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New Hawaii Governor to Take on Birthers

Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie speaks to the media outside the White House earlier this month. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is vowing to end the "birther" controversy once and for all.

Birthers are those who believe President Obama was not born in the U.S., despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. They have long demanded that the state of the Hawaii release the president's original birth certificate, which is not allowed under state law.

Now, Abercrombie says in multiple interviews that he is determined to find a way to release more information about Mr. Obama's birth in an attempt to silence the critics.

"This has to do with the people in Hawaii who love him, people who loved his mom and dad. This has to do with the respect of the office that the president is entitled to," Abercrombie told CBS affiliate KGMB over the weekend.

The governor, a former Democratic congressman who was elected governor last month and took office just a few weeks ago, told CNN yesterday that he directed his attorney general and the state's Health Department director to determine what he is legally able to do to release more documentation "as quick as we can."

The Obama campaign in 2008 posted a "certification of live birth" online, an official document from the state. An original long-form birth certificate is by law not public record in Hawaii, though the director of the Hawaii state Department of Health at the time she had "personally seen and verified" the original. But that did little to stop rumors and conspiracy theories which have persisted among birthers.

Obama's birth on Aug. 4, 1961, at the Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital was also recorded in two separate birth announcements in local newspapers.

Abercrombie made clear in the CNN interview that there was nothing Mr. Obama or the White House could do to either expedite or stop his process. In fact, the White House may not want to bring up the issue again, and administration officials would not comment on the governor's remarks in response to a request from CBS News.

"No, no, no - it's not up to the president," Abercrombie said in the CNN interview. "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." (see the CNN report at left)

Abercrombie, 72, said this is was a personal issue for him since he was friends with Mr. Obama's parents while they lived in Hawaii.

"It's an insult to his mother and father," he told KGMB. "How would anybody like to have their mother and father in that kind of a situation? I was friends with his mom and dad."

"It's a matter of principle with me... I was here when he was born," he told CNN.

"His father was one of the first scholarship students coming to the United States and he came to the University of Hawaii, which we were very proud (of)," the governor added. "We became good friends."

But despite his efforts, Abercrombie knows he might not be able to silence all those who have a "political agenda."

"We have to take a look at what we can do with that," he told KGMB. "But I can't imagine that we can't find some way to see to it that those who are honest about it, that don't have a political agenda could have no further argument about it."

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