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State Archives v Department of Health

Neil Abercrombie

Neil Abercrombie

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.

Hawaii archives vital statistics collection, click for web page

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.

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22 Responses to State Archives v Department of Health

  1. avatar
    Obsolete April 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Birthers like nc1 misunderstanding something? I’m shocked! Get ready for the usual nc1 and MichaelN lies that Abercrombie couldn’t find anything, and demands for registration numbers and confirmations of things confirmed (with valid birther magic words and phrases).

  2. avatar
    Passerby April 2, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Just want to say thanks for the article. I was a bit confused about what Governor Abercrombie was actually trying to do, and what he was talking about with the “something written down” or whatever. The news reports didn’t make it real clear to me, and of course now there are all sorts of claims from birthers about what it was, which also don’t make sense given the statements from the previous governor and her officials. So yeah, a little confused. Your version does make sense, though.

    Now I’m just curious about what was in the state archives. Oh well.

  3. avatar
    Rickey April 2, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Obsolete:
    Birthers like nc1 misunderstanding something? I’m shocked! Get ready for the usual nc1 and MichaelN lies that Abercrombie couldn’t find anything, and demands for registration numbers and confirmations of things confirmed (with valid birther magic words and phrases).

    Paul Simon could have the likes of nc1 and MichaelN in mind when he wrote these lyrics to “The Boxer”:

    All lies and jests
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest

  4. avatar
    Sean April 2, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Is the registry of births something one can get a copy of?

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 3, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Sean: Is the registry of births something one can get a copy of?

    You can get a copy of the index. I’m not sure what you mean by the registry.of births.

  6. avatar
    sfjeff April 3, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Seriously every time Abercrombie makes a public statement I wonder how he got elected. He seems like a really nice guy who has a very hard time saying things clearly.

  7. avatar
    sfjeff April 3, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    Actually let me clarify.

    Abercrombie could have said more about what was found and could have confirmed what Dr. Fukino said- he could have asked the Registrar to issue a new statement confirming Dr. Fukino’s statement.

    As paranoid as Birthers are- Abercrombies lack of clear speech doesn’t help much.

  8. avatar
    Sean April 3, 2011 at 1:26 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: You can get a copy of the index. I’m not sure what you mean by the registry.of births.

    Has anyone ever posted a copy of the index showing Obama’s birth? I’m not saying no one did, I’m just saying I’ve always heard of it, just never seen it.

  9. avatar
    Expelliarmus April 3, 2011 at 2:04 am #

    There was a photo of the cover of the Hawaiian index for the years 1960-1964 as well as a copy of the page where Obama’s name appears that was linked to from this site fairly recently (perhaps with the last 3 or 4 weeks). Someone else will have to locate that link — perhaps Doc Conspiracy remembers where it can be found.

    The birthers were all in a huff over claimed oddities in the record — something about whether or not the date range for all records is printed as a header on every page, plus there was a claim that an agent/friend of a birther went to view the index and Obama’s name wasn’t there, but he couldn’t get his mini-camera to work the day he saw the missing name… and then later on people went and it was there. (Of course it’s equally possible that someone too stupid to figure out how to operate a camera would also be too dumb to find the correct page in the index)

  10. avatar
    Gordon April 3, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    As well meaning as Abercrombie is, I’ll bet his been a bit of a pain to Obama.

  11. avatar
    GeorgetownJD April 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    sfjeff:
    Seriously every time Abercrombie makes a public statement I wonder how he got elected. He seems like a really nice guy who has a very hard time saying things clearly.

    “Dr.” Ron Polland has a new theory about why Obama’s COLB number is higher than the Nordyke twins’, apparently based on the notation in the birth index that the entry just above Barack Hussein Obama was deleted:

    “The CERT # came after the Nordykes because it does not belong to Obama. It belongs to the infant who was born on August 4, 1961 and died on August 5, 1961. The hospital had 10 days to register the birth but it also had to register her death – which could not be done before registering her birth – if that is not logically obvious. There would be no need for a death registration if it was not a live birth.

    Her birth announcement (in which her first name was replaced by her father’s) appeared after Obama’s forged birth announcement – a splice job for those who don’t know it yet – and after the Nordykes announcement because it was filed after theirs for obvious reasons.”

    Watch for this to become the next big birther breakthrough. Calling nc1… Please pick up the courtesy phone in the lobby.

  12. avatar
    gorefan April 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    William Lolli is posting comments on SanDiego.com.

    http://www.sandiego.com/news/opinion-feature-the-obama-birth-certificate-debate

    He has an interesting interpetation of Hawaii code 338-5 and why it means the DOH can confirm the President’s birth a Kapiolani.

    He is a smarter version of NC1. Which is like saying he is the smartest rock in a box of rocks.

