September 8th, 2012
09:52 PM ET
11 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. sultana

    oh poor obma just leave him alone . he soooo nice

    September 9, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. sultana


    September 9, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Pinkflam

    It really doesn't matter. Let's say you want to be President and the people ask you to show you're a natural born citizen. Well, if you have enough money, you can always have one forged. The people are so dumb they'll take anything and ignore the people who will detect your forgery.

    September 9, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. tom

    compelling story...really, top of the line stuff CNN

    September 9, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. George

    He can joke about this because he got away with it!

    September 9, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Pinkflam

    My comment is awaiting moderation? Why?

    September 9, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Well...

    You know, if you are up for a high level job in the gov't requiring a security clearance... They do a full FBI background check, including taking a peek at your birth certificate...

    September 9, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. Bill

    If the degree of their ignorance wasn't so dangerous, the only thing conservatives would be good for would be as a punchline. Or a punching bag. Either/or.

    September 9, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. scranton

    Why is this a news story?

    September 9, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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