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Honolulu city clerk debunks new 'birther' theory

Over the past few weeks, a Kentucky resident and teacher named Timothy Adams has made the rounds online and on talk radio with an extraordinary claim -- he was the "senior elections clerk" for Honolulu in 2008, where it was an open secret that the city and state had no proof of Barack Obama's citizenship. As he told WorldNetDaily, the racing form for birtherism:

I had direct access to the Social Security database, the national crime computer, state driver's license information, international passport information, basically just about anything you can imagine to get someone's identity. I could look up what bank your home mortgage was in. I was informed by my boss that we did not have a birth record [for Barack Obama].

I checked with Glen Takahashi, the administrator of the Honolulu City Clerk's office, and while he verified that Adams worked there, he explained – gently making it clear he did not want to "call anyone a liar" -- that Adams never actually had access to information about Barack Obama.

"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."

Takahashi explained that the "senior elections clerk" job that Adams held was a low-level data entry position dealing with voter registration and absentee ballots -- Adams was one of dozens of temporary employees who staffed the pre-election rush. And he contradicted Adams's claims that Obama's lack of a birth certificate was an "open secret" or that voters contacted the office to ask about it.

"To be honest, I fielded no questions about that," Takahashi said. "Why would anyone ask us? We don't have those records."

The internal contradictions of Adams's story haven't stopped him from expanding his media presence this week, most recently with a local TV interview in which he repeated his claims (some of them based on popular "birther" rumors from the Web) while, confusingly, stating that he didn't think Obama's eligibility was an issue.

By David Weigel  |  June 21, 2010; 5:49 PM ET
Categories:  Fringe  
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