Conservative media figures allege Obama's Hawaii trip is about discredited birth-certificate rumors, not his ailing grandmother

››› ››› NATHAN TABAK, GREG LEWIS & HANNAH DREIER

Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Jerome Corsi suggested or asserted that the true purpose of Sen. Barack Obama's current trip to Hawaii is not to visit his ailing grandmother, as Obama claims, but rather to address rumors -- widely debunked -- that Obama has failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate. However, in addition to FactCheck.org and a Hawaiian Health Department official, even Corsi's employer, the right-wing website WorldNetDaily, has reportedly determined that the birth certificate provided by the Obama campaign is authentic.

Conservative radio hosts Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh and Obama Nation author Jerome Corsi -- who appeared as a guest on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show -- suggested or asserted that the true purpose of Sen. Barack Obama's current trip to Hawaii is not to visit his ailing grandmother, as Obama claims, but rather to address rumors -- widely debunked -- that Obama has failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate. However, as Media Matters for America has documented, the Obama campaign posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on its "Fight the Smears" website and reportedly provided the original document to FactCheck.org, whose staff concluded in an August 21 post that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." A Hawaiian Health Department official also reportedly confirmed to PolitiFact.com that Obama's birth certificate is valid, and even Corsi's employer, the right-wing website WorldNetDaily, reported in an August 23 article that a "WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic."

On the October 23 broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh said:

Who announces days in advance they're rushing to the side of a loved one who is deathly ill, but keeps campaigning in a race that's said to be over, only to go to the loved one's side days later? See, I think this is about something else. You know what's really percolating out there? And I've been laying low on this because it just -- it hasn't met the threshold to pass the smell test on this program. But this birth certificate business, this lawsuit that a guy named Phillip Berg filed in Philadelphia in August for Obama to produce his genuine birth certificate, and he still hasn't replied, he hasn't done so.

Limbaugh later added:

When you first announced this, you're gonna rush, you're gonna hurry, you're gonna make tracks, you're gonna get over there because you don't want your grandmother to die before you got there like your mother did, but somehow you keep campaigning, you take three days to get over there, if he's left yet. And this birth certificate business -- I'm just wondering if something's up. I have no clue, and I -- folks, I'm telling you, this has not reached the threshold until now, and it's now popping up all over the place.

During an appearance on the October 22 broadcast of Liddy's radio show, Corsi said:

I'm headed out to Honolulu. I am not convinced that Barack Obama is going because his grandmother is sick. I appreciate that his grandmother is sick and he wants to be with her. I do recall that Barack Obama's mother died of cancer, and he didn't go to be by her side when she died. He relates that in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father. And I'm going out to do what digging I can on the birth certificate.

Corsi later added:

I think I'll accomplish something in Hawaii, too. Obama's headed out there, and I believe there's a court challenge that if Obama does not dodge, he's gonna be forced to produce a birth certificate, and there's gonna be something damaging on that birth certificate, because even at the eleventh hour, Obama refuses to show us the hospital-generated birth certificate when he was born.

As Media Matters has noted, Corsi has previously claimed that the Obama campaign "refuses to release the original birth certificate," even though WorldNetDaily -- where Corsi works as a staff writer -- has debunked the claim.

On the October 22 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Savage stated that "[t]here are people arguing that Obama is headed back to Hawaii not so much to visit an ailing relative, but to fudge the birth certificate in question" and said moments later, "There is intense national interest on the Internet about his citizenship, and the question is being asked, could this be the real reason he is headed to Hawaii?" Savage subsequently became more definitive, stating:

Do you actually believe he's going to Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother with 10 days to go until an election? Do you actually believe that? Do you actually believe he'd be going to Hawaii at this time with 10 days to go? You actually believe that? No, no, no -- no, no, no, no, no. No. There's some other reason that he's leaving the mainland of the United States in the midst of this toe-to-toe struggle right now, and it's got to do with his birth certificate.

He later added: "And Obama's leaving for Hawaii -- why? Why? What's he doing there? Why's he going there, huh? What's he going there for, huh? Why's he gonna -- the last phase of a race, he's getting off the track just to visit his grandmother? Don't be stupid. It's the birth certificate issue, you fools, you."

Savage also directed people to his website to "look at the birth certificate and judge for yourself on MichaelSavage.com. We actually have the birth certificate submitted by the Obama camp, and it looks like it's fake." Savage's website currently has a copy of the birth certificate Obama has posted on its "Fight the Smears" website along with a headline stating "Could this be the REAL reason Obama is heading to Hawaii?" The headline links to a post by Andy Martin on Martin's Contrarian Commentary website. Martin stated in an October 20 press release: "Monday (today) we petitioned the Hawai'i Supreme Court to order Obama's secret birth records released. How did Obama respond? He suddenly discovered that his grandmother, who had supposedly been released from her hospital a week ago, when he showed no interest in her, needed his immediate attention. Cool, calm, collected Obama suddenly suspended his campaign and headed for Hawai'i."

From Savage's website:

From the October 23 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: By the way, I'd like to be a little inquisitive than the average reporter out there and observe that we have not -- we've been hearing and reading for at least three days now that Obama's grandmother is deathly ill, and that he's going out to rush to her side in Hawaii. Now, if he's already won the presidency, why hasn't he already gone to Hawaii? Why is he not already there? What's he waiting for? If she's deathly ill, this is the -- I'm just -- I'm pretending to be a reporter here. You know they'd ask McCain these questions. If Obama's grandmother is deathly ill, why has this been announced days ago, and he's only going now or tomorrow or whenever it is? Now, I understand, folks, Snerdley's got-- he's buried his head in his hands -- I understand this, my friends -- anything said about Obama is gonna be turned into an unfair, racist attack on the man, but I -- am I not asking the obvious questions? Who announces days in advance they're rushing to the side of a loved one who is deathly ill, but keeps campaigning in a race that's said to be over, only to go to the loved one's side days later?