  13. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    sfjeff:
    Seriously every time Abercrombie makes a public statement I wonder how he got elected. He seems like a really nice guy who has a very hard time saying things clearly.

    After Michelle Bachmann’s election in 2008 I stopped asking that kind of question – the answers are depressing…

  14. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    gorefan:
    William Lolli is posting comments on SanDiego.com.

    http://www.sandiego.com/news/opinion-feature-the-obama-birth-certificate-debate

    He has an interesting interpetationof Hawaii code 338-5 and why it means the DOH can confirm the President’s birth a Kapiolani.

    He is a smarter version of NC1.Which is like saying he is the smartest rock in a box of rocks.

    What do you have against rocks?

  15. avatar
    misha April 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    gorefan: Which is like saying he is the smartest rock in a box of rocks.

    Do not ridicule my pet rock. It is quite intelligent.

  16. avatar
    gorefan April 3, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    misha: Do not ridicule my pet rock. It is quite intelligent.

    I’m sure he’s one in a million.

  17. avatar
    nc1 April 4, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Dr. C

    Your post is missing the start of Abercrombie’s quest, the explanation of his motivation. Here is a link to CNN article and video of Abercrombie’s interview:
    http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/27/governor-vows-to-end-birther-controversy/

    Few interesting quotes:

    “Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie vowed to end the “birther” controversy surrounding President Obama’s nationality once and for all. Abercrombie, a newly-elected Democrat, told CNN that he will do whatever it takes to prove once and for all that Obama was born in Hawaii.”

    “Throughout the interview, Abercrombie was dripping with disgust for the birthers, saying his goal is to have an open process so that he can “put those who want to disrespect the president and his parents in the proper light, which is to say they have a political agenda not worthy of any good American.”

    ===================================================================

    Abercrombie raised all that noise but he would not even confirm that COLB was issued to Obama on June 6, 2007. He did not confirm that the long form birth certificate (from Kapiolani) is on file.

    I am not talking about actually releasing the long form – just a confirmation that it exists.

    Instead he issued a comment that the “actually written” note exists in the archive.

  18. avatar
    The Magic M April 4, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    > I am not talking about actually releasing the long form – just a confirmation that it exists.

    Why ask for that if it hadn’t been close to enough for you anyway?

    > Instead he issued a comment that the “actually written” note exists in the archive.

    That was because, as you deliberately ignore, Abercrombie’s “quest” was never for the birth certificate (obviously, because he knew it was there but he couldn’t release it for privacy reasons, and its existence had already been confirmed by Linda Lingle) – it was about possible other records that he could release without violating privacy laws. It’s just that he couldn’t find anything *else than the BC*. (You birthers always omit the crucial last four words to support your open lie that he “couldn’t find the BC”.)

  19. avatar
    The Magic M April 4, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    > It’s just that he couldn’t find anything *else than the BC*

    Now I omitted something, make that:

    “It’s just that he couldn’t find anything *else than the BC* that he could lawfully release.”

  20. avatar
    nc1 April 4, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    The Magic M:
    > I am not talking about actually releasing the long form – just a confirmation that it exists.

    Why ask for that if it hadn’t been close to enough for you anyway?

    > Instead he issued a comment that the “actually written” note exists in the archive.

    That was because, as you deliberately ignore, Abercrombie’s “quest” was never for the birth certificate (obviously, because he knew it was there but he couldn’t release it for privacy reasons, and its existence had already been confirmed by Linda Lingle) – it was about possible other records that he could release without violating privacy laws. It’s just that he couldn’t find anything *else than the BC*. (You birthers always omit the crucial last four words to support your open lie that he “couldn’t find the BC”.)

    What is the definition of “is”?

  21. avatar
    Suranis April 4, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    nc1: What is the definition of “is”?

    Definition of is = 3rd person singular present indicative of be.

    Next question, troll?

  22. avatar
    Rickey April 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    nc1:
    Instead he issued a comment that the “actually written” note exists in the archive.

    As usual, you get it wrong.

    Abercrombine didn’t “issue” a comment, at least not in the sense that we usually apply to “issue.”

    It is an annotated transcript of an interview, and an incomplete transcript at that. At one point the reporter parenthetically inserts this:

    Abercrombie said there is a recording of the birth in the State Archives and he wants to use that.

    However, nowhere in the transcript does Abercrombie say that, so we know that the transcript is incomplete. Furthermore, if the recording in the State Archives does not show that Obama was born in Hawaii, why would Abercrombie want to use it?

    In addition, in the “written down” quote the reporter uses ellipses, which indicates that the quote is not verbatim:

    b>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.

    http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorials/20110118_This_is_a_collaborative_endeavor.html

    So we don’t even know precisely what Abercrombie said, or what the full context of his statement was. Of course, that doesn’t stop you from putting your own spin on it by interpreting it to mean that he couldn’t find Obama’s original birth records.