Contrary to widespread media reports, Hawaiian health officials have not publicly released President Obama's original, "long-form" birth certificate, state officials confirm to Newsmax.
Many media reports have insisted the president's actual birth certificate is available on the Internet for anyone to download. It is not.
Barack Obama’s "certification of live birth," was issued by the state of Hawaii and was posted first on the Obama presidential campaign Web site.
Such a certification sometimes is called the “short form" — some agencies accept it as an equivalent of a birth certificate, some do not.
The document is essentially a summary of the actual long form birth certificate. The certification does not list the attending physician, the address or hospital where the delivery took place, or the parents' occupation. Typically, this information is included on the birth certificate.
Newsmax asked Janice S. Okubo, communications director for Hawaii's State Health Department, whether the department had released any of the president's vital records to anyone other than the president or a direct relative. Doing so would constitute a violation of HRS 338, Section 18, the Hawaii law intended to protect personal information and prevent identity theft.
Okubo's response: "The Hawaii State Department of Health complies with state laws" — meaning no public release of the document has occurred.
Throughout the so-called "birther" controversy — birthers suspect Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is not constitutionally eligible to serve as president — anchors and reporters have assumed wrongly that Obama's "certification of live birth" contains the same information as an original, long-form birth certificate: MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews interviewed Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., on July 21, lambasting him for co-sponsoring a House bill that would require presidential candidates to submit documents to establish their constitutional eligibility to serve as president.
"What you're doing is appeasing the nut cases," Matthews said. "As you just pointed out, this [bill] won't prove or disprove whether Barack Obama is a citizen. By the way, let me show you his birth certificate" — Matthews held up a document — "That's the way to deal with this: Mail a copy of this certificate to the wacko wing of your party, so they see it and say, 'I agree with this. It's over.'"
Matthews held up Obama’s certification of live birth — not his birth certificate. Talk host Rachel Maddow stated on June 11: "This baseless, mouth-breathing, whack-job theory became such an issue during the presidential campaign that Mister Obama did actually release a certificate of his birth from Hawaii, showing that he was born in Honolulu in 1961. And yet, the 'birther' movement persists."
What the Obama campaign released was the certification-of-live-birth summary.In response to a question from correspondent Les Kinsolving on why the president doesn't simply release his long-form birth certificate, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied incredulously: "You're looking for the president's birth certificate? It's on the Internet." CNN anchor Rick Sanchez recently held up a document for cameras to zoom in on. "This is a reprint of his birth certificate . . . or as it says here, certificate of birth." The document presented by Sanchez was clearly marked "certification of live birth."
The certification of live birth qualifies an individual to receive a passport, a driver's license, or otherwise establish residency for official purposes, Hawaii says.
When the birth-certificate issue emerged just before the November election, Hawaii Health Department Director Chiyome Fukino released a statement saying that she had "personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."
Dr. Fukino added in an apparent effort to head off conspiracy theorists: "No state official . . . has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawaii."
When the blogosphere tempest flared up again recently, Fukino issued another, slightly different statement, saying she has "seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen."
Several courts have sided with the Hawaii Health Department's position that birth records must be protected as private. In December, the U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment to hear a case that challenged Obama's constitutional eligibility to be president.
Hawaii health officials have stated in the past that they maintain Obama's original birth certificate and have it in their possession. The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin carried the announcement of Obama's birth about nine days after it occurred, although that has not convinced the birthers.
Why the ongoing interest in the long-form, original birth certificate, even among conservatives who don't dispute that Obama was born in the state of Hawaii?
Obama's critics complain the birth certificate echoes a pattern of promising transparency on the one hand while refusing to release key documents on the other, including detailed personal health records, Obama's correspondence while an Illinois senator, his attorney client list or billing records, or his college transcripts.
They also point out that Obama is the only modern president whose precise place of birth remains undetermined. Honolulu's Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital has been widely cited as his birthplace, but another Honolulu location has been mentioned as well.
The hospital has declined to address whether Obama was born there. Presidential birthplaces typically receive recognition and commemoration.
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