July 27th, 2009
06:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Gibbs shoots down 'birthers'

(CNN) - A reluctant Robert Gibbs struck back sharply Monday at those who continue to question whether President Obama was born in the United States, saying nothing the White House can do will put the issue to rest.

"No, the God's honest truth is no - let's understand this," Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said when a reporter asked if there is anything more the administration can do to satisfy those who question where the president was born.

"I almost hate to indulge in such an august setting as the White House briefing room discussing the made up fictional nonsense of whether the president was born in this country," Gibbs continued. "A year and a half ago, I asked that the birth certificate be put on the Internet. Because Lord knows if you got a birth certificate and you put it on the internet, what else could be the story?

"Here's the deal. If I had some DNA, it wouldn't assuage those who don't believe he was born here," Gibbs also said. "I have news for them and all of us. The president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the 50th state of the greatest country on the face of the earth. He is a citizen."

Gibbs comments come the same day Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe was quoted in Politico as saying those who question Obama's citizenship - who have collectively become known as "birthers" - "have a point."

Inhofe, a Republican, later issued a statement attempting to clarify that statement.

"The point that they make is the Constitutional mandate that the U.S. President be a natural born citizen, and the White House has not done a very good job of dispelling the concerns of these citizens," he said in the statement. "My focus is on issues where I can make a difference to stop the liberal agenda being pushed by President Obama."


Filed under: Extra • President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Let's get off this lame debate....first off McCain may have been born in Panama because his father was stationed there, but then that technically makes him have dual citizenship much like other children born in foreign countries when their parents are stationed there....we only lease the land the bases are on, not own them.

    July 27, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Joe A

    Down with Racism..
    Down with religious fanatics pushing their moral bs on us.
    Down with the greedy..

    Or should i just say.. DOWN WITH THE GOP...

    July 27, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Mitch

    The birthers are idiots. Plain and simple. They'll never be satisfied. They should all watch the Daily Show...as Stewart puts it...was this some kind of diabolical attempt by Kenya to have a baby planted in the US in the hopes that one day he'd become president?

    These people like Palin but hate what is turning out to be one of the greatest presidents in US history. This is just a sad case of the poorest losers spending more time worrying about fiction than perhaps doing some good for society.

    July 27, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Burly

    I don't care where he was born. I just want him to go back.

    July 27, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Kerry

    Russell, we will lay off the METH when you get your head out of your CRACK.

    July 27, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. JJ -ATLANTA/ TORONTO

    sick of those racist birthers. Did anaybody ask Georges his birth certificate... sick and tired of these racists.... Obama won let him govern, for goodness sake

    July 27, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Larry

    We're burning up too much time on this topic.

    There is a small segment of society who are nuts, and nothing you can say will change their minds.

    NASA last week released a photograph of the lunar rover that was left on the moon in 1969. The photo was taken by the most recent probe circling the moon. But conspiracy people will still claim the whole lunar landing was faked.

    July 27, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. joe

    Shooot! Republicans have nothing to run on...

    Running on empty, no, how about birther?

    July 27, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Adele

    How come they never ask all the other white presidents for their birth certificates?

    July 27, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Barbara

    Seems to me all those harping on this dead issue should get a Life. How can any elected official spend time on such garbage rumors when we have real, serious issues; people without health care, etc.to deal with?? Those trying to make this an issue just can't get over the fact that a VERY smart, good-looking-cool-interesting-talented-trusting-young African-American male could actually have been elected by the People!! Thank God he was-now get over this nonsense and get on to real issues!

    July 27, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Benaiah

    Obama is not “of the country”, nor is he a “natural born citizen” of the United States of America, as his father was a “foreigner”…

    Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (U.S. 01/02/1856)

    [1] UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT

    [418] …The natives or natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens…

    [419] Again:

    [420] …to be of the country, it is necessary to be born of a person who is a citizen, for if he be born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country. The inhabitants, as distinguished from citizens, are foreigners who are permitted to settle and stay in the country. Vattel, Book 1, cap. 19, p. 101.