See, I think this is about something else. You know what's really percolating out there? And I've been laying low on this because it just -- it hasn't met the threshold to pass the smell test on this program. But this birth certificate business, this lawsuit that a guy named Phillip Berg filed in Philadelphia in August for Obama to produce his genuine birth certificate, and he still hasn't replied, he hasn't done so. And I'm just -- you know, you've got a deathly ill grandmother, you are going to rush to her side a few days from now. When you first announced this, you're gonna rush, you're gonna hurry, you're gonna make tracks, you're gonna get over there because you don't want your grandmother to die before you got there like your mother did, but somehow you keep campaigning, you take three days to get over there, if he's left yet.

And this birth certificate business -- I'm just wondering if something's up. I have no clue, and I -- folks, I'm telling you, this has not reached the threshold until now, and it's now popping up all over the place. There are a lot of people now that are starting to speculate and be curious about this. I don't know. Let's say, for example, that somebody does come up with proof that Obama -- something's screwy with his birth certificate, and something's screwy about the fact that he's allegedly a natural citizen, American citizen but may not be, dual citizenship, born in Kenya, who knows, there's all kinds of stuff out -- so what? What's gonna happen this late in the campaign? Do you think, if it's proven, that they're gonna dump him? That's not gonna happen. But there's still -- these are just questions that I have. I mean, look at, I -- both of my parents have died, and when I was told that the end was near, bam, I got there fast as I could, and I didn't announce to the audience, "I just got word my father's soon to be passing away, in four or five days I'm gonna go to Missouri. In the meantime I will not leave you here on this radio program." These are just natural questions. I think any inquisitive reporter -- I know the risk I'm running here by raising all of this, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't do that.

From the October 22 broadcast of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:

SAVAGE: We're gonna raise the question of why Obama is headed to Hawaii. He certainly wouldn't take the time out to visit an ailing grandmother all of a sudden -- it is for other reasons, it is being speculated across the Internet that he was born in Kenya and he is not a U.S. citizen. Now, this originated with a Democrat who filed a lawsuit, a Democrat from Pennsylvania and a big donor to the Democrat [sic] Party -- filed a lawsuit claiming Obama was born in Kenya and that he is not a U.S. citizen and not qualified to run for the presidency. There are people arguing that Obama is headed to Hawaii not so much to visit an ailing relative but to fudge the birth certificate in question.

[...]

SAVAGE: There's an October surprise that could brew, and that's built around Obama's secretive trip to Hawaii coming up momentarily. There's intense national interest on the Internet as to whether or not he's an American citizen, and the question is being asked, could this be the real reason he is headed to Hawaii, and it was started by a Democrat who filed a lawsuit claiming Obama was born in Kenya. And you gotta read -- you gotta look at the birth certificate and judge for yourself on MichaelSavage.com. We actually have the birth certificate submitted by the Obama camp, and it looks like it's fake.

[...]

SAVAGE: Do you actually believe he's going to Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother with 10 days to go until an election? Do you actually believe that? Do you actually believe he'd be going to Hawaii at this time with 10 days to go? You actually believe that? No, no, no -- no, no, no, no, no. No. There's some other reason that he's leaving the mainland of the United States in the midst of this toe-to-toe struggle right now, and it's got to do with his birth certificate. That's correct. That is correct. 1-800-449 -- but please go to MichaelSavage.com and look at the alleged birth certificate. Look at it very carefully.

[...]

SAVAGE: And Obama's leaving for Hawaii -- why? Why? What's he doing there? Why's he going there, huh? What's he going there for, huh? Why's he gonna -- the last phase of a race, he's getting off the track just to visit his grandmother? Don't be stupid. It's the birth certificate issue, you fools, you. Something's wrong with this picture, and we're gonna talk about it in the next hour. Carla in New York, if you make it fast, fire away on The Savage Nation.

CALLER: OK, first of all, as far as the trip to Hawaii, the reason he needs to go there is he's lost the lawsuit by not -- by having no one show. He needs to get to that house, the grandma's house. Those documents, the Kenyan documents are in that house. The other thing is that he has had four identities.

From the October 22 edition of Radio America's The G. Gordon Liddy Show:

LIDDY: Bring us up to date on the latest findings.

CORSI: Well, Mr. Liddy, I'm headed out to Honolulu. I am not convinced that Barack Obama is going because his grandmother is sick. I appreciate that his grandmother is sick and he wants to be with her. I do recall that Barack Obama's mother died of cancer, and he didn't go to be by her side when she died. He relates that in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father. And I'm going out to do what digging I can on the birth certificate. I'll be in Honolulu for the next few days. I don't expect to be detained in Honolulu the way I was in Kenya.

[...]

CORSI: I think I'll accomplish something in Hawaii, too. Obama's headed out there, and I believe there's a court challenge that if Obama does not dodge, he's gonna be forced to produce a birth certificate, and there's gonna be something damaging on that birth certificate, because even at the eleventh hour, Obama refuses to show us the hospital-generated birth certificate when he was born.

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