Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Presidents Presentation of a Certificate of Live Birth Raises Even More Questions

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At 9:45 a.m. on April 27, President Obama addressed the escalating controversy over the actual location of his birth at a press briefing in the White House. At the hastily convened session, he presented the press corps with copies of a “Certificate of Live Birth,” a document issued by the Department of Health of the State of Hawaii. It contained his August 4, 1961 date of birth, the name of a doctor (David A. Sinclair?), and the names of Obama’s parents. The document was not issued by a hospital although the name and address of the “Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital” appeared in an appropriate box. 

The obviously perturbed President stated that he wanted to put an end to the “silliness” surrounding claims that he was not born in the United States and that, therefore, he was ineligible to hold the nation’s highest office. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said that the unusual press briefing and the President’s action had become necessary because “this is not a discussion happening just among conspiracy theorists. It is happening here in this room, on all of the networks, and it is something every major political figure of both parties is being asked about.” By “here in this room,” Pfeiffer meant members of the press corps who had earned the respect of the President and himself. 

Pfeiffer then explained a curious set of events leading up to the press briefing and the appearance by the President. He stated that only last Friday (April 22), the President wrote to Hawaii’s Director of Health Loretta J. Fuddy requesting “two copies of my original certificate of live birth.” After receiving confirmation that the request would be honored, presidential counsel Judith Corley flew to Hawaii to get the copies. (Pfeiffer made the point that her round-trip flight was not made at taxpayer expense.) Ms. Corley returned to the White House on Tuesday (April 26) with the documents at 4:00 p.m., less than 24 hours before the sudden press briefing.

The unusually hasty trip to Hawaii raises numerous questions. Why the sudden haste? Why incur the cost of a round trip to Hawaii? Why hasn’t a request for copies of the document been made previously? Why couldn’t the copies of the document have been sent overnight via one of several services offering such speedy delivery?

As much as the trip by Ms. Corley raises questions, an even more compelling question centers on the document shared by President Obama and its ability to prove his claim that he was indeed born in the United States. Several commentators insist that a “Certificate of Live Birth” issued by the Hawaiian government is not the equivalent of a Birth Certificate issued by a hospital. Obama continues to claim that he was indeed born in a hospital. But in his April 22 “World Affairs Brief,” political analyst Joel M. Skousen observed that “anyone can walk into a Hawaii state office and declare they are the mother of a child born outside a hospital. In fact, Hawaii has a reputation for attracting foreigners who falsely declare a birth there in order to easily gain U.S. citizenship for their children through a Certificate of Live Birth.”

Skousen continued: “Trouble is, Obama claims to have been born in a hospital which would have generated a doctor-signed long-form Birth Certificate.” As for the reliability of the document now being shared by the President, Skousen quoted a separate investigator’s claim that registrations of births with the State of Hawaii “were accepted by mail, so his grandmother could have registered him that way. No one had to swear to anything, their word was taken as gospel.” (Obama’s maternal grandparents were residents of Hawaii during the period under question.)

More than likely, knowledge of the existence of a soon-to-be-published book about Obama’s birth location has fueled the controversy and forced the President into a defensive mode. Jerome Corsi’s Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama Is not Eligible to be President will be available in mid-May. Containing many new revelations about the issue, it has already generated numerous orders at a nationwide bookselling outlet. The book’s publisher, one of few who have seen the manuscript, has been quoted saying, “It’s utterly devastating.”

Recently, prominent political figures have wondered aloud whether claims made by so-called “birthers” have merit. Shown a copy of a “Certificate of Live Birth,” Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann stated that she was satisfied that the President was born within the United States. Similarly, after House Speaker John Boehner was shown a “Certificate of Live Birth,” he asserted that it “was good enough for me.”

What were these political individuals shown? 

Are there several documents labeled “Certificate of Live Birth”? Were those shown to Bachmann and Boehner different from the one Judith Corley raced to Hawaii to obtain? If what Corley brought back from Hawaii is not the same document shown to the GOP leaders, what was being shown to others?  

Obama seems very anxious to have this whole matter buried. Unfortunately for him, his action seems only to have brought it even more attention. If the hastily retrieved “Certificate of Live Birth” does not prove that the occupant of the White House was born in the United States, it would seem that there is no proof. Perhaps the Corsi book will contain information showing that Obama’s birth was elsewhere, even in a foreign nation. And what that would mean for the legitimacy of anything that has emanated from the White over the past two-plus years will present our nation with a tsunami of problems.

John F. McManus is president of The John Birch Society and publisher of The New American.

Photo: President Barack Obama finishes remarks to reporters about the controversy over his birth certificate and true nationality, April 27, 2011, at the White House in Washington: AP Images