    July 27, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Leila, Houston, Texas

    What this movement shows is pure racism. "How can a black man be the legitimate president of this country" is really what is being said. So all of those of us born in Hawaii and have a certificate of live birth are illegally in this country? I used it to get my passport so what is the problem?

    July 27, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Adele

    Hawaii went paperless about 10 years back.

    July 27, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Dennis

    I have no doubt he is an american citizen. Unfortunately, not a very good President.

    July 27, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Let me be clear about this. Those who traffic in this sort of nonsense would not do so if the president were white. "

    Actually, they very well might. Let ME be clear about this: if it helps the GOP to get people who complain about where the gov't is spending their tax money to turn around and hand them gobs of their after-tax money to spend on things like commercials, legal defense funds, and fighting anything and everything that might help this country while the Dems are in control (wouldn't want them to get credit now would we?), the GOPers will pretty much say just about anything. That's the God's honest truth.

    I tend to agree that the fact of Obama's skin tone instigated the idea of "hey, I bet we can convince the racist portion of the base to believe he's not a citizen"...but I disagree that it's the only reason they continue to encourage it. They're just licking the hands that feed them.

    July 27, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. V C Washington

    It has to do with the "Browning" of America..this country is in need. Those who sat by for 8 years and collected on their portfolios are the same ones complaining..Does that mean that all military children born abroad are not natural born citizens simply because they were not born on American soil? Wake up all complainers...you have earned enough off the backs of those same hard working Americans who are asking for help, not a hand out....Stop the "Hate"....

    July 27, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. WAW

    The "Swift Birthers" same Republican money, same Republican propaganda, same old, same old. What will it take for the RNC and Republicans in Congress to admit their bull or disavow it. Don't hold your breath because the same people who pay for their services also foot the bill for this crap. Until then, they can run a resurrected Ronald Reagan and not win the white house.

    July 27, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. Tom in Wheaton, Illinois

    There is nothing to say to the 'birthers'. Sometimes a baseball bat to the head gets their attention, though.

    July 27, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Cato

    I may be wrong, but I don't think so. If you are born of an American citizen, as his mother was, I am not sure it MATTERS where you were born. You ARE an American citizen...

    July 27, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. ComradeObummer

    Produce the BC and put a end to the speculation you bozo.

    July 27, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Ron F

    The White House should release the official birth certifcate (not the certificate of live birth) showing all relevant information on the Internet. That will end the issue. If they can't do that, then I'd say there must be a problem!

    July 27, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Kerry

    He should unseal his college transcripts too. What is he hiding? Is he really not as smart as CNN tells us he is? Did he only study Teleprompter 101?

    July 27, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. M Paul

    Barack Obama's father came to US with scholarship to go to school. Do you know any student out there from Africa in 60s who will have luxury of taking a 18 or 19 years old woman from USA to Africa in order for her to have baby and then bring her back to US with the new baby? I have been in many countries in Africa and believe me, even today, I don't see a student or anybody sending his wife to Africa in order for her to have baby and comeback!!!. Stop the nonsense and focus on stopping $12 B from going to Irak...

    Chantilly, Virginia

    July 27, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Dan Holiday

    He is Kenyan. End of discussion. The government will never tell us the truth since it would be an embarrassment to those involved. He is not an American, and I mean that in EVERY sense of the word. Please America, vote him out asap...that, or impeach him. He is the worst President in the history of the world. An embarrassment to my country. I cannot believe anyone was stupid enough to vote for him. Change? Was that what he promised? Well – he delivered. We are worse off now than before....FACT. Well guess what? You can keep the change. Anyone but Obambi in 2012...this guy is a joke and a fool, and those who voted for him need to get out.....bunch of socialist retards.

    July 27, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. beevee

    Who are these idiots that keep on harping on a baseless issue. Everyone knows that the president was born in Hawaii that is a state of the USA. He is a US citizen by birth. Get over it you morons (those of you who question the president's citizenship) and do something better with your time. Media! please don't bring this up again. Just ignore the dubters.

    July 27, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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