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. orlop

    He may be able to laugh about this but I have a creepy feeling that we will find out one day that the joke is on us.

    September 9, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  2. HelpMeUnderstand

    For the life of me I can't understand how people can question his eligability as a natural born U.S. citizen; he obviously was born to a mother who was one. But another thing I don't understand is why they submitted the long form birth certificate is made up of numerous layers of images. The justification of it being an OCR byproduct could make sense, but why superfluously perform a step that would introduce more doubt when you are a acquiescing to prove that there should be no doubt?

    September 9, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  3. DC Observer

    Same ole same ole nonsense by Obama - Obama would absolutely LOVE for the birther issue to come out so he does not have to talk about his record of failures -– debt up; gas prices up; unemployment up; food stamps up; college grads unable to find work and leave home- up; ideas to solve the problem – NONE. Obama has a birth certificate; he just doesn't have a clue about how to fix the economy or lead the government - other than to tax more people to help fuel his spending addiction.

    For decades the Dems have stayed in power by raiding the Treasury and giving $$ to his base - and this is a formula for disaster. It is fitting he had Greek columns on the stage when he won the election becasue he is friving this country into the same fiscal crisis as Greece. When people start seeing social security cuts and the retired public union people see their retirement benefits cut 30%, maybe then folks will wake up to the slick talking disaster that is Obama

    September 9, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  4. Paul Cooper

    Oh great, now Obama is a birther too.

    September 9, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  5. unblvble

    very funny. Enough of jokes, work on the economy!

    September 9, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  6. Curtis

    That this is even still being discussed is a humiliating travesty. Sometimes one can only shake their heads.

    September 9, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  7. Curtis


    September 9, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  8. sandra

    Hey Romney – nobody asked to see your birth certificte for you or your wife – that's because you are both white!!

    September 9, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  9. PaulC

    With the republican obsession for people born in Hawaii it may be necessary to carry a notarized , birth certificate at all time.... "Show your papers".
    By the way, has anyone actually seen Romney's birth certificate and school transcript?

    September 9, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  10. WellHello

    Didn't he play Born In America after his speech at the DNC? 😛

    September 9, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  11. Sagebrush Shorty

    And the child said."Yes I have a birth certificate but I won't show it to you for at least three years, and don't even ask me about my kindergarten grades".

    September 9, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  12. peter

    Only Trump and idiot Faux News people continue to use this argument, people and politicians with any decency and consideration have accepted the truth long ago, Obama was born in Hawaii, get over it bigots

    September 9, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  13. IceMan

    Why not give up, racist birthers? Nothing can now change the fact that a black person has been president. It's not like the Olympics where you can take away his gold medal.
    Oh, and that Romney jab... Not a joke. A reflection of his character.

    September 9, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  14. Justin

    Pretty funny. It would be easy to make the same joke were I in that situation.

    September 9, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  15. Russ in Md.

    Hahahaha. Isn’t it funny when Obama can make a joke about all the birther stuff? Gov. Romney makes a joke about it and you would think he just desecrated the office of the president.

    September 9, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  16. byronswetland

    "And Saturday in Florida, Obama was laughing." ... At the American People; but it's No Joke what he has done to hurt our country and it's people. Very, very sad situation.

    September 9, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  17. byronswetland

    "And Saturday in Florida, Obama was laughing." – What you have done to this country and it's people is NO laughing matter! – Very, very sad; so sad and disgusting I could VOMIT!! – Worse President from ANY country at ANY time in history; just a common baby killing wolf in sheep's clothing!

    September 9, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  18. Norma Vessels

    Sometimes, a sense of humor is all we have to get us through the rough times, the lies bouncing about like so many dust balls, the accusations, the hints of discord. Good going, President Obama .. keep up the good work.

    September 9, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  19. alan zufall

    Why should we worried about the birth place, when we to here trueth about god in the country.

    September 9, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  20. John

    "Humor needs a punch line.

    And Saturday in Florida, Obama was laughing. "

    Really CNN... You guys officially back obama yet... Its nice Obama can laugh while the rest of the country cries after 4 wasted years... Just wondering, why did obama put in his book that he was born in Kenya?? Pandering... Thats all he is good at....

    September 9, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  21. Martin

    If one of your parents is a U.S. citizen, then you are born a U.S. citizen. No matter where in the world you were born. So for Obama not to be a U.S. citizen, he not only would have not to have been born in the U.S., his mother would have not to be his mother. Stupid people...

    September 9, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  22. Jim

    They can't ask that in Arizona, but he can ask that in Hawaii.

    September 9, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  23. 5875hrs

    Why isnt the caucasiaan no hair guy not smiling? You would think he would get the joke and be cracking all kinds of smiles!

    September 9, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  24. Bill

    Story written by an obvious Obamanite

    September 9, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  25. N&W 1000

    This proves Obama is the one who stokes up this nonsense and keeps it going for his own gain.

    September 9, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
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