Is Tim Adams Credible? A Reality Check

OK, I know some of you are laughing already; however, it is fair question to ask. After all, Adams is the only present or former Hawaiian government employee to my knowledge who has ever challenged the authenticity of the Obama COLB that almost every American (except for Tim Adams it seems) has seen on either FactCheck and/or Politifact.

Let’s examine Adams’ claims in order of importance. There have been some inconsistencies among his various interviews including the most recent one on RC Radio on March 31. However, I think I have distilled the meat of the claims that can be garnered from listening to his various interviews and reading his World Net Daily supplied “affidavit”. Mr. Adams claims:

  1. Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii. No “long form” Hawaiian birth certificate exists for Barack Obama. Adams claims he was told this by officials he will not name in the Department of Elections and that a search had been done and the records are not there. 
  2. Unnamed Hawaiian officials asked him or his department to “vet” Obama because it was their job to vet candidates and questions were asked about Obama. 
  3. Obama was born somewhere else in the US probably Washington or Kansas. He is therefore eligible to be president. 
  4. Obama’s COLB was not issued by the state of Hawaii and has no seal.
  5. The short form certification of live birth was only issued for non hospital births or births outside of Hawaii.
  6. Adams left the elections department in late August 2008 or September 2008 (various dates have been given in interviews) because of mismanagement, inappropriate access of data bases, and theft of election documents including 50 identity documents and absentee ballots from personnel stationed around the Pacific Rim. 

 Mr. Adams created a big stir in Birthistan in June of last year when he stopped by the the Council of Conservatives meeting in Nashville and appeared on James Edwards Political Cesspool radio show. Adams was introduced as the former Chief Elections Clerk in the Honolulu office. Adams repeated that title and despite what he claimed on RC Radio he never corrected the mistake until it was questioned on the Internet after the original interview. Strike one on Mr. Adams’ credibility. This is no small error because that statement lent more credibility to his claims and made it seem he were the highest ranking election official in the office. This error still persists and is repeated on birther sites to this day.

Claim #1:  There is a mountain of evidence that this claim is false. The evidence includes the COLB itself, which would be accepted as proof of birth for any purpose by any state or the US government, the statements of Republican officials at the Department of Health and Governor Laura Lingle as to the existence of the documents and the validity of the COLB,  the contemporary newspaper announcements, the account from Kapi’olani hospital, the same day account of Barbara Nelson who knew Dr. Rodney West the head of maternity unit at Kapi’olani, and Obama’s own account of his place of birth that was known long before he decided to run for president.  Yes, birthers have tried to pick at each of these with fake birth certificates from Kenya, fake document experts, manufactured stories of confusion on the hospital, and other bizarre explanations but the totality of the evidence that Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii remains intact. Finally, we have the new statement that Dr. Fukino gave to NBC reporter Michael Isakoff this past weekend that I found while writing this very paragraph!

Claim #2: Frankly I am unclear on exactly who asked whom to vet anyone. Adams claims that “they” asked either him or his department to vet Obama because “people were asking questions”.  If you think that is vague and doesn’t make sense welcome to the world of trying to figure out Tim Adams. Foggy asked Adams if they were doing the same vetting process for Joe Biden. Great question! There was a very long pause and Adams said no one had asked about Biden. I wished I had asked about McCain and Palin too. Adams claimed that “they” called local hospitals and they had no records for Obama’s birth. Let’s think about that. Do hospitals keep records for 50 years? Were they available to someone without access under HIPAA even if they still existed? Why wouldn’t a simple copy of the COLB have sufficed for proof of birth? What Hawaiian statute required this vetting and why would it have only been done for Obama? We also have the statement by Glen Takahashi who said “Our office does not have access to birth records,” Takahashi said. “That’s handled by the state of Hawaii Department of Health. Where he’s getting that, I don’t know. Put it this way: Barack Obama was not trying to register to vote in Hawaii. He is, as far as I know, not a registered voter here. So no one was looking that up.” and “To be honest, I fielded no questions about that,” Takahashi said. “Why would anyone ask us? We don’t have those records.” Adams claimed he has discredited Takahashi but offered no details. Adams made unsubstantiated charges that Takahashi was either aware of or participated in the use of criminal background check data that the department was not supposed to have.

