U.S. House on record in birth flap


POSTED: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives said happy birthday to the 50th State yesterday, peripherally stepping into the “;birther”; fray with a resolution that notes, “;President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961.”;

While the resolution was considered routine, the national media picked up on the action because of attacks by fringe groups that do not believe Obama was born in Hawaii. Internet media services Salon and the Huffington Post ran articles.

The issue of Obama's birth certificate resurfaced last week when CNN commentator Lou Dobbs, in a separate radio program, raised the issue of whether Obama had been born in Hawaii and whether he is an American citizen. If he were born in Kenya to a Kenyan father, as some allege, his eligiblity for the presidency would be in question.

The House approved the resolution that was offered by U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, a personal friend of Obama's father. Hawaii became a state on Aug. 21, 1959, and this year is the 50th anniversary.

The measure, House Resolution 593, passed without objection, with 378 aye votes and 55 representatives not voting. Voting in favor were 158 Republicans and 220 Democrats.

Also yesterday, state Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino issued a statement saying: “;I have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barrack (sic) Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen.”;

It was the second time that Fukino issued a statement attesting that Obama was born in the state of Hawaii. State officials have said they are not allowed to produce Obama's actual birth certificate because Hawaii law forbids the release of birth certificates to those who do not have a tangible interest in the record.

Fukino issued a similar news release Oct. 31 but was prompted to speak out again because of the renewed attention on Obama's origin. The Health Department has been flooded in recent weeks with questions from individuals and several national TV news networks asking for proof that Obama was born in Hawaii.

“;They just keep asking over and over and over again,”; department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.

Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, ridiculed questions about Obama's citizenship yesterday.

Asked about the Internet speculation, Gibbs responded, “;For $15 you can get an Internet address and say whatever you want.”;

The issue is not likely to go away, and Hawaii state Sen. Will Espero said he would introduce legislation next year to have birth certificates declared public records.

Espero (D, Ewa-Honouliuli-Ewa Beach) said the Obama fuss has raised questions about public and private records and says it would be in the state's interest to have open public record of births.

“;It would be important for relatives and even neighbors,”; Espero said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.