POSTED: 01:07 p.m. HST, Apr 27, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 03:43 p.m. HST, Apr 27, 2011
Hawaii government officials made a special exception to state policy when they gave President Barack Obama copies of the original documents recording his 1961 birth in Honolulu.
It's a waiver they say they won't grant again.
The move comes after officials said last week that the state wouldn't release those types of records under any circumstances. But then they got a letter from Obama and his personal attorney.
They asked for a waiver to get the copies, and said getting it would also relieve the state from having to further answer questions from so-called "birthers" who believe Obama isn't a natural born citizen and is therefore ineligible to be president.
"We hope that issuing certified copies of the original certificate of live birth to President Obama will end the numerous inquiries related to his birth in Hawaii," Hawaii Health Director Loretta Fuddy said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
She added that she has seen the records and they "further prove the fact that he was born in Hawaii."
Obama released the document Wednesday to resolve questions from "birthers" and some Republicans. Many of the skeptics suggest he was actually born in Kenya, his father's home country, or Indonesia where he spent a few years of his childhood.
State law prohibits birth records from being released except to those with a "tangible interest," such as the person named.
Only computer-generated versions of birth certificates — not the originals — have been handed out since May 16, 2001, according to a policy created to satisfy requests for certified copies and to comply with state laws restricting disclosure of some birth details.
Before then, photocopies of original birth records were provided.
Hawaii's computer-generated birth certificates carry a raised state seal and a signature stamp from the state registrar. They're valid documents for obtaining driver's licenses, passports and other government documents.
That's the type of birth certificate the Obama campaign released in 2008.
Just last Tuesday, the state attorney general's office said there were "no circumstances" when the state would release original birth records, according to a written statement from Joshua Wisch, special assistant to the state attorney general.
After Fuddy approved the Obama's request, the president's personal counsel, Judith Corley, traveled to Hawaii to pick up the documents and carried them back to Washington on a plane. The documents arrived at the White House around 5 p.m. Tuesday.
In a written statement, Attorney General David Louie said the exception complied with the law. He said the state will "continue to maintain the strict confidentiality requirement afford to vital statistics records, such as birth certificates."
Obama paid $14 for two copies of his original birth records, said Donalyn Dela Cruz, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who knew Obama's parents and says he had laid eyes on a young Obama.
"Considering all the investigations that have been done and the information that has been provided, no rational person can question the president's citizenship," Abercrombie said. "We have found a way — once again — to confirm what we already knew."
The state hasn't made any other exceptions to its birth certificate policy, and it doesn't intend to in the future, Dela Cruz said.