Claim #3 The claim that Obama was born in Washington or Kansas is frankly preposterous. Adams pulled this one out of a deep dark place and offers no proof at all other than Stanley Dunham enrolled in the University of Washington in the fall 1961 (and we now know took correspondence courses). Even the craziest of birthers has ever suggested Obama was born in another US state.

Claim #4 If I sounded incredulous when Adams pulled out this one it is because I was. The Factcheck high resolution photos clearly show an embossed seal and signature. Even the initial low resolution Daily Kos/Fight the Smears scanned copy shows the seal when the contrast is enhanced. Adams said he would go look at the FactCheck photos and could disprove them in five minutes. We are still waiting. Just in case he missed the link it is http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html The good news is that Adams made one completely correct claim! Obama is eligible.

Claim #5 Now this was a completely new one. I could tell Doc C was guffawing silently when Adams made this claim. Adams again provided no proof at all. We know from the Nordyke 1965 copies of the original Hawaiian 1960’s vintage birth certificates that the same form was designed for both hospital and non hospital births. Box 6c on the form says “name of hospital or institution (if not hospital or institution give street address)”. This sounds like it would cover home births outside of a hospital or institution doesn’t it? We have also seen copies of post 2001 birth certificates and they look exactly like Obama’s COLB. No one other than Adams has ever claimed the COLB documents only certain a certain category of birth. 

Claim #6 This claim has nothing to do with Obama but it seems to be Adams’ attempt to explain why he left his job and to cast doubt on the integrity of the elections department and the Hawaii government in general. I find it puzzling that Adams would attempt to discredit the same folks who are apparently the source for his information on the birth records but that is exactly what Adams is doing here. The imprecision of Adams wording makes it tough to evaluate the veracity of his claim. He appears to be claiming that 50 “identity documents” and absentee ballots were stolen in order for someone to figure out whether political appointees were voting for Obama. Since Hawaii had no presidential preference primary in 2008 (Hawaii was a caucus state) and the ballots for the general election had not been mailed by the time Adams left his position we can rule this claim as false.

Hawaii held a primary election on September 20, 2008 for races other than the presidential contest. Applications for absentee ballots were accepted beginning July 22, 2008 for both the primary and general elections. Some of the ballots for the primary election would have been received into the office before Adams left. The only information that might be obtained by pilfering through these ballots is whether a person voted the Republican, Democratic, or Independent section of the ballot. I believe most states use a two envelope system to maintain voter anonymity for mail in ballots. This brochure for the Hawaii 2008 elections has many of the key details and dates. Obviously the results of the September primary would need to be certified before the ballots for the November  general election could be printed.

I searched for articles that might have confirmed any of Adams’ claims about corruption in the election department in Hawaii. I could not find any confirmation of missing ballots or identity documents. It seems that there was some controversy about a couple of actions by Kevin Cronin who was the Chief Election Officer for Hawaii in 2008. First he failed to register himself  to vote in a timely fashion as was required to hold the office. There was also a controversy over the acceptance of a late filing by a candidate for a state house position. These accusations even if true hardly seem to match the corruption allegations that Adams claims led to his departure in 2008. Cronin’s actions would have had nothing to do with anything Adams might have been involved.

Mr. Adams  certainly seems to believe his claims. It is troubling that Adams will not name a single person with whom he worked who will verify a single claim he was made. Adams calls those those who have made contrary statements’ including high ranking official Glen Takahashi, liars. If Adams’ claims about Obama were “an open secret” as he said it seems incredible that some verification for those could not be obtained even 2 – 1/2 years later. So, after weighing the facts, the facts rule, and I must rule that Mr. Adams is not credible.

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