Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie

For the second time in recent months, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has created a controversy in the state’s Department of Health, which holds the key to outstanding questions about Barack Obama’s birth.

As WND reported, Abercrombie earlier created a stir by announcing plans to release additional information on Obama’s birth from the state’s archives, but then failed to follow through.

Then last month, Abercrombie asked for the resignation of Dr. Neal Palafox, a well-respected physician he had chosen to replace Chiyome Fukino, who had served as guardian of Barack Obama’s birth certificate when she was head of the Hawaii Department of Health.

Now, Abercrombie is refusing to explain his sudden change of direction.

Sen. Sam Slom, the only Republican in the state Senate, shared with WND a terse letter Abercrombie sent him, dated Feb. 28, in which Abercrombie indicated he had no comment on his decision to fire Palafox.

“I will comment if and when appropriate,” Abercrombie wrote:

In a previous letter, Slom asked Abercrombie to explain why he had fired Palafox.

According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the letter notified the governor that Slom had confirmed with federal sources that Dr. Palafox is not under any investigation, the reason Abercrombie’s office alleged was behind the governor’s request for Palafox to withdraw.

State Sen. Sam Slom

“If he is indeed innocent, let’s clear this matter up and allow the Senate to consider him for the position,” Slom wrote to Abercrombie. “The Health Department has a number of problems, and strong leadership is required.”

The Hawaii Reporter published a complete text of Slom’s letter to Abercrombie.

“As a member of the Health Committee who would be considering [Palafox’s] or another nomination, I am requesting additional information to determine whether or not he was falsely accused,” Slom wrote Abercrombie. “It would be unfortunate to have these allegations hanging over him if they are not true.”

“Palafox was determined to clean up the Hawaii Department of Health, and he ran afoul of politics when the people he fired sought retribution,” Slom told WND.

Slom did not respond to WND requests to respond to Abercrombie’s two-sentence letter, but has said he does not believe that Dr. Palafox was fired for refusing to allow Abercrombie to search for Obama birth records.

But Slom adds he would be happy to use the Palafox case if it would permit him to open up to the public any birth records the Hawaii health department has.

“If Palafox serves as a shoehorn to get for the public any Obama birth records the Hawaii Department of Health has, I am all for doing so,” he said. “I don’t understand why Obama has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep all his records from the public – not just his Hawaii birth records, but his passport records and his school records. All Obama’s records should be public, including any Hawaii birth records that exist.”

Slom said Abercrombie did conduct a search for Obama birth records – he wasn’t sure if Abercrombie looked himself, or if he sent someone to search the records.

Slom repeated what he told the Hawaii newspapers – that there is no federal investigation against Palafox. He characterized that as a trumped-up story to provide cover for the dismissal of Palafox. He said he met personally with Dr. Palafox and was prepared to vote to confirm his nomination as director of the Hawaii Health Department.

“Neil is a small man, about 5 feet 1 inch in height, with a huge ego,” said Slom. “He thought he could come into office and do Obama a great favor by putting an end to Obama’s birth controversy.”

But the inability to produce any documents after vows to the New York Times and other news organizations only added fuel to the fire earlier this year. Now the dismissal of Dr. Palafox – and Abercrombie’s failure to explain his change of heart – has only added to ongoing controversy surrounding Obama’s birth records.

The blogosphere is rife with speculation that Abercrombie dispatched Palafox as health director because he was unable to produce evidence supporting Abercrombie’s repeated claims Obama was born at Kapi’olani Medical Center.

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