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. Vampnet

    Mitt wasnt born. he was hatched

    September 9, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Andagain

    Set up?

    September 9, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Mark

    Obama, the liar just wanted to steal the kids certficate so he could alter it. Look, the man is not an American in many ways, birth certificate aside. He is a soclialist and an angry black man who only represents a fraction of Americans. His policies are horrible and ill-defined. We need to get him out of office and elect Mitt Romney.

    September 9, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. tyronne wilson

    What an odd thing to say to a young man. Very weird President.

    September 9, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. Michael

    Disgusting that you should call someone that questions citizenship a "Birther" or a "Conspiracy Theorist". This is the law, and there is no room for flexibility in the qualification to be president. It is quite right to ensure that anyone running for president has met those qualifications. Shall we say it's "Conspiracy Theory" that there's no God because someone took it out of their political platform ?

    September 9, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. David

    Leave it to CNN to type up a full page report on an Obama one-liner

    September 9, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. reelstuff10

    Correction slash retraction, the author is in error by referring to a political party in connection with the birth certificate controversy which is a very narrow percentage of voters, as well as the left which are also a very narrow percentage of over all voters, to make a generic statement like this writer has done is like saying all blonds are dumb, unless of course the writer is actually a blond I suspect that his or her writing skills should be improved before being allowed outside.

    September 9, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. ctguy123

    Back to this nonsense again? Come on CNN, let's just talk about jobs and the economy please. If there were still journalist, this would be called "Yellow journalism" Please stop and stick to the real issues, the american people deserve it.

    September 9, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. dh47

    The kids response should have been, " yes, but mine is real".!!!!!!

    September 9, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. reelstuff10

    The writer has written an erroneous statement by stating that a political party has a generic belief the writer shows a certain amount of bias and ignorance, no serious writer would ever say such a thing it would be like saying all blonds are dumb. The truth is that a very small percentage of people still believe that there is any truth to the birth certificate story, its not even worth mentioning, but the idea that a political party subscribes to this story is not only ignorant but crazy.

    Its a shame that journalists no longer write with fact in mind but instead they write with emotional ignorance.

    Shame on you for allowing this to become a part of your website.

    September 9, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. Anonymous

    It's a shame he can't or won't produce a real one himself.

    September 9, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |

    I have seen numerous people give the symbol of the sign. That shows how defensive this "leader" really is. He still has not produced a legitimate birth certificate, and it is a moot point now.

    September 9, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. Karan

    Gotta love Barack for taking shots at some of these Republicans.

    September 9, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Evan W

    If you want to be considered a formidable and unbiased source of news, how about taqke a crack at reporting on the facts not your bias twist on how funny and witty Obama is and how Romney lacks humor. I believe it is time for CNN to grow up.

    September 9, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Tom

    It's a shame BHO can't or won't produce a real one himself....

    September 9, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. peacecj

    Now he finds it hard to reason with adults, so he has started joking with children!

    September 9, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  17. charlie

    Mr. President. You should be above that. Stop talking divisively. No matter what your opponents do, keep your character.

    September 9, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. ER

    US media has some of the most pathetic reporting on the face of the planet. You people should all be taken out and lynched for your reckless reporting, which leaves normal US citizens impaired and dangerously uninformed.

    Obama is the worst president ever and you cowards are too afraid to admit it (or too stupid to recognize it?).

    He "saved the economy".. because he approved a bailout, written by groups of people, for him, that anyone else in his position would have, Republican or Democrat. That bailout will be the death of the US economy, but again, any puppet would have done the same. What's beneficial for the .3%, who own a large share our economy/wealth, is the law of the land.

    He saved 11 million jobs when he (think tanks who write our acts/laws/executive orders) bailed out the insolvent and monopolized auto industry. You know who else bankrolls their monopolized industries? China. We also need to deduct at least a million of those US jobs because Obama just gave them to illegal immigrants with his latest phase of "his" dream act. He really loves this country, so much he'd rather give it to strangers while putting legal citizens out in the streets. Taking into account those who have stopped looking for work, are only working part time while they need full time work, we have a real unemployment rate of 15-20%. Absolutely pathetic.

    He brought our troops home! ...from Iraq.... and then he contracts out (using our tax dollars) to companies like Academi (formerly Blackwater) to have them head up security in Iraq for the next few decades. Oh, but he'll eventually bring all of our troops home.. right? How can you do that while you're beating war drums regarding Iran and Syria? Give me a break. Foreign interests dictate our foreign policy, and our foreign policy is disgusting. Obama is doing well though, since he first got into office he's been able to kill a number of civilians in Yemen and Pakistan (who we have not declared war on) with drones on a weekly basis.. his drone murder tally is actually substantially higher than Bush's! He does so without losing any American lives! What a hero.

    He passed the Fair Pay Act, as soon as he got into office... yet all wages are down (but equally for men and women!) considerably since he took office.

    Anyways, I thought I'd help out the clueless Republicans with some real talking points. Either way, with Romney or Obama, the status quo isn't going anywhere. Thank you CNN for your tireless efforts, writing pointless fluff articles and ignoring the irreparable damage our foreign policies create both at home and abroad.

    September 9, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Ralph

    Funny how no one mentions that Mitt Romney's father ran for president and was born in Mexico! He was born a US citizen and the wording of "natural born" citizen has been interpreted to mean a US citizen at time of birth.

    Since Obama was born in the US, he is a natural born citizen, and since his mother was a US citizen, he meets the criteria on two counts.

    September 9, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. Heidi

    I'm glad the president is able to turn the blatantly racist attack into a joke. The truly sad part of this are the political, business and officers of the law men and women who continue to attack the president in such a stupid manner. Get over it already.

    September 9, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. John

    Can we stop with the liberal lean at the end of the article. Come on! I just want to read news.

    September 9, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Monika Rosario

    Well if Obama did not born in USA ,,, Iam more lucky than him Iborn inPR and live in USA FOR 58 years but the people of usa elect him as they president .Kno s them eliminate him or haved Back

    September 9, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. castaway

    I noticed the fed is getting ready to pump in more stim dollars into the economy for 15th time and more US soldiers are being killed over seas but this is news? Come on puppet media, do some unbias reporting for once.

    September 9, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Obama has lied about everything he said he would do in his first term–why would anyone believe him now -insane

    September 9, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. geentwelve

    let's set aside the humor shall we Mr. Romney. were are the tax records? I'll show mine if you'll show yours? Bottom line is that until he does Mr. Romney is a fraud a pure coward and can not be trusted as an honest person

    September 9, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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