What Governor Abercrombie Said and Didn't Say


Neil Abercrombie, the current Governor of the State of Hawai'i, figures strongly in Birther Lore. World News Daily (WND) and Birther Blogs have claimed that Governor Abercrombie promised to search for and release President Obama's long form birth certificate, that Abercrombie said it couldn't be found, and that the LFBC never existed.  WND has a well-known practice of:

  1. taking material from other sources,
  2. spinning the heck out of it until the poor material is dizzy,
  3. posting innuendo using Cavuto marks and weasel words like "purports," "claims," "seems," "people say," "has been reported," etc.
  4. then making up a headline that is never backed up by the material in the article.

What follows is a compendium of every scrap of direct quote we could find from Abercrombie statements, interviews, statements from Abercrombie's office, or significant paraphrased quotes by reporters during that period on that subject. EVERY QUOTE.


NYT Dec 24 2010

"It’s an insult to his mother and to his father, and I knew his mother and father; they were my friends, and I have an emotional interest in that. It’s an emotional insult. It is disrespectful to the president; it is disrespectful to the office."

"He’s a big boy; he can take sticks and stones. But there’s no reason on earth to have the memory of his parents insulted by people whose motivation is solely political," Mr. Abercrombie said. "Let’s put this particular canard to rest."


But on the matter of the birthers, Mr. Abercrombie grew serious. "I’m going to take care of that," he said. He says the critics who suggest that Mr. Obama’s mother slipped off to Kenya to give birth are engaging in a "demonological fantasy."

"My thought was, ‘Wait a minute, why didn’t you ask me, my friends in the national Congress, the House of Representatives?’ " he said. "They know me, they know that I was here, but they didn’t even bother to have the courtesy to do that, which is disappointing to me, because it is very difficult for me not to conclude that bills like that are meant as a coded message that he is not really American. My thought is, rather than get into some kind of argument or play into that mentality, why not just simply try to authenticate this and let the facts speak for themselves?"

 

CNN Dec 27, 2010 (video, interview, and story)

"We'll do what we can as quickly as we can to make it inevitable that only those who wish the president ill, only the ones with a political agenda, will be the ones doing this kind of thing," Abercrombie said. "The president is entitled to the respect of his office and he's entitled to have his mother and father respected."

Abercrombie, in his first on-camera comments on the matter, said that he has his attorney general and the state's Health Department director looking at what legal avenues can they follow to release more documentation of Obama's birth in 1961.

"As quick as we can we will," Abercrombie said. "This is a transparent state in terms of our communication with one another. This is the Aloha State.  We care for each other, we look out for each other, we're family."

---

But the governor made clear in the CNN interview that he will push forward on this matter regardless of whether the White House is privately worried that it may bring more attention to the so-called "birthers" who continue to deny that Obama was born in America - despite evidence showing that he was.

"We haven't had any of those discussions," Abercrombie said of the White House. "It's a matter of principle with me. I knew his mom and dad. I was here when he was born. Anybody who wants to ask a question honestly could have had their answer already."

Asked if one option is to ask Obama to waive his privacy rights so that a copy of his actual birth certificate can be released publicly, Abercrombie cut off a reporter's question.

"No, no, no - it's not up to the president," he said.  "It has nothing to do with the president.  It has to do with the people of Hawaii who love him, people who love his mom and dad. It has to do with respect the office of the president is entitled to. And it has to do with respect that every single person's mother and father are entitled to."

Pressed on whether he might unilaterally release a copy of Obama's actual birth certificate, Abercrombie made clear that he is waiting for his cabinet officials to give him a report on what he can legally do before proceeding.

"Obviously, I'm going to do what is legally possible," the governor said.

Throughout the interview, Abercrombie was dripping with disgust for the birthers, saying his goal is to have an open process so that he can "put those who want to disrespect the president and his parents in the proper light, which is to say they have a political agenda not worthy of any good American."

---

Abercrombie seemed resigned to the possibility that offering more evidence still might not satisfy some critics.

"You're not going to convince those people because they have a political agenda or they have minds that go in that kind of direction," he said. "Conspiratorial theorists are never going to be satisfied. This has gone into another area of political attack."

But the governor still seemed determined to try and end the controversy once and for all.

"Anybody in this country who has a mom and dad and wants to have that mom and dad respected understands exactly what I'm doing," said Abercrombie. "This has nothing to do with a political agenda of mine or anybody else's. What it has to do with is the Aloha spirit and it has to do with the sense of family that we have for one another here in Hawaii. That's why the president comes here to Hawaii. He's home with family."

