September 8th, 2012
09:52 PM ET
10 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.

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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. clare

    president obama and vice president biden did a wonderful job of employment. many people are working off of the books and these people are not counted as getting jobs. if they were, the president would be able to show true figures to prove thousandsmore are working. many getting unemployment are working off the books i bet and is making the president look bad. also, retired people are working off the books. think about it. this has been going on for years .

    September 9, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  2. USA

    MITTENS You have My VOTE : )

    September 9, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  3. warsteiner

    Hawaii is the place to get papers,This small island state is run by natives who can and will give you papers for money. All you need is a death.At the hospital or in the street. Then you can have the rest with whatever name you want. Once you get an Birth cert,and SS number,They will supply a drivers licence then nothing is fake

    September 9, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  4. warsteiner

    Hawaii is the place to get papers,This small island state is run by natives who can and will give you papers for money. All you need is a death.At the hospital or in the street. Then you can have the rest with whatever name you want. Once you get an Birth cert,and SS number,They will supply a drivers licence then nothing is fake you can change your name at the towns main office

    September 9, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  5. blair

    I liked the picture on nydailynews of him reaching across in front of the child grabbing for his glass of beer. I find it so refreshing to know that we have a president so down to earth that he feels it is alright to make a 7 year old child the butt of his sarcastic remark. Lets all play the limbo.

    September 9, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  6. Leslie

    How inappropriate to involve a child. What's next 'what color are both of your parents?"??????

    September 9, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  7. Kay

    It still stuns me that, of all the very real things the Republicans could go after Obama for, they still pursue the stupid birth certificate issue. If there were any legitimate concerns about Obama's status, they would have been addressed many years ago. Certainly Hilary Clinton would have brought it up when she was facing Obama in 2008.

    It's been settled and they need to drop it, and Obama needs to stop talking about it, too. Don't even joke about it because that just brings the whole mess up again. There are much more pressing, REAL issues that need to be discussed.

    September 9, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  8. honey badger

    And that's what the haters absolutely cannot stand. President Obama maintains grace under fire. Cool on the outside, and extremely smart on the inside! Hate on haters!

    September 9, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  9. GI Joe

    That guy is the funniest - and it's real. Not just a sick jokester like Mitt cuttin hair or leading blind into door to get hurt.

    September 9, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  10. Nate

    Romneys' joke was funny. So was Obama's. Lighten up CNN! You are supposed to at least appear unbiased!

    September 9, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  11. Carl

    I don't care if he is from mars. He stinks aas a President.q

    September 9, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  12. Robert

    This reminds me of the law that says if a child is born in the USA that they are American. I have personally seen women from other countries come here just to deliver in the USA. So their child is American. Then they and other family members can be sponsored by the child. This has to stop. The child should take the nationality of the mother.
    Before you Obama supporters go off, I realize his mother was American.

    September 9, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  13. Ron L- Mich

    The fact that a significant number of Republicans still question whether or not President Obama was born in Hawaii shows just how much contempt they have for him, It's pretty sad..................

    September 9, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  14. Karl Marx

    Obama and you liberal pieces of crap are going to get what's coming to you on election day.

    September 9, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  15. William

    So now a child is used to throw a cheap political shot.

    September 9, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  16. peter

    Shoot Donald Trump and all those a holes out there perpetuating this lie! Where was Trumps hair born, during a hurricane on Jupiter>

    September 9, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  17. Frank

    Yeah he has a birth certificate. And if you compared Obama's and that kids birth certificate you would see Obama's is a "FORGERY!"

    September 9, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  18. Adeshina Mamowora

    Happy new baby.God bless AMERICA. And myself.

    September 9, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  19. Donna

    Is this a news report or an editorial? Just wondering, because the last couple of lines would indicate a very clear bias.

    I can't help but notice that Obama seems to be going out of his way to quite literally portray himself as 'the kind of guy you could have a beer with'. This is at least the third time over the past few weeks where he's either ordering beer, grabbing a beer or brewing beer. I suppose 'he's so cool!' is as good a campaign strategy as we can expect from a man who has failed on every conceivable level in terms of leadership.

    September 9, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  20. map3820

    I guess it's OK for Obama to laugh about it but not Romney. A little hypocritical. But that's how the demogods are.

    September 9, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  21. matt

    Just remember, John McCain, George Romney, and Barry Goldwater were definitely NOT born in the US. But they were worthy of Republican support for President...

    September 9, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  22. map3820

    I guess it's ok for Obama to joke about it, but not for Romney. A little hypocritical, but that's the way the demogods are.

    September 9, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  23. J.Smith

    The arrogance of BO and the media. Then they mention birth certificates it is a joke and it is funny. When republicans or tea party members mention birth certificate is crazy, racist, and hateful. What a bunch of hypocrites! Remember in Nov, Shellack Part II.

    September 9, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  24. KEVIN2121961

    That was profoundly inappropriate to say to a child or anyone outside of his political peers. This most likely will come back to haunt him. Touph being a high profile figure. I feel fortunate that I can say stupid things on a daily basis

    September 9, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  25. Vumba

    Wow! Now that's news...Good Lord.

    September 9, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
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