Officials in Hawaii say they have located President Obama's birth certificate indicating that he was born in the state, but have yet to produce the document at the heart of a long-simmering conspiracy theory.
"Our investigation is showing, it actually exists in the archives written down," Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie told Honolulu's Star-Advertiser.
"What I can do, and all I have ever said, is that I am going to see to it as governor that I can verify to anyone who is honest about it that this is the case," he told the paper.
Abercrombie said the controversy over publicly producing the document "has a political implication for 2012 that we simply cannot have."
It remains unclear if the document found in the archives was Obama's actual long-form birth certificate, which "birther" activists have clamored for, or if it was simply a record that such a document exists.
Since the 2008 election, conspiracy theorists and political opponents have suggested the president was not actually born in Hawaii and is therefore not a U.S. citizen eligible for the office.
The newly elected Democrat governor, and a college friend of Obama's parents, vowed soon after taking office in December that he would track down the birth certificate and lay the rumors to rest.
"We'll do what we can as quickly as we can to make it inevitable that only those who wish the president ill, only the ones with a political agenda, will be the ones doing this kind of thing," Abercrombie told CNN in December.
In an interview from the same time with the New York Times, Abercrombie said, "It's an emotional insult. It is disrespectful to the president; it is disrespectful to the office.
"There's no reason on earth to have the memory of his parents insulted by people whose motivation is solely political. ... Let's put this particular canard to rest," he said.
Despite his assurance to end the controversy, the governor has yet to present the document.
Those clamoring for proof of Obama's Hawaiian birth want to see the original long-form certificate that includes the name of the hospital and the doctor, his or her signature, the baby's birth weight and the national origin of the parents.
The Obama campaign released a "certification of live birth" -- a shorter document that carries the same legal weight as the long one in 2008. But it didn't quiet skeptics.
"No one has provided us the long form," Orly Taitz, a leading birther who has launched hundreds of lawsuits against the administration, told ABCNews.com. "If you have the proper papers, show them to us. Show us the long-form birth certificate. If you have it, show it to us."
Abercrombie was friends with Obama's mother Ann Dunham and father Barack Obama Sr. when the two attended college together in Hawaii in the 1960s. He has spoken about hanging out with the couple, drinking beers, listening to records and debating the war in Vietnam.
Abercrombie's relationship with Obama has only fueled the conspiracy theories.
"Abercrombie was friends with his parents," Taitz said. "There are a number of connections that are questionable."
Liberal MSNBC talk-show host Chris Matthews last month also called on the White House to release the documents.
"I am not a birther, I am an enemy of the birthers," Matthews said on his show "Hardball." But "why has the president himself not demanded that they put out the initial documents?"
The administration has been reluctant to be seen as bowing to politically motivated extremists whose views are not substantiated. As a citizen, Obama is also entitled to privacy rights under the law.
"A year and a half ago, I asked that the birth certificate be put on the Internet because, Lord knows, if you have a birth certificate and put it on the Internet, what else could be the story?" White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in July 2009. "Nothing will assuage them. ... But there are 10,000 more important issues for people in this country to discuss."
The nonpartisan group FactCheck.org determined the document was authentic, writing on its blog, "Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said."
Archives of two local papers -- the Honolulu Star Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser -- also contain birth announcements for a young Obama son in early August 1961.
Still, 14 percent of Americans say, without prompting, that they think Obama was born in another country, according to the most recent ABC News-Washington Post poll.