Young Barack Obama with his mother
An interview with newly elected Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie that addressed Barack Obama’s presidential eligibility has prompted two opposing interpretations by legacy media – one insisting the governor has resolved the issue and the other concluding he effectively has admitted he can’t find the long-form birth certificate that would help put the controversy to rest.
The New York Daily News apparently found the interview published Tuesday by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reason to declare final victory over “conspiracy theorists,” but ABC News featured a story on its website pointing out Abercrombie has not delivered the promised proof.
After WND’s report of the interview Wednesday – emphasizing Abercrombie tacitly has admitted an investigation he first mentioned in December has failed to produce a birth certificate – the New York Daily News declared in its headline, “Record of President Obama’s birth in 1961 is ‘in the archives’: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie.”
The Daily News lead paragraph stated: “Officials in Hawaii have tracked down papers indicating that President Obama was indeed born in their state, according to its new governor.”
But the New York paper acknowledged that Abercrombie has not yet presented the proof to the public, stating “he again promised he would do ‘what I can do’ to publicly verify that records show Obama was born in Hawaii and is a citizen of the United States, making him eligible to be President.”
The ABC News report, meanwhile, noted, “Despite his assurance to end the controversy, the governor has yet to present the document.”
ABC led its story with, “Officials in Hawaii say they have located President Obama’s birth certificate indicating that he was born in the state, but have yet to produce the document at the heart of a long-simmering conspiracy theory.”
Other reports noted, however, that Abercrombie referred only to having found an unspecified notation of the birth, not a long-form birth certificate.
The wire service United Press International ran a story largely based on the ABC News account that stated, “Hawaii’s governor says President Obama’s birth certificate is ‘written down’ in state archives, but conspiracy theorists say they have yet to see it.”
WND has reported that according to Hawaii law at the time, a notation made in the archives and newspaper announcements in Honolulu’s two biggest newspapers could have been triggered simply by grandparents Stanley and Madelyn Dunham appearing in-person to register Obama as a Hawaiian birth, even if he was born elsewhere.
WND also has reported that Tim Adams, a former senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu in 2008 has maintained that there is no long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate on file with the Hawaii Department of Health and that neither of Honolulu’s hospitals, Queens Medical Center or Kapiolani Medical Center, have any record that Obama was born in their facility.
WND has asked Abercrombie’s spokeswoman in Honolulu, Donalyn Dela Cruz, for an interview with the governor, but she has not responded.
On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, the then-director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, Chiyome Fukino, issued a statement that she had “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.”
In a separate statement, Fukino said, “I and Dr. Alvin Onaka have 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.”
But as WND reported, neither statement specified what the “record” or “certificate” says or answered questions raised over the issue.
Also, the Hawaii Department of Health has refused to authenticate the short-form Certification of Live Birth posted on the Internet initially by
Snopes.com and FactCheck.org.
‘Can’t produce the vital document’
“Pressure was mounting on Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie today amid increasing confusion over whether President Obama was born there,” the paper reported.
The Daily Mail pointed out that while Abercrombie stated evidence of Obama’s birth “actually exists in the archives, written down,” it nevertheless “became apparent that what had been discovered was an unspecified listing or notation of Obama’s birth that someone had made in the state archives and not a birth certificate.”
In the Star-Advertiser interview, the London paper said, Abercrombie “suggested that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health.”
Back in Hawaii, a columnist writing in an award-winning, independent online news and opinion journal founded by veteran Hawaii reporters asserted Abercrombie “has utterly failed to prove Obama was born in Hawaii.”
Robert Paul Reyes, in the Hawaii Reporter, said Hawaii officials “need to track down only one document: The original Obama birth certificate with the name of the hospital and the doctor, his or her signature.”
“How difficult can it be for the governor of Hawaii to track down one document? He can dispatch hundreds of state employees to search for Obama’s birth certificate,” the columnist said.
Reyes argued that “to state that ‘officials have tracked down papers indicating that President Obama was indeed born in Hawaii’ falls woefully short of proving that Obama is a citizen of the United States.”
He concluded: “Show us the money! Show us the birth certificate!”
