April 11th, 2014
04:59 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama on 'birther' controversy: 'That was crazy'

New York (CNN) - President Barack Obama grew nostalgic and paused with laughter Friday while remembering the noisy controversy over his birth certificate a few years ago.

Speaking in New York at an event hosted by Al Sharpton's National Action Network, Obama was blasting a recent push by some states for stricter voting laws, many of which require various forms of photo identification.

Proponents of the laws argue the provisions help prevent fraud at the ballot box, but critics say they disproportionately affect minority voters, a large swath of whom don't have state-issued forms of ID.

"Folks may learn that without a document like a passport or a birth certificate, they can't register," Obama said. "Just because you don't have the money to travel abroad doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to vote here at home."

He stopped to add a clarification.

"And just to be clear, I know where my birth certificate is. But a lot of people don't," he said, as the crowd erupted in laughter. "A lot of people don't."

Feeding off the audience, the President joked that he thinks his birth certificate is "still up on a website somewhere."

He paused again, laughing to himself.

"You remember that? That was crazy," he said. "That was some crazy stuff. I hadn't thought about that in a while."

To quash a small but vocal group of Americans who contested Obama's place of birth, he released a certificate of live birth during his 2008 presidential campaign. In 2011, he 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.

Obama's remarks weren't the first time he joked about the issue. He's made quips about his birth certificate over the years.

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

Obama jabs 'birthers' with Irish certificate

CNN's Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Yet those same people are trying to put a guy that was definitely NOT born on American soil in the WH.

    The hypocrisy from the right is astounding!!

    April 11, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    It WAS crazy. And hose people STILL ARE. And it never would have had the legs it did if it weren't for the folks in the MSM being such low-rent wh-res...every single one of them.

    April 11, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    Good for you Mr.President. We need to call these conspiracy theory folks out into the light.
    2014 – remember those birth certificate folks?
    2024 – remember those IRS/Benghazi/voter-fraud folks?
    2034 – turn in your history hologram viewers to the attempted Anti-Science Christian Theocracy take-over.

    April 11, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Everybody knows Obama was born in Benghazi , they sealed the birth certificate and deleted the cover up .

    April 11, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    -you ask Trump, he still says so,

    April 11, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. tom l

    Look at that picture of the racist who has deported more illegals than anyone. Why does he hate immigrants so much?

    April 11, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. smith

    @Silence-Who are you calling out? Uh, Katrina, 9/11, 2000 election and so on. Give me a break..smh.

    April 11, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. rs

    Indeed, to those who say the GOP isn't racist and it's all made up by the Democrats, I present you: Birthers!

    Funny how the GOP still hasn't put those lunatics under a rock somewhere.

    April 11, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Come on whackos I'm waiting to hear how the Communist, socialist Muslim has stolen their country!!! Don't disappoint me please!!!

    April 11, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    The Birthers are indicative of what is wrong with a Republican Party that panders to extremists. Even former President Ronald Reagan would not pass today's conservative purist test.

    April 11, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Sarah/Dumfries,VA

    If Potus was white would they have done all that?they trying to falsely accuse him in any way they can but that will not help them win any election,GOD is blessing Potus in everyway

    April 11, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Silence DoGood

    @Silence-Who are you calling out? Uh, Katrina, 9/11, 2000 election and so on. Give me a break..smh.
    Those are real things. The missing birth certificate was fantasy. Some people draw a distinction.

    April 11, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Exactly Sniffitt! But they are quiet as church mice about Cruz....

    April 11, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    If we are going to do a trip down memory lane on the birthers, lets not forget the best part... President Obama called a Press Conference to announce the release of the long form birth certificate all the whacko birds were screaming about led by chief whacko bird trump. The Press Conference was called during a block of prime time in the evening (though it is doubtful this HAD to be done at that particular time- no reason to). The time chosen to pre-empt the network schedule was coincidentally during the final minutes of one of the final shows of the Apprentice... mr all poweful rich 'always get my way' trump got schooled the Prez.
    Oh, Yeah....


    April 11, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. YoonYoungJo

    I remember that. LoL. Some people so paranoid about having a black president were willing to make any excuse and come up with anything to stop his presidency. And if I recall desperate times called for desperate measures. Even after O produced his birth certificates they didn't believe it. I think it was less then half a year ago Donald Trump was again harping on the birth certificate issue. Someone needs to send Trump a text message and let him know, the US had a black president and the country is doing just fine. It's not about race, or birth heritage or origin. It's about heart and soul. Color of skin has nothing to do with it.

    April 11, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Tom l

    To those that misrepresent the "take our country back" line, why was it ok when Hillary Clinton said it over and over? Stop it. Stop allowing our "mis"representatives to further divide us

    April 11, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. God MAY NOT be a Liberal, but He IS a Democrat

    White Americans will be divided into two categories in the history books in the future . . . those that called out their "birther" friends and family members and those that DID NOT. History will laugh at, ridicule, and EMBARRASS those that even remotely supported birtherism. And birtherism is a proxy for unfair and unAmerican policies on immigration. History will raise up the white, black, browm, yellow kalidescope that reject birtherism and all of it`s distant relatives.

    April 11, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. North

    Well hear it goes when illegals and unemployed, welfare mamas, medicare daddy's, Big Liberal money who can hide there money overseas can vote and win and get there way over the people who work and have to support you. Then put me in the wacko group, I'm just saying.

    April 11, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. North

    I cant say I'm a proud Republican but would rather stand on this side than the rotten filth of Carter, Clinton,Obama. I am a minority, first generation immigrant and can easily see through the propaganda the left puts out but what can you expect when America has failed to educate it's children.

    April 11, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. North

    What a joke even the poorest illegal alien can produce a Birth certificate long form. ooooh. Lets look at some facts. What shape did this man leave his city and state? Let me hear it wackos!!! Please He is not responsible right!!?? When is the ownership gonna come done people? No accountability. So sad, this was a great country until you all thought that capitalism was a bad word.

    April 11, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. rla

    So why the no show of the birth cettificate nor any of his school records.. The future will shqw he has puled the wool over the eyes of the American public for selfish gain

    April 11, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Charles Hawkins

    Angry and ignorant is a very dangerous mix. Republican/conservative leaders are smart enough to know that a significant segment of their supporters are led to the polls by conspiracies from the ugly side of American politics.

    April 11, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. Charles Hawkins

    ...and oh yeah, what happened to the Sharia laws that Obama planned to implement?

    April 11, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    I rarely agree with him, but he's absolutely right on this.

    April 11, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. allessior

    The birthers are right. The thing posted on the internet was a forgery, that has been proven.

    April 11, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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