Confronting growing doubts that could undermine his 2012 re-election bid, President Obama on Wednesday delivered an extraordinary rebuttal to those questioning whether he was born in the U.S. and eligible to hold office, producing a detailed birth certificate and pleading for a long “sideshow” to end.
Speaking at a press conference in New Hampshire, Donald Trump, the potential 2012 presidential contender, reacted to the release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, saying that he’s “proud” in light of the disclosure. “I am really honored to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue,” he said.
“Today I’m very proud of myself, because I’ve accomplished something that no one else has been able to accomplish,” said Trump on the release of the president’s birth certificate, according to the NBC News. “I want to look at it, but I hope it’s true. But he should have done it a long time ago.”
In recent weeks, Trump has captured headlines and sparked controversy with his persistence in raising doubt over the president’s birthplace. He released his own official birth certificate to ABC News last month and has repeatedly called on Obama to do the same.
Legal documentation of the president’s birth, however, has been accessible online for more than three years. Obama had released a standard short form of his birth certificate before he was elected in 2008 but requested copies of his original birth certificate from Hawaii officials in hopes of killing the controversy.
Until Wednesday, the White House had insisted that the short form certificate was the appropriate legal document confirming Obama’s birth and no further proof was needed. In addition, officials in Hawaii had said the longer version could not be released, and the White House had not tried to get past that.
The White House calculation on Wednesday was that it was necessary to step in and try to deflate the issue, even though doing so meant Obama ended up swamping the news with the very topic he said he wanted to quash.
On TV, Obama said the issue was distraction from the important matters of the day: budget deficits and soaring gasoline prices. “We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” Obama said in hurriedly announced appearance in the White House briefing room. “We’ve got better stuff to do.”
He portrayed himself as the voice of reason in a loud, lingering debate, essentially saying that the nation was above all this. The president also sought to push to the national fringe anyone who refused to accept the facts about his birth, taking an indirect swipe at Trump, who has been loudly stirring up the matter.
In his remarks, Obama tried to make a broader point that the country needs adult leaders with serious agendas. “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” Obama said before TV cameras at the White House.
President Obama secured special authority to secure two official copies of the more detailed certificate. He dispatched his personal attorney to fly to Hawaii, get the certificates and hand deliver them back to the White House.
The certificate says Barack Hussein Obama II was born at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu. It’s signed by the delivery doctor, Obama’s mother and the local registrar. His mother, then 18, signed her name (Stanley) Ann Dunham Obama.
Doubts about his birth in America, though widely debunked, have been growing. A recent New York Times-CBS News poll found that fully 45 percent of adult Republicans said they believed Obama was born in another country or weren’t sure. [via The Huff Post, Yahoo! and MSNBC]