WASHINGTON--President Obama released his "long form" birth certificate on Wednesday, in an attempt to defuse and defang revived questions about whether he was born in the U.S. fueled lately by Donald Trump, who is mulling a GOP 2012 presidential bid.
The White House released Obama's "certificate of live birth," the underlying document signed by his mother and the doctor who delivered him. That document--never before released until Wednesday--is what the State of Hawaii used to generate a "certification of live birth" accepted by the state and federal authorities as the legal proof of birth.
A bemused looking Obama even took the extraordinary step of adding to his schedule on Wednesday morning a surprise stop in the White House briefing room to comment on the release of further proof that he was born in a Honolulu hospital on Aug. 4, 1961--and is eligible to be president.
"We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We got better stuff to do. I've got better stuff to do. We've got big problems to solve. And I'm confident we can solve them, but we're going to have to focus on them, not on this," Obama said.
Said Obama, "And I have to say that over the last two and a half years, I have watched with bemusement. I have been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going. We've had every official in Hawaii -- Democrat and Republican -- every news outlet that has investigated this, confirm that, yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4th, 1961, in Kapiolani Hospital."
During the 2008 presidential campaign, when questions were first raised about whether Obama was born in Hawaii, the campaign released the shorter, unsigned, computer generated state of Hawaii document, "certification of live birth."
The campaign hoped that document would settle once and for all the matter of Obama's native birth, but it did not, as the so-called "birther movement" took root. I was told through the years the campaign never asked the state of Hawaii for a waiver of state rules to allow for the release of the underlying document.
On April 22 Obama finally sent a letter to Hawaii authorities asking for the document, in an attempt to stop what was becoming a major distraction.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a Wednesday statement, "the President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate. They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting."
Obama did not mention Trump by name when commented about his Hawaii birth.
"We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers.
"We live in a serious time right now, and we have the potential to deal with the issues that we confront in a way that will make our kids and our grandkids and our great grandkids proud. And I have every confidence that America in the 21st century is going to be able to come out on top, just like we always have. But we're going to have to get serious to do it.
"Now, I know that there's going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put up, this issue will not be put to rest, but I'm speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We got better stuff to do. I've got better stuff to do. We've got big problems to solve. And I'm confident we can solve them, but we're going to have to focus on them, not on this."
Obama said in recent days he could barely get coverage for his budget proposals, drowned out because of the mainstream media making the "dominant news story" questions about his birth.
Trump's use of the Obama birth issue has helped propel him to near the top of polls of GOP 2012 contenders.
Though the White House wants to put the issue of Obama's birth to rest, Obama said a segment of people will never be convinced of his native birth; even so, "we do not have time for this kind of silliness."
Obama said at the top of his comments that he has "watched with bemusement" assertions he was not born in the U.S. I've been puzzled by the degree this thing just kept on going
Trump, in Portsmouth, N.H. said he "accomplished something important" speaking in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Trump said he was "honored and proud" and bragged that he was able to "do something" no one else could do.
Trump said of the certified document, "I want to see it...he should have done it a long time ago."
He then went on to push Obama for the release of his college transcripts.
The White House acted as recent polling showed that a segment of the U.S. population clings to the belief that Obama was born outside the U.S.--which would then not make him eligible to be president. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: Only 38 percent say Obama definitely was born in the USA. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say Obama was not born in the U.S. A New York Times/CBS poll: 25 percent said Obama was not a "natural born citizen." Among Republicans, 45 percent believed he was born outside the U.S.