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. gd

    we should change the long as u have green card.

    September 9, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  2. Gwen

    Well, that he can joke about it says a lot about what he's made of. And I think he is doing exactly the right thing with Syria. I hope that we learned our lessons with Iraq and Afghanistan where after we tried to help the people, they now say we are the invaders. We should stay out of Syria.

    September 9, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  3. DUQU

    Yeah, maybe it's time to put an American back in the White House.

    Obama has mentioned "Allah" and "the Holy Quran" more than any president in American history!
    He's like an everyday preacher for Islam.

    And to the Jewish voters, just remember that high ranking Obama advisor John Brennan called Jerusalem "Al Quds", and another official Samantha Power even suggested sending a "mammoth protection force" for the Palestinians AGAINST Israel!
    And Obama made her a TOP White House official and member of his National Security team!

    September 9, 2012 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  4. Reddog9500

    I think that horse is definitely dead.

    September 9, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  5. tsoho

    This just confirms that the birth certificate issue has passed into that part of our culture where it has become a punchline. It is a punchline when Obama makes a joke about it, and it was a punchline when Romney made a joke about it.

    September 9, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  6. Robert

    That's one difference between the young boy and Obama: the young boy has an actual Hawaiian birth certificate, Obama doesn't.

    September 9, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  7. michael a mccoy

    I like most in our great country are looking four government act now very pressing issues namely jobs and health care we know that all major compinies in the us use the cost of health care in all contracts totake mpney from the workers here and they consaitly comrare us to canada and england whose companies are free of the great burden paying for health care they are able to offer higher pay to workers and they make higher profits labor facters in about 3 to 5 percent of operating cost while insurance cost top off at 20 to 35 percent the savings to workers and compinies are tremendous the fact is if we are to keep pace with the rest of the world a change in health care prices to our indusries is not a choice but a must if we are keep up all of the major governments of the world.

    September 9, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  8. Isaac lynch

    this is all going to play out like in that book called the bible this is some crazy stuff man. But May god him self look after all of us this is gods reall name i am that i am his sons name is the day star chris jesus sorry for my spelling

    September 9, 2012 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  9. larry5

    His birth certificate is from Hawaii and his SSN is from Connecticut and he changed his name. His BC is not universally accepted, no one can explain his SSN and why did he change his name? Does Obama have a driver's license or has he always had a limo and a chauffeur? When he passed the bar did he declare that his now living under an assumed name? How did he make it into the Senate? Is this all okay because he's a Democrat?

    September 9, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  10. Wayne A Kent

    Hi, the big question nobody out there is asking is, whether anyone would be asking about the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate if he was not colored. We are now in 2012. If the people using ancient value practices are the future of the United States, then the U.S is going in the wrong direction. As anyone who is versed in political history will tell you. The past was only kind to a selected few.

    September 9, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  11. MSL58

    Paranoia + Stupidity = Birther

    September 9, 2012 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  12. nokoolaidcowboy

    Queue Sean Hannity and the Birthers getting their knickers in a bunch! lol

    September 9, 2012 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  13. bob

    Obama will be crying the 1st Wed of Nov.

    September 9, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |

    I would ask obammy if he has a moving truck ready cause he is no longer needed, we need a real President

    September 9, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  15. Homer

    You'd think he'd be smart enough to keep his mouth shut. Now the whole topic will be back in the news. What an idiot!

    September 9, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  16. CWT

    Were a classroom teacher to ask a seven year old kid if he had a birth certificate, it would be big trouble. Making funny at the expense of a seven year old is not cool. The kid was white. Would Obama have asked a brown skinned kid the same question?

    September 9, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  17. DUQU

    CNN, your censorship tactics are weak.

    What are you afraid of?

    Last week CNN left a comment of mine "awaiting moderation" for over 24 hours. I guess it was a busy day.
    Except for all other posts...

    September 9, 2012 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  18. Mike


    September 9, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  19. brown pride

    Romney sounds dumber by the minute

    September 9, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  20. Jeeper

    I guess obama wants to see whay a real one liiks like.

    September 9, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  21. Anti Corrupt Democrats

    Where is your birth certificate, oops I forgot they don,t give them out in the jungles of Africa!

    September 9, 2012 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  22. RD

    The President fueled this "Birther" issue by not simply releasing his birth certificate prior to the '08 election and more than 2 years after; now he mocks it. I agree it's not required by the rules of the election committee, but neither are 10 years of tax records.

    September 9, 2012 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  23. Benedict Obama

    Still interesting

    September 9, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  24. clare

    Per romney, "no one eveer askesd for his birthcertificate," well, mayby we should and we still need his tax forms that was asked for. any one that hides tax forms does not appear to be honest.

    September 9, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  25. bassman

    Now I am confused. Mitt Romney is not allowed to joke about Pres.Obama's birth cerificate, but Mr. Obama is?

    September 9, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
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