The Obama birth certificate: a timeline
By Martha M. Hamilton
Published on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 at 9:02 a.m.
Spring 2008: As it becomes clear that Obama is going to win the Democratic nomination, blogs and chain e-mails spread claims that he was not born in Hawaii and may not be eligible to run for president.
June 13, 2008: After many inquiries from reporters, the Obama campaign launches a website called Fight the Smears to address rumors about the candidate. It posts a copy of the Certification of Live Birth, a computer-generated document that says he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.
Summer 2008: The birth claims continue to be widely circulated. A reporter for FactCheck.org travels to the campaign's Chicago headquarters and is allowed to hold the document. FactCheck declares it is legit.
Oct. 31, 2008: Hawaii's director of the Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, declares that he and the head of Vital Statistics "have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures." Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, who is campaigning for Republican presidential contender John McCain, says the document is authentic.
Nov. 4, 2008: Obama is elected.
Spring 2009: Claims of doctored evidence and a cover-up about Obama's foreign birth are rekindled by bloggers and chain e-mails.
May 28, 2009: At a White House press briefing, World Net Daily correspondent Lester Kinsolving asks why the administration won't release "a certified copy of his long form birth certificate listing hospital and physician?" Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responds that the copy posted on the Web is a legitimate birth certificate.
January-February 2011: Republican officials in several states introduce bills requiring future presidential candidates to provide copies of original birth certificates. Businessman Donald Trump speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference and then begins mentioning his doubts about Obama's birth in media interviews.
April 7, 2011: Trump claims on morning talk shows that Obama's Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya and she was there and witnessed the birth. PoliltiFact rates the claim False.
He also claims that the president "spent $2 million in legal fees trying to get away from this issue." PolitiFact rates that False.
Week of April 18, 2011: White House decides to seek a waiver from Hawaii's prohibition on releasing the long-form birth certificate.
Thursday, April 21: White House counsel Robert F. Bauer speaks with private counsel to the president, Judith Corley, from the law firm of Perkins Coie, and asks her to contact Hawaii officials about how to make the request.
Friday April 2:, President Obama signs a letter to the Hawaii Department of Health requesting two certified copies. Corley is sent to Hawaii to pick it up on Monday, April 25.
Tuesday, April 26: The birth certificate is delivered to the White House.
Wednesday, April 27: White House releases the document. Obama says, "I know that there’s going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest. But I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do."
See related statements
Researchers: Martha M. Hamilton
We want to hear your suggestions and comments.
For tips or comments on our Obameter and our GOP-Pledge-O-Meter promise databases, please e-mail the Obameter. If you are commenting on a specific promise, please include the wording of the promise.For comments about our Truth-O-Meter or Flip-O-Meter items, please e-mail the Truth-O-Meter. We’re especially interested in seeing any chain e-mails you receive that you would like us to check out. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.
Keep up to date with Politifact:
- Sign up for our e-mail (about once a week)
- Put a free PolitiFact widget on your blog or Web page
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Truth-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on GOP Pledge-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Obameter items
- Advertise on PolitiFact
- Shop the PolitiFact store for T-shirts, hats and other PolitiFact swag