Barack Obama's Birth Certificate

Does President Obama have valid proof that he was born in the U.S.?

Obama Birth Certificate (source: Barack Obama presidential campaign)
Certification of Live Birth.

An examination of rumors alleging that Barack Obama's birth certificate is either a forgery or an invalid 'short-form' computer print-out which fails to establish his status as a U.S. citizen.

Update: On April 27, 2011, the White House released a certified copy of Obama's original ("long-form") birth record.

The saga of Barack Obama's birth certificate is tortuous and ironic. It began with the June 2008 release of a scanned image of candidate Obama's state-issued Certification of Live Birth to quell rumors speculating that his religious affiliation and/or country of origin might be other than what he claimed.

Partisan scuttlebutt had it that Obama's middle name was really "Mohammed," for example — which, if true, would lend support to rumblings that he had grown up a Muslim — and that he was actually born in Kenya, not the United States — which of course would mean he's not a natural-born citizen and therefore ineligible for the presidency.

The scanned Certification of Live Birth refuted both of those claims, yet somehow only managed to ignite further controversy.

Validity Assailed
 

First, it was labeled a forgery. Anonymous Internet "experts" claimed they were able to detect anomalies in the image that proved it couldn't possibly be authentic.

When that failed to fly, the document was assailed for being a "short-form" computer print-out as opposed to an original, hospital-issued "long-form" birth record. A cry went up for the release of Obama's "real" birth certificate, which conspiracy theorists now claimed was being "suppressed" (or "sealed") by the state of Hawaii because of potentially explosive information it might contain.



Six months into his presidency and fully a year after the Certification of Live Birth was first posted online, a small but increasingly vocal minority was still demanding to know why President Obama "refuses" to show his birth certificate.

The appropriate response is that he has already done so. The document released in 2008 is a valid Hawaii birth record, vetted by multiple sources including state officials, and constitutes legally sufficient proof that Barack Hussein Obama was born on U.S. soil on August 4, 1961.



Let's examine some of the arguments to the contrary:

CLAIM: The scanned Certification of Live Birth released by Obama is a forgery.
EXAMPLE:

Personal message from a reader dated Dec. 10, 2008:
I am part of a citizen action group against LIES, BIAS and DISCRIMINATION in the media reporting, We will be taking part in lawsuits against biased media or those who fail to report the truth and evidence on matters involving the FACT that Obama is NOT eligible for office based on the FACTS that he FORGED his birth record and was NOT born the the United States!

STATUS: FALSE. "It's a valid Hawaii state birth certificate," stated Hawaii Department of Health spokesperson Janice Okubo when queried by the St. Petersburg Times' PolitiFact.com website in June 2008. In addition, the actual physical document was scrutinized and photographed by researchers at FactCheck.org (see hi-res images), who determined that it was in fact duly signed, sealed, and certified by the Hawaii state registrar, and "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship."
   Sources:
   • Obama's Birth Certificate: Final Chapter. Politifact.com, July 2009
   • Born in the U.S.A. FactCheck.org, 1 Nov 2008


CLAIM: As distinguished from a "long-form" Certificate of Live Birth, the "short-form" Certification of Live Birth issued by Hawaii and posted online by the Obama campaign isn't a "real" or "valid" birth certificate.

EXAMPLE:

Personal message from a reader dated Oct. 28, 2008:
[T]he Obama campaign did finally present a document which they claimed validated his eligibility (per the Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section I) as a "Natural born citizen" to have his name on the ballot in contention for the office of the President of the United States of America. However, contrary to what the few media outlets who are giving this outrageous claim any attention at all have concurred, what the Obama campaign supplied was not, in fact, a "birth certificate". What they supplied was actually a "Certificate of Live Birth." There is a major difference between a "birth certificate" and a "Certificate of Live Birth." Aside from the level of detail differentiating the documents (hospital of record, doctor, height, weight, etc) - in the state of Hawaii, one authenticates natural born citizenship, and the other doesn't.

STATUS: FALSE. According to both the Hawaii state government website and a June 6, 2009 article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the computer-generated Certification of Live Birth is the only kind of birth record now issued by the state (original records are stored electronically), so the distinction between "short-form" and "long-form" is moot. When a citizen of Hawaii requests a certified copy of his or her birth certificate from the state, a Certification of Live Birth — what people are calling the "short-form," and what Obama released to the public — is what they get. According to Hawaii Health Department spokesperson Janice Okubo, a COLB contains "all the information needed by all federal government agencies for transactions requiring a birth certificate."
   Sources:
   • Born Identity. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 6 June 2009
   • HI Officials Confirm Obama's Original Birth Certificate Still Exists. Honolulu Advertiser, 28 July 2009

CLAIM: Since Hawaii law allows residents to obtain birth certificates for children born outside the state, the released document still doesn't prove that Obama couldn't have been born in, say, Kenya.

EXAMPLE:

Forwarded email received Dec. 2, 2008:
Right Side News on Sunday so graciously pointed out that "Hawaii Revised Statute 338-17.8 allows registration of birth in Hawaii for a child that was born outside of Hawaii to parents who, for a year preceding the childs birth, claimed Hawaii as their place of residence. The parents would be issued a Certification of Live Birth. This is not proof of where the child was born. It only proves that the parents claimed Hawaii as their main place of residence for the prior year."
STATUS: FALSE. The Certification of Live Birth explicitly states that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu; if he had been born elsewhere, the document would say so.  Health Dept. spokesperson Janice Okubo explains: "If you were born in Bali, for example, you could get a certificate from the state of Hawaii saying you were born in Bali. You could not get a certificate saying you were born in Honolulu. The state has to verify a fact like that for it to appear on the certificate."

Birth announcements published in the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin in August 1961 confirm that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
   Sources:
   • 'Birther' Movement Dogs Republicans. Washington Independent, 17 July 2009
   • Statement by Health Director Chiyome Fukino, M.D. Hawaii Department of Health, 27 July 2009
   • HI Officials Confirm Obama's Original Birth Certificate Still Exists. Honolulu Advertiser, 28 July 2009


Update: 'Birther' Wackiness Continues with Release of Obama's 'Kenyan Birth Certificate'

Sources and further reading:

Barack Obama's Birth Certificate Revealed Here
LA Times "Top of the Ticket" blog, 17 June 2008

Statement by Health Director Chiyome Fukino, M.D.
Hawaii Department of Health, 27 July 2009

'Birther' Movement Dogs Republicans
Washington Independent, 17 July 2009

Born Identity
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 6 June 2009

Hawaii Officials Confirm Obama's Original Birth Certificate Still Exists
Honolulu Advertiser, 28 July 2009

No Doubt About Obama's Birth
Editorial, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 29 July 2009

It's Certifiable
Wall Street Journal, 30 July 2009

Obama's Birth Certificate: Final Chapter
Politifact.com, updated July 2009

Obama's Certificate of Birth OK, State Says
Honolulu Advertiser, 1 November 2009

Born in the U.S.A.


FactCheck.org, 1 November 2008

Obama's Birth Announcements
WhatReallyHappened.com

Last updated: 10/03/13

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Emery, David. "Barack Obama's Birth Certificate." ThoughtCo, Mar. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/barack-obamas-birth-certificate-3298937. Emery, David. (2017, March 9). Barack Obama's Birth Certificate. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/barack-obamas-birth-certificate-3298937 Emery, David. "Barack Obama's Birth Certificate." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/barack-obamas-birth-certificate-3298937 (accessed November 24, 2017).