Obama birth certificate released – Donald Trump claims credit

President Obama released his long-form birth certificate Wednesday, saying the lingering issue, repeatedly raised by Donald Trump, kept the nation 'sidetracked.' The Obama birth certificate reiterates facts already made public about the president.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP
President Obama laughs in the White House briefing room Wednesday morning as he speaks to reporters about the controversy over his birth certificate and true nationality.

After years of critics’ claims that President Obama was not born in the United States, the president released a copy of his long-form Hawaiian birth certificate Wednesday.

The Obama birth certificate, which was released to the president on April 25 at his and his personal attorney’s request, showed that he was born August 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu. Copies of the document were released to the press Wednesday. None of the facts stated on the form conflict with anything already made public about Mr. Obama. The president himself appeared in the White House briefing room Wednesday morning to express his chagrin that the “birther” issue had come to dominate the news.

“We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get sidetracked by side shows and carnival barkers,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room Wednesday morning.

The president said he had watched the discussion about his citizenship for the last 2 and a half years with “bemusement,” and that he felt the issue had been put to rest by media investigations and signed affidavits by Hawaiian officials, including Republicans, who had seen the original long-form document. Long ago, Obama released the short-form Hawaiian certificate of live birth.

“Yet this thing just keeps on going,” he said. “Now, normally I would not comment on something like this because, obviously, there's a lot of stuff swirling in the press at any given day and, you know, I've got other things to do.”

Enter Donald Trump. In recent weeks, aggressive questioning by the real estate mogul and possible presidential candidate thrust the issue front and center, especially on the web and cable TV. Conspiracy theories have long swirled that Obama was born in Kenya – his father was Kenyan – but they were propagated mainly by fringe groups and Obama critics, not mainstream groups or politicians.

In the briefing room, Obama did not mention Mr. Trump by name, but observed that the birth certificate question – not the debate over the “monumental choices” the nation faces over deficits and entitlements – had begun to dominate news coverage.

Speaking to reporters in Portsmouth, NH, Wednesday morning, Trump appeared elated over Obama’s release of the long-form birth certificate.

“I’m proud of myself, because I’ve accomplished something no one else was able to do,” Trump said.

“I want to look at it,” he added, “but I hope it’s true, so we can get on to more important questions.”

Questions remain over why it took Obama so long to request release of the long-form document. It’s possible that the White House felt it was politically useful to have a segment of his opposition, including many in the tea party movement, distracted by a fringe nonissue. And now, in conceding that more needed to be done to put the question to rest, the White House may have decided that recent polls signaled trouble with voters.

Last week, a New York Times/CBS survey showed 45 percent of Republicans said Obama was not born in the United States. Some 33 percent said Obama was born in the US, and 22 percent said they weren’t sure.

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