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. Mr.Franklin

    Did the kid ask if he had university transcripts?

    September 9, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  2. clint

    Funny Mr. President – but just another paranoia item the Trump Teabaggers will use as further "proof" of their conspiracy-crap theory.

    September 9, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  3. RandyKC

    Mitt Romney has no sense of humor, but that never stops him from telling a joke! You've gotta love that about him. We all should have pity on the humor-challenged. Donate a chuckle to the humorless today.

    September 9, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  4. DJESQ

    God, I hope he's a natural born citizen ...

    ... damn ... I hope so ...

    September 9, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  5. jpowers

    Little kid should have said " Do you" ?

    September 9, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  6. Sunlight99

    Yep, Obama was laughing since all the broohaha over the birth certificate kept people from demanding he release his school records which may show him as a foreign exchange student gaming the system.

    September 9, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  7. Obozmoron

    Frankly, I hope he is re-elected - when the economy and the healthcare system collapse, the democrat party will fold. Health Insurance Premiums are skyrocketing because people are dropping out due to rate increases, those staying in programs have to pick up the cost, and the system will collapse when everyone pays the $150 penalty instead of the $2,500+++ quarterly premiums. All those freebees have to be paid for and MONEY DOESN'T GROW ON TREES.

    September 9, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  8. dina

    The humor in this election is Romney. Enough.

    September 9, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  9. Sadie

    president ain't nothing but a divider.

    September 9, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  10. Johan S

    LOL, what's the story here? Seriously, I don't get it. The president isn't allowed to joke?

    September 9, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  11. Glad he'll be gone

    I am so impressed with the Prez's intelligence. Way to go bum hole.

    September 9, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  12. truthseeker

    So why did Obama say in his Harvard Law School auto-biography that he was "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and America?" I guess he is confident enough with his deception of the American people that he can joke about it.

    September 9, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  13. Berenlce FARMER

    Am I being too realistic? Vote and shut up.

    September 9, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  14. bill

    I have never seen seen such petty, vitriolic, spiteful, nasty and disengenuous rhetoric, as spewed out by the Romney camp, and i'm not even American. How you people can sit back and honestly believe, that trying to destroy someones reputation and position, through downright lies, innuendo, and the fabrication of where fault lies, beggars belief! $3 million on 15 ads to try and persuade swing voters to confine what has been achieved so far to the dumpster, and then to disparage The President in terms fit only for the gutter, is a disgrace!Not only that, but also having the bloody cheek to treat the inhabitants of those swing vote states, like imbeciles, as if they wouldn't know who to vote for in the final analysis. Hey USA! It's a fact, that you will get the Government that you deserve whichever way you vote, make sure you are electing an honest man, who is going to do his best despite the opposition pouncing on every perceived error of judgement.Well, of course they will recognize failure, as they were responsible for some of the biggest failures in history! Finally mark my words, Rep. promises of 12 million jobs and um..i believe there are other policies, oh yes, killing Obamacare and Gay rights, and generally dragging you back into the 18th century, must not be allowed to happen, for if you do not learn from the Republican's disastrous history, you will be bound to repeat it! Good Luck from a Brit in Canada!

    September 9, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  15. Corey

    I wish they would stop mentioning that racist sheriff in Arizona who should have been fired a long time ago. I kind of wish Trump would go away too but he has been so very effective at making him and his fellow Republicans look like fools...

    September 9, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  16. Freddie

    Barack Obama's Kenya birth certificate released:

    The State of Hawaii DOES ISSUE birth certificates to foreign-born babies given certain conditions. If the mother claims to have lived in Hawaii within 6 months of a birth on foreign soil, Hawaii will issue a birth certificate for the foreign-born baby.

    September 9, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  17. Levi

    Yes, Obama has a better sense of humor than Romney.

    September 9, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  18. mine

    we know that the rules r different; black, white, yellow; gay, lesbian, trans....Just like betting $10, 000., please... he's clueless!

    September 9, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  19. andrew

    In other words, stick it up your a$$ Romney, Trump and all the haters on the riight.

    September 9, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  20. Love it!

    I wish he was Canadian!

    September 9, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  21. Purush

    Got the certificate son !!! Send it to Donald Trump. He specialises in scrutnising Birth certificates now.

    September 9, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  22. Freddie

    ^^^ False alarm on the specific Kenya certificate. Snopes already covered it.

    However the assertion about Hawaii issuing birth certificates to foreign born babies appears to be true.

    September 9, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  23. overlord26

    So Romney makes a "Evil hate filled and birther guided remark"
    Obama is" just the funniest goof you ever met"
    This isnt news , this is BIAS

    September 9, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  24. Emma in Baltimore


    September 9, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  25. debbie

    I do not know what i am doing what is blog

    September 9, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
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