 

Hawaii Star Advertiser, Jan 18, 2011

Q: You stirred up quite a controversy with your comments regarding birthers and your plans to release more information regarding President Barack Obama's birth certificate. How is that coming?

A: I got a letter from someone the other day who was genuinely concerned about it; it is not all just political agenda. They were talking on Olelo last night about this; it has a political implication for 2012 that we simply cannot have.

(Abercrombie said there is a recording of the birth in the State Archives and he wants to use that.)

It was actually written I am told, this is what our investigation is showing, it actually exists in the archives, written down ...

...What I can do, and all I have ever said, is that I am going to see to it as governor that I can verify to anyone who is honest about it that this is the case.

If there is a political agenda then there is nothing I can do about that, nor can the president.

 

AP Report: Jan 22, 2011 (as appeared on CBSNews.com and other sites)
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie will end his quest to prove President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii because it's against state law to release private documents, his office said Friday.

State Attorney General David Louie told the governor he can't disclose an individual's birth documentation without a person's consent, Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said. "There is nothing more that Gov. Abercrombie can do within the law to produce a document," said Dela Cruz.

But Abercrombie's investigation reached a dead end when Louie told him the law restricted his options.

Hawaii's privacy laws have long barred the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who doesn't have a tangible interest.

All of the above was reported on sites like WND with headlines like "Hawaii Governor to Release Birth Certificate", even though he'd never said that. So loyal WND disinformation consumers easily latched onto that idea. 
 
But THEN came the Mike Evans radio story, the stuff that birther dreams are made from....

Jan 24, 2011 Celebrity Journalist Mike Evans interview with KQRS in Minnesota
Mike Evans: "Well Neil promised me that when he became Governor he was going to cut through all the red tape. He was going to get Obama's Birth Certificate once and for all, and end this stupid controversy that he was not born in the United States
...
Mike Evans: Yesterday, talking to Neils office, Neil says that he searched everywhere using his power as Governor, at the Kapiolani Women's and Children's Hospital and Queens Hospital, the only places kids were born in Hawaii back when Barack was born.

There is no Barack Obama birth certificate in Hawaii

Host: Really?

Mike Evans: Absolutely no proof, at all, that he was born in Hawaii.
Of course this was BANNER NEWS in WND!

Not so the story that followed two days later:
 
Mike Evans Backtracks on Birth Certificate Story in an interview Peter Boyles and Mike Evans on KHOW (Audio)

 

FoxNews Jan 26, 2011
Celebrity Journalist: I Never Spoke to Hawaii Gov About Obama Birth Certificate
A celebrity journalist now claims he misspoke when he said last week that Hawaii’s governor told him he was unable to find President Barack Obama’s original birth certificate after a search of state and hospital archives.

Mike Evans told FoxNews.com on Wednesday he was remorseful and embarrassed that he appeared to have given the impression that he had discussed the search for Obama’s birth certificate with Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie. 
Evans, who says he has been a close friend of Abercrombie since the 1980s, appeared on Minnesota’s KQRS radio last week and said he’d been told by the governor himself that Obama’s birth certificate was nowhere to be found.  Evans told KQRS on Jan. 20:

"Yesterday, talking to Neil's office, Neil says that he searched everywhere using his powers as governor ..... there is no Barack Obama birth certificate in Hawaii. Absolutely no proof at all that he was born in Hawaii."

But that’s no longer Evans’ story.

Only this I can you tell you is 100 percent fact: that Neil never told me there was no birth certificate," Evans told Fox News. "I never talked to him."
Last week’s radio interview was part of Evans’ syndicated five-minute feature, “On the Road with Mike Evans,” which is broadcast on 34 stations across the country each morning.

On the morning of Jan. 20, Evans says he accidentally told one of those radio stations -- KQRS -- that he’d spoken directly with Gov. Abercrombie about the Obama birth certificate.

“I was on 34 radio station that morning. That was the only station where I said, instead of saying ‘the hospital said there’s no birth certificate’ I misspoke and said Neil said that,” Evans said. “I misspoke and I apologize for that. I apologize to Neil.”
---
“I called Neil, but Neil never called me back,” Evans told Fox News. “I haven’t talked to Neil since he’s been governor.

There you have it. EVERY SINGLE known public word of Abercrombie's on the matter between Dec 24 2010 and Jan 22 2011. No promises, no denials, no claim that a LFBC never existed. Plus a reporter making something up and getting caught. Then every blog and news site picks it up and repeats the process. Just the usual misquotes, innuendo, lies, and spin. 

 

For more discussion, click here: NYT: Hawaii’s Governor Takes On ‘Birthers’