Hawaii is apparently so sick of people asking for proof of President Obama's birth, that they've turned the tables on Arizona's secretary of state, demanding that he's the one who has to prove he deserves to see it.
Ken Bennett (pictured) has made headlines in the last few days for suggesting that Obama may not be on the ballot in Arizona this November without some solid proof that the President was actually born in Hawaii. Bennett, who says he's just trying satisfy questions raised by his state's citizens, has made several phone calls and written inquiries to Hawaii's health department asking for "verification," but has yet to get his answer, mostly because state officials are giving him the run around. Which is a nice way of saying he's being clowned.
Talking Points Memo got ahold of some of the emails and they reveal some epic trolling on the part of Hawaii's Deputy Attorney General Jill Nagamine. After Bennett sent an itemized list of all the information he wants verified, Nagamine responded with an even longer list of Hawaii statutes that spell out how they don't give that information to just anyone and asking under what authority does Bennett thinks he's entitled to the information.
From Nagamine to Bennett (via TPM):
As the Secretary and I initially discussed, it appears that you might be eligible for verification of the record based on subparagraph (2), but we need to see what your authority is “to update official lists of persons in the ordinary course of your activities.” Will you send me a copy of your law that allows this, and will you send me information that shows:
(1) What list are you updating?
(2) Is it your normal procedure to update all entries on your list by requiring birth data verification?
(3) Are you requiring birth data verification of all entries on your list, rather than just targeting one name on your list? (please provide evidence that you are doing so)
Bennett responded with his own Arizona statutes explaining that he's the chief elections officer of his state and that he is "concerned that a rejection of a request by another State’s chief elections official will dramatically exacerbate an already untenable situation." Nagamine remained unmoved:
These statutes seem to deal with election of presidential electors, nomination of candidates for printing on official ballot of general or special election, form and contents of ballot, and presentation of presidential candidates on ballot, but none, as far as I can tell, establish the authority of the Secretary of State to maintain and update official lists of persons in the ordinary course of his activities. I researched other sections of the Arizona Revised Statutes and was unable to find the necessary authority.
If I have missed something, please let me know. My client stands willing to provide you with the verification you seek as soon as you are able to show that you are entitled to it.
Ouch. It's not clear if Bennett appreciates the irony of the situation he's put himself into, or if he will continue to be frustrated by demands that he prove something is true even though he's certain that it should already be completely obvious to everyone else. We bet that gets annoying.
Update (Wednesday morning): Hawaii has finally agreed to verify the birth certificate after Bennett "satisfied" their requirements, so Obama will definitely be on the ballot, even if birtherism survives.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.