An NBC television affiliate in Tyler, Texas, east of Dallas, featured WND’s report in a regular opinion segment in which its news anchor interacts with a local talk-radio host.
KETK-TV news anchor Bob Brackeen said in the segment Thursday that “there seems to be a glitch or two about what the governor was saying,” adding Abercrombie gave “a pretty vague response” to a question about the birth certificate.
KTBB talk-radio host Garth Maier agreed, saying Abercrombie’s explanation that a record of Obama’s birth is “written down in the archives somewhere” sounds “pretty vague about actual evidence.”
See the KETK segment:
Maier reported that he had asked his radio listeners to respond to the question, “Do you have doubts President Obama was born in Hawaii?”
One listener, heard in a recording, said, “I didn’t have doubts before, but now that the governor of the state can’t produce a document of this nature, I really have my doubts now.”
Brackeen wrapped up the segment recalling, “Garth, as you mentioned last hour, this wasn’t 1861 here, this was 1961, in a hospital.”
Maier concluded: “You would think it would take the governor less than a day to get his attorney general dispatched and his director of the health department and say, ‘Listen, just go get the form, and we’ll get this all settled.’”
Surge of doubt
As WND reported, Abercrombie, 72, a former member of the U.S. House, gave a flurry of high-profile media interviews last month condemning “birthers” who question Obama’s constitutional eligibility to occupy the Oval Office.
In an apparent effort to quell a surge of public doubt – with some polls showing half of Americans doubting Obama’s story – Abercrombie promised he would try to release additional records on Obama from his state’s Department of Health vault.
Obama supporter and declared “enemy” of “birthers” Chris Matthews, the anchor of the nightly MSNBC “Hardball” program, devoted a segment to the controversy Dec. 27, noting a New York Times/CBS News poll that said only 58 percent of Americans were willing to say Obama was born in Hawaii as the president claims.
See the MSNBC segment:
Matthews displayed a copy of a Hawaii long-form birth certificate from 1961 and compared it with a copy of the Certification of Live Birth that was posted on the Internet during the 2008 presidential campaign, when the issue first was raised.
“Why has the president himself not demanded that they put out the initial documents?” Matthews asked his guests, Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page and David Corn of Mother Jones magazine.
“What do you about those other 43 percent,” who either don’t believe Obama was born in Hawaii or don’t know, the host asked. “Why isn’t Abercrombie on the right trail here, to at least go to the [23 percent who aren't sure]. Obviously the nut cases on the far right who hate this guy aren’t going to ever admit that you’re right. But why not get to the people who are confused?”
Matthews said that what is new is “the mere fact that a newly elected governor of Hawaii, [Obama's] home state – and it is his home state, I completely agree with you – has begun this effort.”
“Now everybody on the right knows he’s begun the effort. Every newspaper person knows it. You guys know it. I know it,” Matthews continued. “So we’re going to be peering out of the corner of our eye in the next couple of weeks, ‘How’s Abercrombie doing on his expedition to find the original document, with signatures all over it, like all our birth certificates, like this one here that somebody who was born one day before – has all kinds of signatures on it, it’s an actual Photostat?”
Matthews was referring to the hospital-generated birth certificates of twin daughters born to Eleanor Nordyke at Kapiolani hospital on Aug. 5, 1961, one day after the purported day of Obama’s birth at the same hospital. The Nordyke birth certificates were featured in a July 2009 WND report.
The Nordykes’ certificates include information missing from the short-form document for Obama published online, including the name of the hospital, the name of the attending physician, the name and address of the parents, the race of the parents and the race of the baby, the exact time of birth and the weight of the baby at birth.
“Don’t we want to know if he can find it?” Matthews continued in his Dec. 27 segment. “I don’t understand why the governor just doesn’t say, ‘Snap it off, whoever’s over there in the department of records, send me a copy right now.’ And why doesn’t the president just say, ‘Send me a copy right now’. Why doesn’t (press secretary Robert) Gibbs and (senior adviser David) Axelrod say, ‘Let’s just get this crappy story dead.’”
Matthews’ guests insisted the president doesn’t care.
An incredulous Matthews responded: “The president doesn’t care that 43 percent of the country doesn’t think he’s an American?”