Governor Abercrombie went out on a limb, saying he would shut up the birthers by finding some document in the State archives that he could release to prove Barack Obama’s birth in Hawaii.
One of the problems parsing what Abercrombie said was finding out exactly what Abercrombie really said, and not the numerous paraphrases found in newspaper reports. The closest I could get to the horse’s mouth is the Honolulu Star Advertiser’s interview with Richard Borreca:
Q: You stirred up quite a controversy with your comments regarding birthers and your plans to release more information regarding President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. How is that coming?
A: I got a letter from someone the other day who was genuinely concerned about it; it is not all just political agenda. They were talking on Olelo last night about this; it has a political implication for 2012 that we simply cannot have.
(Abercrombie said there is a recording of the birth in the State Archives and he wants to use that.)
It was actually written I am told, this is what our investigation is showing, it actually exists in the archives, written down …
…What I can do, and all I have ever said, is that I am going to see to it as governor that I can verify to anyone who is honest about it that this is the case.
If there is a political agenda then there is nothing I can do about that, nor can the president.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser later reported that Abercrombie had abandoned his quest to release proof of Obama’s birth in Hawaii.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie will end his quest to prove President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii because it’s against state law to release private documents, his office said today.
State Attorney General David Louie told the governor he can’t disclose an individual’s birth documentation without a person’s consent, Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said.
“There is nothing more that Gov. Abercrombie can do within the law to produce a document,” said Dela Cruz. “Unfortunately, there are conspirators who will continue to question the citizenship of our president.”
Abercrombie, who was a friend of Obama’s parents and knew him as a child, launched an effort last month to find a way to dispel conspiracy theories that the president was born elsewhere. The governor said at the time he was bothered by people who questioned Obama’s birthplace for political reasons.
But Abercrombie’s investigation reached a dead end when Louie told him the law restricted his options.
Hawaii’s privacy laws have long barred the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who doesn’t have a tangible interest.
Many people are confused by this statement, thinking that Barack Obama’s original birth certificate would be in the State Archives. This is not the case. Birth Certificates are maintained by the Department of Health. Look at the State Archives Vital Statistics page, linked to the picture following, to see that the State Archives only includes scanned copies of certificates prior to 1929.
The Hawaii Department of Health has already declared that the Director personally saw Obama’s birth registration, and everybody knows that Hawaiian law prohibits release of such documents to the public. This means that Governor Abercrombie knew at the outset of his quest that the birth certificate at the Department of Health was not going to help him. What he needed was some state record that he could release.
Based on Abercrombie’s statement, some notation confirming Obama’s birth was found in State archives, but whatever it was couldn’t be released either.
When birthers say that Abercrombie’s statement proves that Obama has no birth certificate, only something “written down,” they exhibit a fundamental misunderstanding of the scope of Abercrombie’s searches. As with most birther claims based on someone’s official statement, this one ignores the context and turns the statement into something other than what the speaker intended.