(CNN) – President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he has watched the birther story "with bemusement."
The president said he has "been puzzled" at the staying power of the story. "This thing just keeps on going."
"Normally I would not comment on something like this," Obama said. But the country has pressing fiscal and other priorities, Obama said, and the so-called "birther" story has been a distraction. He made his remarks shortly after his office released his long-form birth certificate.
"We have enormous challenges" to deal with, Obama said. The country will have "important debates" and needs to make critical decisions in the months ahead, but "we're not going to be able to do it if we're distracted."
The president criticized what he characterized as a recent focus on "side shows" and "carnival barkers."
"We do not have time for this kind of silliness," he said.