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. Bahrack

    He could have been born in the middle of the heartland, wherever. He doesn't deserve to be President because he's bad at it.

    September 9, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  2. Jack

    Really? Theirs no basis of this request. Let me know when he runs into a Kenyan native while campaigning and asks for his birth certificate.

    September 9, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  3. tcaros

    Republicans are a dumb brand.

    September 9, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  4. Name

    Iam happy that president obama gets the last laugh over his birth certificate he deserves to laugh it has been a tough four years while he has been in office so president obama you deserves the last laugh at the republicans.

    September 9, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Mw1979

    Obama has no class whatsoever.

    September 9, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  6. Ryan

    I am so happy Obama has actually grown a pair of balls.

    September 9, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. notebags

    and is it the long form?

    September 9, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  8. Go USA

    If I meet Obama, I'll ask: Where are the JOBS you promised?

    September 9, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. mike.s

    Funny thing is, going back to the 2008 elections, it was John McCain who wasn't born in the US. He was born in the Panama canal zone. The law making persons born there US citizens wasn't passed until a year after his birth.

    September 9, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. Bob Roberts

    He's been laughing at America for the last four years......

    September 9, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. Reality99

    Must be why Obama is the only president in US history to hide his college records. He's terrified that people will find out what he's hiding.

    September 9, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. Morriswv

    You guys let your bias tendencies slip into the open on this one...

    September 9, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. David

    No CNN, the whole birther thing was dreamed up by Hillary, it is not the conspiracy theory of some conservative Republicans. Give the real credit where it is due.

    September 9, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. Name

    Great job president obama laugh at the republicans all the way to another four more years to the white house

    September 9, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  15. Chuck Jones

    Donald Trump is the most stupidest American alive. It's a joke how y'all accuse Obama of not being American. But hey, he will be re elected for a second term and it will shut up all yuall racist fools.

    September 9, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. Donald Duck

    The failure in the white house needs to stay away from the beer and the wacky weed. He makes himself looks stupider than he really is.

    September 9, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  17. Anonymous

    I guess Romney thinks that because he's an older white male that his citizenship shouldn't be questioned. How arrogant! I can't stand this guy.

    September 9, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  18. steveiweevie

    You do realize that the administration has admitted it was a fake right? And used that platform in court as a defense to get on the Arizona ballot, claiming it was not valid, and therefor had no relevancy to the case. You knew that, right? I mean...being a good journalist and all.

    September 9, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  19. Greg V

    Our own worst enemy.

    We are a melting pot of different beliefs, different views and from different social economical backgrounds. We do have common goals of living a fruitful life and leaving this country in better shape that we found it. I understand the benefits of healthy, adult conversations, I understand passion but I do not understand anger and ignorance or people being lead by 30 seconds worth of sound bites.

    You should not reject an Idea, a Law or a Bill that you have not fully read and understood just because someone said it was bad. You should not speak against a word that you can’t even define. You should not use another country as an example unless you have been there and talked to their citizens.

    I fear a Democrat that cannot state a few good things about a Republican.
    I fear a Republican that cannot state a few good things about a Democrat.

    Do we really want to live in a gridlock society? Do we really want to be like our congress? Can we agree to disagree on a few topics and move to resolve issues that are truly important for our future? The people in the confines of their home should decide basic civil liberties. We are the home of the free and the land of the brave, politicians should understand that The People are Brave and Free and should not impose anyone’s view on them. In a free society do we need laws that regulate civil liberties? Can the people be trusted to make decisions for themselves without fear?

    Let’s stop making stupid ignorant comments about subjects that we have not studied, read and understood. We are not experts on a subject because we have been to a political rally or watched a super pack commercial. Do we realize that both parties spend enough money on the elections that the government will spend on important legislation?

    I believe that both candidates are success stories; you do not get to this level by being an underachiever. I believe that both candidates have some good ideas but I also believe that they both lose themselves by trying to appeal the extremes for a few votes. I believe in the People of this country and it is sad to see family members, friends and co-workers forgetting who they are for a second just so they can shove their rude rebuttal to their family members, friends and co-workers. Can we talk and realize that after a conversation we both need to go back to our corners and educate ourselves a little more. We are our own worst enemy, we do not hold our leaders and political parties accountable when they lie or exaggerate on topics. We should look at our own political affiliation and express disappointment when we are lied to or mislead. Before we can go out there and fight we need to have our house in order.


    September 9, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  20. rbonilla

    what an idiot...i'll bet he wishes he had one.....( a real one ) ....

    September 9, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Good cover up.

    September 9, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  22. Barbara

    Maybe what we should be asking is who is Barry Soetoro? Why did he change his name. What is he hiding. Why did he have to "retire" his law license? There is a lot about this man we don't know. He's hiding a lot. He's not who he says he is, or who we think he is.

    September 9, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  23. Barbara

    Maybe what we should be asking is who is Barry Soetoro? Why did he change his name. What is he hiding. Why did he have to "retire" his law license? There is a lot about this man we don't know. He's hiding a lot. He's not who he says he is, or who we think he is.

    September 9, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  24. Ray E. (Georgia)

    General Patton saw ox carts on the Battle Field. The end was near for the Naxis. Jesus looked over at one of his companions on the coss and suddenly realised he was all wrong. Obama asks if the young lad has a birth certificate. Obama now realises he is wrong. All he can do now is make jokes. It is over.

    September 9, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  25. steveiweevie

    *New Jersey

    September 9, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
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