September 8th, 2012
09:52 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama to young Hawaiian: 'You have a birth certificate?'

(CNN) - What does President Barack Obama ask when he meets another native of Hawaii?

About their birth certificate.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

While campaigning in Florida on Saturday, the president stopped in at Gator Dockside, a Florida sports bar that boasts 19 big-screen televisions and 15 chicken-wing sauces. After grabbing a beer, shaking hands, and leading a chorus in singing “Happy Birthday,” Obama met someone from his home state.

"My young son," a woman said to the president, pointing across the table and conferring further with Obama.

"He's a Hawaiian!" Obama exclaimed, looking up to face Andre Wupperman, who now lives in Orlando and will turn 7 next week, according to pool reporters.

"Do you know how to do a shaka?" he asked, making the Hawaiian gesture with his thumb and pinky finger.

"You were born in Hawaii?" he asked the child next, then pointed at him. "Do you have a birth certificate?"

Behind Obama's grin and laughs from those nearby lie the conspiracy theories of some conservative Republicans, who maintain that Obama was not born in the United States, and is therefore not eligible to be president.

He released a certification of live birth during the 2008 campaign, and in the spring of 2011, released his long-form birth certificate. Both show that he was born in a Hawaii hospital on August 4, 1961. Contemporaneously published newspaper announcements also noted the birth in the Aloha State. Only "natural born" citizens of the United States are eligible to be president.

Among the highest-profile "birthers," as they are known, are Donald Trump and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio, the top law enforcement officer in Maricopa County, Arizona, earlier this year held a press conference to announce findings of an investigation he led into documents.

Trump, who has endorsed and fund-raised for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, threw a wrench into the Republican candidate's messaging this summer with tweets and comments, including on CNN's "The Situation Room," skeptical of Obama's birthplace.

And Romney himself raised the issue two weeks ago. At a rally in his home state of Michigan, Romney made what he later claimed was a joke about his own birth certificate.

"Ann was born at Henry Ford hospital, I was born at Harper hospital," he said. "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

In an interview later that day, Romney said, "This was fun about us and coming home, and humor - you know, we've got to have a little humor in the campaign as well."

Humor needs a punch line.

And Saturday in Florida, Obama was laughing.


Filed under: 2012 • Donald Trump • Florida • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (384 Responses)
  1. 1twinsfan

    And I bet this young man's BC reads very much like the President's. He needs to consider that if he decides to run for POTUS in 50 years.

    September 8, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. Goose66

    Where's the outrage over this joke that CNN and posters hurled at Romney over his joke?

    September 8, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  3. Dan B

    Obama won't be laughing November 7

    September 8, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  4. Zwei Stein

    Mr. Romney, hasn't the State of Arizona asked you for your birth certificate? I think they have a law that requires it. And after they see it, Sheriff Joe will send his investigator volunteers to Michigan to determine its validity...RIGHT???

    September 8, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    These questions are so insulting. Wouldn't this have come up 4 years ago? It did and wasn't proven to be true. The president was born in the 50th state. Let it go.

    September 8, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  6. retired army

    I know you won't jump on it but what the President did was shallow and beneath the Office he holds. When MItt Romney crack a joke about his birth place you jumped on him for being a birther and racist. Will the shoe also fits now the Presidents foot – If you have the gut s slam him for his unkindly joke.

    September 8, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I'm sure Obama knows who to go to get one faked up if the kid needs it–with the CIA, the DIA, and the FBI all reporting to him, you know he's got ways to get dinkum paper.

    September 8, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  8. Who Cares???

    Obama has this winning campaign topic: his birth certificate & birthers, with submissive pro-Obama journalists that are eager to be first at a dig into Romney no matter what the topic. Are dogs and Seamus up next again???

    September 8, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  9. HenryMiller

    I'm sure Obama can arrange a birth certificate if the kids one–after all, with the CIA and the FBI working for him, you know he can get dinkum paper.

    September 8, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  10. TPF

    The child probably has a real one, not a forged one!

    September 8, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  11. Matt

    Wow, what a hypocrite. Lambast Romney for a joke, then turn around and do the same thing. I for one, am not suprised by it.

    September 8, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. b

    How ironic that you needed ID to get into the DNC?

    September 8, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Matt

    Oh, should I ' first'? Don't know the etiquette. My first 'first' lol.

    September 8, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  14. DocHollywood

    President Obama has more class than all of the republicans currently holding office or seeking office. While most whine (particularly Mitt) when something is said of them, Mr. Obama just laught it off. You can see the difference in leadership qualities in the two men. I just cannot see Mr. Romney being the president. He has neither the temperment nor the talent.

    September 8, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  15. xfiler93

    what a laugh...literally. jeez

    September 8, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  16. shannon

    That was appropriate to say to a seven year old......I'm sure he knew was he was talking about.

    September 8, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  17. BJ

    Poor child, the butt of the president's terrible joke.

    September 8, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. Mike in SA

    Only an idiot would think that what Romney said was in any way anything other than a joke or was a commentary on Obama's citizenship. Oh yeah...this is CNN.

    September 8, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

    September 8, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  20. AmericanWaxwing

    Romney joked about it. Obama joked about it. We can joke about it, friends - it's OK.

    September 8, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

    September 8, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. OldieTampaBay

    OBAMA 2012!

    September 8, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  23. Ric

    Good for him

    September 8, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  24. keeth

    Hawaii is a foreign country, you betcha.

    September 8, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  25. rbockman

    What class, using a 6 year old to to portray his smartass humor

    September 8, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16