the...

Will Espero "birther bill": might restrict government openness, increase costs (signed by Lingle) - 05/16/10

... government records about the Obama citizenship issue. A few days ago, Linda Lingle signed it into law. You can get a copy of SB2937 by searching at capitol.hawaii.gov, and the meat of the new law is below. The law is not necessary, won't save any government officials any time (and might even increase their workload), and is a step towards a less accountable government. And, it covers all...

BBC lies about Obama certificate issue - 05/16/10

The BBC offers "Hawaii blocks repeat requests for Obama birth records" (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8680916.stm) about that state's new law. In the article, they explicitly state, "Mr Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961". However, that's then followed by two outright lies about the basic, easily-understood, indisputable facts of this matter: The state of Hawaii has released a computer...

Anderson Cooper lies about Obama certificate issue - 05/08/10

Questioning the official story of Obama's birthplace is the establishment's version of heresy, and Anderson Cooper - in the role of an Inquisition interrogator - yesterday interviewed Lt. Col. Terry Lakin about a lawsuit he's bringing over this issue (video: peekURL.com/v6ojxf9 ). In the segment, Cooper lies and misleads about various aspects of this issue: 1. He consistently referred to the...

Linda Lingle rewrites history on Obama certificate issue; breaks the law? - 05/06/10

... Linda Lingle is lying about the Obama citizenship issue, rewriting history and pretending that something happened when it didn't. And, she might have broken Hawaiian law. Speaking on WABC radio on Sunday, she said (link to audio here): It's been an odd situation... This issue kept coming up so much in the campaign, and again I think it's one of those issues that is simply a distraction from the...

Will Dalia Sussman & Marina Stefan of NYT correct their false statement about Hawaiian officials? - 04/22/10

When making a bold statement of fact it's generally a good idea to get all your facts right. Dalia Sussman and Marina Stefan of the New York Times have definitely done the first, but they failed at the second. From "Obama and the ‘Birthers’ in the Latest Poll" [1]: President Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. A scanned image of his birth certificate released during the 2008 presidential...