Hawaii Governor Announces Obama Birthplace – but Questions Remain

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

During a radio interview, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle became the first government official to publicly announce the alleged exact location of President Obama’s birth.

According to a report by World Net Daily (WND), Governor Lingle announced Sunday evening during an interview with Rabbi Shumley Boteach on New York’s WABC Radio that the president was born at Kapi’olani Hospital in Honolulu.

“It’s been an odd situation,” Lingle said, referring to the continuing controversy over the disputed natural-born citizenship of Obama. “This issue kept coming up so much in the campaign, and again I think it’s one of those issues that is simply a distraction from the more critical issues that are facing the country.

“So I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health, and we issued a news release at that time saying that the president was, in fact, born at Kapi’olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. And that’s just a fact and yet people continue to call up and e-mail and want to make it an issue and I think it’s again a horrible distraction for the country by those people who continue this.”

However, as WND’s Joe Kovacs reports, the news release the Governor is referring to made no mention of the president’s place of birth. It was a statement made by the state’s director of health, Chiyome Fukino, saying that state law prohibited the release of vital records to persons who did not demonstrate a vital interest in the information.

A year later, Ms. Fukino issued another statement verifying that she had seen the birth certificate and that the president had indeed been born in Hawaii.

Kovacs also points out that Kapi’olani is not the only Honolulu hospital that claims to be Obama’s birthplace. The Queen’s Medical Center has also been named as the original location by various publications including United Press International and Snopes.com.

Another intriguing twist to the story is a January 24, 2009 letter supposedly written by the president and sent to Kapi’olani Medical Center in which he names the hospital as his place of birth.

“As a beneficiary of the excellence of Kapi’olani Medical Center – the place of my birth – I am pleased to add my voice to your chorus of supporters,” he supposedly wrote.

However, no one has even been able to confirm that the letter was iwritten by the president and the hospital itself later refused to release it. When asked about its authenticity during a White House briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs dodged the question.

The state of Hawaii has been so flooded with requests for the release of Obama’s birth certificate that the legislature passed a law last month allowing state offices to ignore repeated requests for the document from the same person, if the department had already responded within one year.

Governor Lingle has until July 6 to sign or veto the bill and has admitted that she is concerned that signing the bill may be seen as a reversal of the Freedom of Information Act.

“It’s going backwards in that sense as it relates to public information and an average citizen’s ability to get information that the government might not want them to have for one reason or another,” Lingle said during the radio interview. “So there is concern on how this would be used. But, again, I’ll take a real good look at it once it comes up.”

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