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. dfg


    September 9, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  2. will

    This is the place we were born and sound like a d**n idiot when you say it like that. You raise animals, you rear children. I would not vote for you because of the alone.......not to mention the underwear stuff.....nutcases.

    September 9, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  3. DougieOh

    Governor Romney makes birther joke? Racist. President Obama makes birther joke? Hilarious. Got it. Good to know.

    September 9, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  4. Roger

    The requirement to be president of the USA is natural born citizen, which does not only mean being born in the USA. Obama's mother was a US Citizen. No matter where Obama was born he would have been a natural born citizen and thus eligible to be POTUS. Donald Trump, that mad hatter, Orly Taitz and all those 'hang 'em high' kinda voters out in the back of beyond really don't know very much about they country they love.

    September 9, 2012 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  5. Curren$y would be Proud

    Jet Life.

    September 9, 2012 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  6. Brian in TX

    I am so proud of this President. His patient and pragmatic approach to policy making. His unflappable demeanor. His ability to take something like the birth-er thing and turn it into a postiive for him. He has far more patience than I. Just think about it. He was elected to bridge the bipartisan gap and he tried so hard during his first few months in office. However Congressional republicans wouldn't have it. If it would have been me, after the first couple of meeting when I knew that they weren't going to compromise I would have told them to take their tea party *&)_#$ and go &^%& themselves. I'll do it on my own with the rest of my party. I do fault him for not doing that but I understand his vision of a post partisan Washington. You have my vote MR. President! 4 more years!

    September 9, 2012 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  7. Aidan

    I believe you must be intelligent to have a good sense of humor. Not all smart people have a good sense of humor, but all dumb have an awful sense of humor. It looks like Mitt doesn't have one at all, probably because he can't experience emotions.

    September 9, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  8. M. E.


    September 9, 2012 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  9. joseywails

    So he is allowed to ask the question and joke about it?

    Point being is he didn't spend many of his developmental years in the CONUS....mostly in Indonesia and Hawaii. Not that its a bad thing but it shaped his perceptions of the US from abroad.

    September 9, 2012 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  10. Hawaiian

    obama is a disgrace to hawaii. he has no aloha in him. he is so insecure he pits one group against another

    September 9, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  11. Sean D

    One Beer and he's a comedian.

    September 9, 2012 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  12. christmunkonda

    what this is news let talk about issue

    September 9, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  13. Becky

    Romney/Ryan 2012!

    September 9, 2012 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  14. over the hill

    that's funny. Glad he has a sense of humor about the crap he was put through. Then again, Maybe the kid was a republican, and turn about is fair play.

    September 9, 2012 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  15. mommazona

    I live in Arizona and Sheriff Arpaio is a narcissistic dwit who wasted thousand of dollars in his quest to prove Obama wasn't born in the USA all the while neglecting to investigate hundreds of child abuse and neglect cases. What a putz.

    September 9, 2012 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  16. chris t

    the birthers are funny. I met one of those birthers before and he was dead serious about his accusations about the birth certificate thing. He was actually serious. Man, I didn't think they were that serious about it and I didn't think the right wingers were that looney tunes but I guess 8 years of Bush has made them this extreme. Pray for our country.

    September 9, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  17. Griff.

    "As is blatently obviouse, CNN. You hate the truth, but November will rub it in when he get beaten!"

    September 9, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  18. anon

    lmao, the DNC convention went $15,000,000 over budget. Imagine that, a government event that went over budget. Good game Obama.

    September 9, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  19. Dianne deal

    I don't know why we in society as near as close judgement day is, why we won't we leave PRESIDENT OBAMA alone!!

    September 9, 2012 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  20. Marry

    President Obama: brilliant, classy, smart, capable, and funny guy!

    September 9, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  21. mb72463

    must be a slow news day ........

    September 9, 2012 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  22. Dianne deal

    We are living in the last days, all we to no, pray that GOD knows best, leave OBAMA alone!!

    September 9, 2012 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  23. Imminent

    It's the right of citizens to question a politician's validity when running for any office. I'll admit that a lot of what we've seen is awfully sketchy yet Obama has a lot of other politicians investing a lot of time and money to squash questions. Every politician is laying on a pile of skeletons, so to speak.

    September 9, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  24. Less than 100 days

    "Obama was laughing"... He'll be laughing out of the other side of his mouth come November.

    September 9, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  25. BOZO

    Obama: Thanks for your courtesy reminder, but every smart/ normal parent in US alway appliy for hisher birth certificate right in the hospital.

    September 9, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
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