Barack Obama releases birth certificate
Wednesday 27 April 2011
President Barack Obama produced his detailed birth certificate from Hawaii, hoping to finally crush persistent claims he was born outside the United States.
Lambasting claims to the contrary, Obama said in a nationally televised statement from the White House that, "We do not have time for this kind of silliness."
Obama made public the shorter form of the state of Hawaii document before he was elected in 2008, proving his birthplace and constitutional eligibility to be president. But opponents who created the issue, known as "birthers," were recently joined in their campaign by potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He gave new life to the false claims and said he was personally investigating the circumstances surrounding Obama's birth.
The newly released certificate says Obama was born to an American mother and Kenyan father, at 7:24 pm. on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital, within the city limits of Honolulu, the Hawaiian capital.
Obama sought to portray himself as a voice of reason, though his personal attention to the issue elevated it as never before. Obama said to his critics and the media, it is time to move on to bigger issues.
Citing huge economic decisions pending in Washington, Obama said, "I am confident that the American people and America's political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We always have. But we're not going to be able to do it if we are distracted."
Trump, meanwhile, spoke to reporters after stepping off a helicopter in a campaign-style stop in New Hampshire and congratulated himself.
"He should have done it a long time ago. I am really honored to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue," Trump said.
Polls show large numbers of Republicans have continued to doubt Obama is a natural born citizen eligible to be president. Trump, the bombastic real estate mogul, has seized on the issue as he weighs a Republican candidacy.
While Obama and White House officials avoided mentioning Trump by name, officials said they released the birth certificate partially because the issue had moved beyond fringe discussion, and Obama criticized a media culture that had not let the story go.
"This issue has been going on for two, two and a half years now. I think it started during the campaign," Obama said. "I have watched with bemusement, I've been puzzled at the degree at which this thing just kept on going."
"We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers," the president said.
Obama requested copies of his original birth certificate from Hawaii officials this week in hopes of quieting the lingering controversy.
Other Republicans officials have sought to distance themselves from the "birther" theory as a discredited notion not worthy of national public debate.
In a statement after Obama spoke, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the issue a distraction — and yet blamed Obama for playing campaign politics by addressing it. In his statement, Republicans escaped fault, even though the falsehoods about Obama's birth have come from the far right.
"The president ought to spend his time getting serious about repairing our economy," Priebus said. "Unfortunately his campaign politics and talk about birth certificates is distracting him from our number one priority — our economy."
The newly released certificate is signed by the delivery doctor, Obama's mother and the local registrar. His mother, then 18, signed her name (Stanley) Ann Dunham Obama.
There's no mention of religion. It says his father Barack Hussein Obama, age 25, was African and born in Kenya and his mother was Caucasian and born in Wichita, Kansas. Obama's mother and the doctor signed the certificate on Aug. 7 and 8.
Hawaii's registrar certified the new photocopy of the document provided to the White House on April 25, 2011.
The White House also released a letter from the president on April 22 requesting two certified copies of his original certificate of live birth, as well as a letter from Loretta Fuddy, Hawaii's director of health, approving the request.
The president's personal counsel, Judith Corley, traveled to Hawaii to pick up the documents and carried them back to Washington on a plane. The documents arrived at the White House late on Tuesday.
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