An article appeared on the website of infamous "birther" conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi earlier this week claiming that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has "delivered" on the "surprise" he promised "birthers" in regards to the sheriff's investigation into whether President Barack Obama is eligible to be president.
Stop us if you've heard this one before, but the president's citizenship is again in question.
We spoke to Arpaio yesterday afternoon. His surprise for the "birthers": Hawaiian twins and microfiche.
The sheriff tells New Times he doesn't want to speak too much about the investigation because it's currently ongoing, but explains that his posse is exploring several investigative leads.
"No one has talked about microfiche. The controversy has been over the birth certificate -- maybe the numbers are not in sequence, or it's been forged; I can go on and on," Arpaio explains. "To help the president of the United States, let's go to the microfiche."
According to the sheriff, two twins -- the Nordyke twins -- were born on August 5, 1961 at the same hospital as the president. August 5, 1961, is one day after President Obama was (allegedly -- if you ask a "birther") born in Hawaii. The twins' birth certificates can be found on microfiche documents that the sheriff says are on file with the Hawaii Department of Health, or some Hawaiian government agency.
If Obama was born in the same hospital the day before the twins, according to the sheriff, the posse should be able to locate the president's birth certificate on similar microfiche files.
"All you have to do if you're the president is go to the Department of Health, or whatever, and release the microfiche," Arpaio says. "If his birth certificate is on that microfiche -- just like the two twins -- then he's cleared."
Arpaio goes on to say "I'm doing this to actually help clear the president -- if he's on that microfiche."
Arpaio says he doesn't have an opinion either way about whether Obama is a U.S. citizen. He says, though, that members of a local Tea Party came to him with 200 signatures asking him to look into it.
"I'm not gonna throw it in the wastebasket just because there's some controversy -- you know me," he says. "Let's get this resolved, one way or the other -- that's all."
It should be noted that the folks who pushed for the "birther" investigation are Arpaio's bread and butter when it comes to his support base in Maricopa County: far-right-wingers. And a politically savvy headline-hound like Arpaio wouldn't want to cross them, regardless of how far-fetched, continuously disproved, or laughable their theories about Obama's citizenship may be.
The sheriff points out that the investigation is being carried out by his "cold case posse" at no cost to taxpayers. For the posse -- not the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office -- the investigation is a high priority.
"It is a priority right now. We started this and I'd like to get this finished -- not drag it on forever like some people may be doing," he says.
It should also be noted that Arpaio is one of the few people on the planet still entertaining the whole "birther" theory, which has been continuously debunked since it was first concocted about four years ago -- so much for not letting the issue "drag on forever."
"[The microfiche] is something new -- all I'm asking [Obama] is [to] come up with the microfiche. Either [his birth certificate is] gonna be on it, or he's not gonna be on it, which means he wasn't born in the [Hawaiian] hospital," he says.
If the microfiche/Hawaiian twin theory doesn't pan out, Arpaio says his posse has "other information we're coming up with" that could also potentially put the Barack Obama "birther" theory to rest.
The sheriff says the birther posse's report is expected early next year. Also planned for next year is the 2012 election for Maricopa County sheriff. Click here to see New Times' online town hall with Arpaio's opponent, Scottsdale Lieutenant Mike Stauffer -- who's assured us he won't waste MCSO resources investigating things like "birthers," the moon landing "hoax," the Kennedy assassination, or any other continuously debunked, crackpot conspiracy theory.