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Why Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is taking on anti-Obama 'birthers'

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Marco Garcia/AP

(Read caption) Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie gives his first press conference as governor on Dec. 6 in Honolulu. He has now said he will take on the claims of 'birthers.'

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It's the rumor that won't go away, despite multiple investigations by fact-checking groups that declare it bogus: the claim that President Obama was not born in the US, and is therefore ineligible to be president.

Now, it's surfacing in the news yet again, this time thanks to the newly elected governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, who says he wants to end the debate once and for all.

His idea: Change state policy so that he can release additional proof (perhaps the "long form" birth certificate that so-called "birthers" have been requesting, which is not a public record in Hawaii) that Obama was born in Honolulu, and not in Kenya as conspiracy theorists claim.

The trouble is, the facts are out there already, and they haven't succeeded in quelling the certainty of those determined not to believe them. In addition to the "certificate of live birth" released by the Obama campaign when the rumors first started circulating – which groups like factcheck.org have concluded is authentic – there were two separate birth announcements in local papers at the time (Aug. 4, 1961).

The birther claims are mostly confined to a relatively small group on the fringe, but state legislators in a handful of states have also introduced legislation requiring political candidates to show their official birth certificate – an effort clearly targeting Obama.

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