'Birthers' ignore chance to view Obama's info

Lost in the renewed scrutiny into US President Barack Obama's birth records is the fact that anyone can walk into a Hawaii vital records office, wait in line behind couples getting marriage licences and open a baby-blue government binder containing basic information about his birth.

Highlighted in yellow on page 1218 of the thick binder is the computer-generated listing for a boy named Barack Hussein Obama II, born in Hawaii, surrounded by the alphabetised last names of all other children born in the state between 1960 and 1964. This is the only government birth information, called "index data", available to the public.

In April, only The Associated Press and one other person had looked at the binder, according to a sign-in sheet in the state Department of Health building. The sheet showed about 25 names of people who have seen the document since March 2010, when the sign-in sheet begins.

Those documents complement newspaper birth announcements published soon after Obama's August 4, 1961, birth and a "certification of live birth" released by the Obama campaign three years ago, the only type of birth certificate the state issues.

So-called "birthers" claim there's no proof Obama was born in the United States, and he is therefore ineligible to be president.

Many of the sceptics suggest he was actually born in Kenya, his father's home country, or Indonesia, where he spent a few years of his childhood.

Possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly stoked the birther fires recently, and in March called on Obama to "show his birth certificate". Trump said he has investigators in Hawaii searching for more information.

"Nobody has come in and said they're investigating for Donald Trump," said Department of Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo, who acknowledged they could've come in without identifying themselves as representing Trump.

What the would-be sleuths won't find is Obama's "long-form birth certificate", a confidential one-page document containing his original birth records kept on file in the first floor of the Department of Health.

Those original birth records typically include additional birth details, such as the hospital and delivering doctor, said Dr Chiyome Fukino, the state's former health director who publicly confirmed Obama's original long-form birth records.

But those documents are state government property that can't be released to anyone, even the president himself, said Joshua Wisch, special assistant to the state attorney general. Obama would be able to inspect his birth records if he visited the Health Department in person, but original records of live births are never released, he said.

Fukino, who served as the state's health director until late 2010, said she's convinced the long-form document is authentic. She issued public statements in 2008 and 2009 saying she had seen the original records.

"It is absolutely clear to me that he was born here in Hawaii," Fukino said. "It should not be an issue, and I think people need to focus on the other bad things going on in our country and in our state and figure out what we're going to do about those things."

Before Obama's campaign released his certification of live birth in 2008, he or someone with a tangible interest had to make a written request and pay a US$10 fee to receive it, Okubo said. Wisch also said Obama obtained a copy of his own certification of live birth and publicly released it.

State privacy laws prevent a certification of live birth from being released to anyone except those with a tangible interest, such as the person named by the birth record or a close family member.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 19 Sep 2014 03:57:01 Processing Time: 1091ms