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- Claims that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen or that his birth certificate was forged have been thoroughly debunked for more than a decade.
In the year 2021, more than four years since former President Barack Obama left office — more than 13 since he was first elected president — we are still encountering claims questioning his U.S. citizenship and his birth certificate.
Over more than a decade, PolitiFact has fact-checked 30-some statements about Obama’s birthplace.
Here’s one more.
A Dec. 14 blog post that’s spreading widely on social media retreads familiar territory.
"Probe," the title says. "Obama certificate a fake." It goes on to claim that "an exhaustive forensic investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate has concluded that it is a fraudulently created document, which was represented as an official copy." The probe, according to the post, was led by Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., "chief investigator Mike Zullo and two forensic experts."
Arpaio did gather reporters with Zullo, a member of the sheriff’s Cold Case Posse, to announce that after investigating Obama’s birth certificate, they concluded that the document was forged.
But that was in December 2016. This is not new, and it’s been thoroughly debunked.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Back in 2016 Arpaio, then still sheriff, summoned journalists to a press conference to talk about Obama’s "fake, fake birth certificate."
The Arizona Republic reported on the hour-long event, writing that "in exacting detail, Zullo explained how a careful analysis of the document’s typed letters and words, as well as the angles of the date stamps, proved forgery."
"According to the theory," the Republic said, "the birth certificate presented to the public was created after copying and pasting information from the legitimate birth certificate of a woman born in Hawaii" named Johanna Ah’Nee.
Zullo later told the Republic that he had gotten Ah’Nee’s birth certificate from a man named Jerome Corsi, who wrote a 2011 book making "the case that Barack Obama is not eligible to be president."
How did Corsi get the birth certificate? Zullo didn’t know.
"I have to be honest with you, that’s a really good question," the Republic reported he said. "Because either that’s an unbelievable coincidence or there’s something else going on."
Here is what’s going on.
In June 2008, the Obama campaign responded to rumors about his citizenship and released a copy of his "Certification of Birth" from Hawaii, posting the document online. That fueled even more claims, this time that the document was fraudulent.
FactCheck.org reporters even went to Chicago, where Obama’s campaign headquarters was based, to hold the document and examine it closely. They concluded that it was legitimate.
In October 2008, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii Department of Health, issued a statement saying that he and the registrar of vital statistics "who has the statutory authority to oversee and maintain these types of vital records" had personally seen and verified that the health department had Obama’s original birth certificate on record.
Janice Okubo, a spokesperson for the health department, told us that birth certificates evolve over the decades, and there are no doubt differences between what Obama’s looked like when he was born and the documents issued today.
And if there was a plot to forge a birth certificate so that Obama could run for office, it went back decades — to the month he was born in 1961.
Will Hoover, who wrote a 2008 story for the Honolulu Advertiser about Obama’s childhood in Hawaii, told PolitiFact that he reviewed microfilm archives and found two birth announcements for Obama. One was in the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13 , 1961, and the other was in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin the next day. They both said the same thing: "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, son, Aug. 4," and they were both submitted to the newspaper by the health department — not Obama’s family.
"Take a second and think about that," PolitiFact reported in 2009. "In order to phony those notices up, it would have required the complicity of the state Health Department and two independent newspapers — on the off chance this unnamed child might want to one day be president of the United States."
We rate the claim about Obama’s birth certificate being a fake Pants on Fire!
Blog post, Dec. 14, 2021
The Arizona Republic, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, still a 'birther,' says 5-year investigation proves Obama birth certificate is 'fake,' Dec. 15, 2016
PolitiFact, Obama's birth certificate: Final chapter. This time we mean it!, July 1, 2009
State of Hawaii, HAWAI‘I HEALTH DEPARTMENT GRANTS PRESIDENT OBAMA’S REQUEST FOR CERTIFIED COPIES OF ‘LONG FORM’ BIRTH CERTIFICATE, April 27, 2011
Fox News, Expert: No Doubt Obama's Birth Certificate Is Legit, April 29, 2011
Obama White House Archives, Birth certificate, Aug. 4, 1961
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