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. Computer DNA Sequenced By Rebel Hackers

    I'm a egg with DNA by Rebel Hackers. I was inserted unknowingly into a surrogate mother. Is my birth certificate valid?

    September 9, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  2. rocinante

    Is Obama making the "hang loose" hand sign? Maybe the first time in recorded history that a President did that?

    September 9, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  3. davis

    Mr President got grate sense of humor.All the republican thinks Obama and all the peoplefrom Hawaii was born out side of united state even they have birth certificate.

    September 9, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  4. Captain Obvious

    Romney is a punch line.

    September 9, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  5. Tommy Brock

    Please shut your mouth! You kept me in traffic today for an hour! How can you claim not to be a socialist when ALL of your influences have been socialists?? Some of us aren't stupid Mr. President! I was stupid enough to vote for you once...I won't be making that mistake again!! I hear that Kenya needs a leader?? You wouldn't even do well with that train wreck!!

    September 9, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  6. wendles

    Why doesn't someone look at the 1960 and 1970 census records.....I'm sure this will clarify this non issue

    September 9, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  7. LY

    Is this an editorial?

    September 9, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  8. Mike

    I'm sure all the people who hissed and moaned about Romney joking about it will think Obama's joke was nothing short of brilliant.

    September 9, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  9. ClaudiaL

    Pres. Obama has humor & self-confidence enough to joke about his rival's attacks on him. You just gotta love this man, our President Obama.

    September 9, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  10. aladino

    good answer

    September 9, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  11. richajam

    "Humor needs a punch line. .....And Saturday in Florida, Obama was laughing. "
    He seems to be the punchline of a bad joke. He was probably laughing to draw attention away from his fouls of past and the all of the exectuive decisions he has put into law that even his own Dem supporters do not even know about.
    -Now your going to say I am a Rep... and you'll be so wrong. Welcome to " Change'. That Change is Debt and loss of Citizen rights. The good thing to remember is, before you vote this year, think about you payng a bill that is not yours to begin with. Think about a government official( and his family) who will not be on the same helath plan as everyother citizen. True Leaders lead by example. The only example I am left with is the sinking feelingin my stomach and the embarrassment saying, yes, I voted for him in 08. But Romeny is no better- but now I have to choose from the lesser of the 2 evils in Nov..... will thre be a 3rd canidate we can trust less than these 2?( Mickey Mouse?)

    September 9, 2012 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  12. Ronald J Gidlund

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a 50 year top law enforcement official! Look at the facts, evidence, and truths! Oh, I forgot, the media tells us what to believe!

    September 9, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  13. Razorking

    Am I first?

    September 9, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  14. Jeff

    Was he drunk?

    September 9, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  15. Jimoh Idowu


    September 9, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  16. Georgie

    Honestly, ...President Obama is great!

    September 9, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  17. Synthetically Thought...

    Yes Mitt – you always need a punch line or lead-in when attempting humor. Otherwise, it's a vain attempt at being personable which doesn't work well for you either.

    September 9, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  18. Synthetically Thought...

    Yes Mitt, a punch line is the essence of a good joke. Any attempt at appearing personable or "common" when trying to connect with the middle class doesn't behoove you either.

    September 9, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  19. melvin

    Well I think what ever peoples choice hope will be right one for us all God bless America.

    September 9, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  20. jp

    The fact that a republican even argued the issue or continue to argue it is a shame and marks why they don't have my vote. Argue the real issues not this petty mess then I might vote for your party.

    September 9, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  21. Anonymous

    lol hahahah obama is the boss! he knows how to pull a joke XD

    September 9, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  22. robert

    lol obama is the boss when it comes to know how to pull off a good joke. hince why all the republicans hate him XD

    September 9, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  23. meat

    Typical Obama: Do as I say, not as I do.

    September 9, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  24. dave

    figures....Romney makes a joke he gets reviled for it... Obama makes a similar joke he gets praised...regardless that he is at the center of it if he had such issues with romney doing it he shouldnt be doing it either..

    September 9, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  25. Donkey Party

    This will drive the right-wingers guano loco!

    September 9, 2012 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
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