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. bspurloc

    mit tens is so out of tou ch he does not know how to deliver humor....
    but that is how most people are born with a gold spo on in their mouth and surr oun ded by yes men

    September 8, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. nona

    .....and I hope Obama gets to retire to his 'home state of Hawaii' in November of the 57....according to him!

    September 8, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. Tk

    Yep. Exactly how a president should act, like a two year old. Congrats, you win the loser award.

    September 8, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Humor needs a punch line -classic!

    September 8, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  5. Josh

    Politicians often make these passive-aggressive jabs at each other (e.g. Romney's "no one asked to see *MY* birth certificate"). Politicians, please stop being pansies. If you've got something to say, say it. It was a crappy joke.

    September 8, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  6. Dave

    Understandably, Barack wanted to buy it from the kid. 'No way" said the kid," l MAY WANT TO RUN FOR OFFICE SOME DAY".

    September 8, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. Vicki

    Isn't that bullying? Shame shame, Mr. President!

    September 8, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  8. Benedict Obama


    September 8, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  9. ted

    Obama is a great guy, who can talk with anyone and have a laugh. He has always had my vote.

    September 8, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  10. aaron

    So Obama can joke about it, but Romney can't? Is this the moral of the story?

    September 8, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. EM

    Another totally inaccurate and biased article, CNN – way to go! Not that we can expect anything less from you, but could you at least try to pretend that you are actual journalists producing articles and NOT advertisements for the Obama campaign? Everyone knows full well that Romney's joke was just that – a joke. He said it laughing, the crowd laughed. It was hilarious and amusing and intended to be. Please try to remember that your articles are not opinion pieces and that you have to at least pretend to be reporters – you know, impartial, not in Obama's pocket, etc. That is actually supposed to be your job and all..sorry to have to point that out, but you have so much trouble remembering!

    September 8, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. PBinNJ

    Mitt Romney was not born in the United States. Unless I see his birth certificate, a newspaper article announcing his birth and other evidence, I have no reason to believe he was born here, Where is the evidence of Mitt's American birth? If he was born here, why does he keep his money offshore? Does he need cash for when he returns to wherever he was really born? Is that why he can't release hos tax returns?

    September 8, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. Jeb

    The Honolulu newspaper which announced the President's birth, as well as the hospital & the doctor & nurses who attended the birth, as well as the Republican Governor & the Republican Clerk of Records who both certified his birth certificate back during the '08 campaign would all have to be in on the conspiracy! Whew.... that's a lot of bull to believe in, BirtherBums.

    September 8, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  14. OregonTom

    The Shocker?

    September 8, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. EnoughAlready

    No one ever asked mitt for his birth certificate for the same reason they won't be asking him for his green card in Arizona.

    September 8, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  16. ohma

    Isn't Rommney mexican?

    September 8, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  17. James

    Took Obama 3 years to release his birth certificate and got a court order to have his school records sealed. Romney has sometime to release his tax returns.

    September 9, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  18. Diane Harris

    As a person with a degree in Journalism, I find this disgusting if this is meant to be an objective, factual report rather than an opinion piece. Even if the writer is too ignorant to know the difference, their editor should. Let's eliminate the last two sentences please.

    September 9, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  19. AndrewsAFB

    That's my president.

    September 9, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  20. Oldgreystud

    Black folks can call each other the "N" word all day long, and nobody even notices. A white man calls a black man the "N" word, and al hell breaks loose. He looses his job, he will loose is sponsors, he will be suspended from school, and will be charged with some kind of hate crime. This is the same kind of situation. Obama can laugh and make lite of it all, but when some one else talks about it, he gets all bent out of shape over it.

    September 9, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  21. Erik

    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."

    Exactly, maybe the independents and Democrats are just not as stupid or lame-brained as the 'birthers' in your party Mitt! There are much larger issues to be concerned with, plus why wasn't this brought up BEFORE Obama was running for office back in 2008?

    I think turnabout is fair play. OK Mitt, show us your tax returns and all is forgiven. We want the long forms too, not some amended short form stuff. You can joke about birth certificates, you can handle the jabs and questions about your taxes, right? RIGHT?

    September 9, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  22. svann

    Obama to republicans: "Now go away or I will taunt you a 2nd time"

    September 9, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  23. Dennis Madden

    This President is the most untalented person we have had in GOV. What the heck is he doing hanging out in all the little bar and burger place in the fist place and who the heck cares about his phony way of bringing up the blither thing again. We know he is lying about where he was born and someone will prove it soon. Would be nice if he would spend some time trying to straighten out the mess he has put us in. So cheap acting.....

    September 9, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  24. r kidd

    So if obama makes a joke about a birth certificate it's funny, but if Romney makes a joke about a birth certificate, it's racist..

    September 9, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  25. Dick Olson

    Did you know that in the 2008 Presidential election that one of the candidates was not a NATURAL BORN UNITED STATES CITIZEN but a naturalized at birth citizen due to being born to two American citizens (one of which was active duty military) in a foriegn nation. That man at birth was both a naturalized U.S. and a Natural Born Panamanian Citizen. The man is not our current President "that" all these uninformed and uninformables are ranting about, He is the man that lost the election. Have any of you just once heard them question the Birth Certificate of this NON-NATURAL BORN CITIZEN? No? Could it be that it really is not an issue to them, in fact all it is is DOG WHISTLE for "he was born the wrong color." A dog is a dog and birth-er is dog whistle for just plain racist.

    September 9, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
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