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Discrediting anti-Obama 'birthers' is top priority for Hawaii governor

December 25, 2010 - Hawaii

New Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has been aggravated by the so-called birther movement, which alleges that US President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and thus should be expelled from office, and now, he intends to do something about it.

What, exactly, is still unclear. But in an interview this week at the state Capitol, he left little doubt that torpedoing the conspiracy theorists was a priority.

"What bothers me is that some people who should know better are trying to use this for political reasons," the Los Angeles Times quoted Abercrombie, 72, as saying.

He added: "Maybe I'm the only one in the country that could look you right in the eye right now and tell you, 'I was here when that baby was born.' "

One of Abercrombie's aides said the governor is voicing the frustration of many Hawaiians who continue to be troubled by the rumors, which they see as emblematic of the view that Hawaiians are not Americans in the same way as those who live in the continental United States.

Abercrombie's Hawaiian pride may be trumping practical politics. Ample evidence has been produced to discredit the "birther" movement, so in the view of the White House, the Democratic governor's comments are reviving an issue that most people see as resolved.

Although Abercrombie's goal may be to support Obama, experts who study political extremism say the release of additional evidence would only perpetuate the conspiracy theory.

They say people who embrace such theories are guided by suspicion and, therefore, view any contrary evidence as part of the conspiracy.

Abercrombie, a native of Buffalo, New York, arrived in 1959 to study sociology at the University of Hawaii. As a teaching assistant, he met and befriended Obama's father, a native of Kenya.

Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was born in Kansas and met and married his father, also named Barack, when the two were college students in Hawaii.

Obama was born at Kapi'olani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu on August 4, 1961.

But in 2008, as Obama ran for president, critics posted allegations online, without proof, that he was born in Kenya.

That June, the Obama campaign released a certificate of live birth, an official document from the Hawaii Health Department certifying the facts of a person's birth, as proof of his birthplace.

Investigations by two prominent fact-checking organizations, PolitiFact and, concluded that the certificate was authentic.

Several lawsuits have been filed seeking to force Obama to disclose more information, but courts have routinely dismissed them.


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