Born in the U.S.A.

For months, I have been bombarded by e-mails claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya and therefore does not meet the constitutional requirements to be president. I have also received hundreds of e-mails from readers asking why I do not expose the truth about his birth.

The truth is that Obama was born in Hawaii. Hawaii, by law, does not make original birth certificates public, and this has enabled conspiracy theorists to claim that there is something nefarious about the circumstances of Obama's birth.

Instead, it allows the public to see a so-called certification of birth - also known as a short-form birth certificate - that lists the name of the baby and the date and place of birth but not additional details like the birth weight and the parents' hometowns.

As claims of a cover-up mounted on the Internet prior to the election, Obama posted a digitally scanned image of his original birth certificate. But that enabled conspiracy theorists to say the image had been created by Photoshop. Obama then let FactCheck.org, a nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, view, handle, and photograph the birth original certificate at Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago.

"The certificate has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport," FactCheck.org, headed by respected former Wall Street Journal reporter Brooks Jackson, concluded.

According to the State Department, that includes "your full name, the full name of your parent(s), date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records."

That led to claims by conspiracy theorists that the document shown to FactCheck.org was fake. However, on Oct. 31, the Hawaii Department of Health issued a press release saying that Chiyome Fukino, director of Hawaii's Department of Health, along with Alvin Onaka, the registrar of vital statistics, had "personally seen and verified that Hawaii's State Department of Public Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."

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