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Born in the U.S.A.

Fukino told the Honolulu Advertiser that her department issued the press release after being barraged by calls about the issue, including some received by state officials at home in the middle of the night.

"This has gotten ridiculous," said Fukino, a medical doctor.

Aside from that official verification of Obama's birth in Hawaii, back on Aug. 31, 1962, the Honolulu Advertiser ran an announcement of his birth.

"Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalaniaaole Hwy., son, Aug. 4," the announcement said.

What about claims that Obama's paternal grandmother has said he was born in Kenya? At a dinner at the Ritz Carlton given by a conservative group, I happened to sit next to Philip Berg. Berg is the Philadelphia lawyer who is suing to have Obama disqualified as president because he is allegedly not a citizen of the United States.

A former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, Berg has claimed that he has a tape recording of a phone conversation in which Obama's paternal grandmother says she was in the delivery room in Kenya when he was born Aug. 4, 1961.

On Oct. 23, Berg told talk-radio host Michael Savage that he would release the tape "in a day or two." To date, he has not done so.

At the dinner, I asked Berg how he knows that the voice on the tape is that of Obama's grandmother. Berg was vague: He said he knows someone who vouches for the fact that the tape is authentic.

"Tape recordings" are never fool-proof evidence. For example, I remember a dinner my wife and I once had in Paris with a reporter for the National Enquirer while I was writing a book on arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. Actor Richard Burton had just died, and the reporter said he was going to meet up later with other National Enquirer reporters at a bar so they could make up stories about Burton to run in the paper.

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