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ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Do You Know Where You're Brother/Sister Were Born

April 15, 2011

My brother was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

More precisely, he was born in Cleveland’s St. Luke’s Hospital, and I know this despite having never seen his birth certificate.

I’ve also never seen St. Luke’s Hospital (except for my own brief stay when I was born there, too) but I can tell you unequivocally, and without need of  written “proof”, this is the exact location of his place of birth.

There are certain things siblings know about their brother or sister. These things cannot be refuted by outsiders, and the location of where a sibling is born, is one of those things.

This is why so many were surprised at the response given by Mary Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Barrack Obama, to CNN’s Piers Morgan on the question of where President Obama was born.

Ostensibly, Ms. Soetoro-Ng appeared on the program to promote a children’s book she has written, and she was indeed a very articulate and well spoken woman.

Morgan asked her about the birth issue because it’s been an ongoing concern of those in the country known as “Birthers”. These voters believe the President may be concealing his origin of birth, perhaps because it took place out of the country, and if true, he’d be ineligible to serve as President of the United States.

Farfetched maybe, but the issue is becoming more than just a distraction to President Obama. Billionaire and Republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, is making a public stir and trying to get to the bottom of the issue.

In response to Morgan, Ms. Soetoro-Ng said, “ I think it’s unfortunate. He was born in Hawaii; there is a tremendous amount of proof that has already been presented. I think it is time for people to put that to bed, put it to rest completely.”

She continued, “Well, I think it’s a shame, and I think that my brother should definitely be president for a second term, and that’s all I really have to say about it.”

Fine, as far as it goes.

Yet, there was no personal response in her answer. She did not speak as someone who was conveying – privately and personally - that what they were saying was true. It was not an answer which said, in effect, "I'm his sister and know where he was born as an irrefutable fact.”

Her assertion of "there’s a tremendous amount of proof” (that the President was born in Hawaii) was an answer one might expect from a lawyer, or distant partisan Democrat, not from the President’s sister.

Her final comment, "I think that my brother should definitely be president for a second term, and that's all I really have to say about it," didn't help. There's no doubt she strongly believes this, but it's also self-evident, and in her own self interest, that her brother be re-elected President.

Siblings rarely need to rely on "proof presented" to say where their brother or sister was born. This is a question easily answered with a heartfelt and convincing authoritative response based on personal knowledge as a member of the family.

Maybe she didn't feel the need to do that, but that's what was missing from her response.

Hopefully, President Obama will find a way to quell the persistent rumors about where he was born. Some say the "Birthers" are extreme and out-of-touch, and while this may be true, questions about the President's origin of birth are not helping him, either.

He needs to put the issue to rest, and one would have thought his sister could have helped do this.

She only added to the mystery.