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. Ryan S.

    If this is written by the "CNN Political Unit," then we need to be skeptical about future political articles that appear here on CNN. The press is supposed to be as impartial as possible, except in the case of editorials (opinion pieces written from an individual's personal perspective). This article is clearly pro-Obama. The sentence "Humor needs a punchline," was wholly unnecessary.

    September 9, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  2. KG

    He's so "Presidential". What an embarrassment.

    September 9, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  3. America

    Of course he is laughing as he has put over the biggest hoax in history!

    September 9, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  4. MS.a

    If the Pres. was actually able to pull off this silly hoax, it would prove how smart he is and how dumb the Republicans are. They are stupid for giving him that much credit. I love Obama!

    September 9, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  5. Religion

    Keep on laughing while the country goes down the drain.

    September 9, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. ShingoEX

    " "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate."

    No...just your tax forms, which also brings into question issues regarding eligibility to become POTUS. don't like it when the shoe's on the other foot, huh Mitt?

    September 9, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  7. SoArizona

    Run with it sports fans. This may very well be another "you didn;t build it" golden moment. This is a great foot in mouth trip up, a true Fruedian slip.

    September 9, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  8. callate2012

    the repub sending kids to talk that to obama wow repub are losser

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

    from the mouths of babes....

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

    Mitt Romney is unpatriotic for joking about such a vile issue – he knows he is pandering to the racists! He will pander to anyone for votes. Is this how America treats a President who is not white?

    September 9, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  11. HUH?

    Love it!

    September 9, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  12. David

    Obama 2012 – for progress in America and for America's future!

    Forward 2012

    September 9, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  13. johnquepublique

    Kid missed an opportunity. "You show me yours, and I'll show you mine!!!"

    September 9, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  14. Free thought

    I'm sure the child has a birth certificate. I can't say if the child paid 2 million in legal fees to get one though. I paid around 15.00 for mine. I guess a presidential certificate costs extra?

    September 9, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  15. alweg

    "Humor needs a punch line. And Saturday in Florida, Obama was laughing" 'cause when HE says it, it's FUNNY! When Romney says it, it's missing a punch line. In case you need CNN to tell you what's funny.

    September 9, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  16. Dale

    Mitt Romney makes a birth certificate joke he is condemned, President Obama make a similar joke and it's funny. Why?

    September 9, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  17. wowjustwow

    Will the media waste a week of news reporting on the Bc joke? No I don,t think so. But wait they did spend weeks reporting on Romney,s Bc "joke". It is even mentioned in the above piece. Shame on you!

    September 9, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    Pathetic of GOP idiotic DRAMA. The end.

    September 9, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  19. JoeH

    lol – the first released was admitted to be a forgery by his own lawyers during a "birther" trial and the other one has been show by multiple forensic examinations to be faked. Never has there been so much conclusive proof of something. He is not a citizen pure and simple. The facts are irrefutable.

    September 9, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  20. Superior informed all-knowing and most honest TRUTH KING of all the lesser-informed


    September 9, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. Marion

    What a stupid article and waste of bandwidth.

    September 9, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  22. Conspiracies R-us

    If the conservative Republicans only knew how close they are to the TRUTH.

    Barrack Obama is an illegal alien, brought here by time travelling space aliens. When they dumped him off in 1990, they had to go back in time to alter birth certificates, hundreds of attributions in the Harvard Law Review, people's memories needed to be altered, and create a back story of a human family. He was actually hatched near the star Sirius, as prophesized on Kolob.

    Any day now conservative Republicans will put the pieces together and know about the impending galactic takeover of thousands of humanoid planets. But it will be too late, and Obama will take his human skin suit off.

    September 9, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. Michael McNett

    Note: Even if born outside the US he would still be considered a Natural Born citizen. So the conspiracy theory doesn't even make sense!

    September 9, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  24. jungleboo

    He is down to earth, funny and sincere. Four more years.

    September 9, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  25. Conspiracies R-us

    "Humor needs a punch line."

    That is why conservative Republicans were created.

    September 9, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
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