By Jonathan Weisman
President Barack Obama took to the White House press podium moments ago to denounce “sideshow and carnival barkers“ who claim he wasn’t born in the U.S.
- President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about the controversy over his birth certificate, Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Earlier this morning, the White House released his long-form birth certificate showing he was born in the Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“I have watched with bemusement. I have been puzzled at the degree to which thing just kept on going,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday morning, showing frustration at the amount of attention the long-settled issue of his birth place continues to attract. He said the nation would not solve the serious issue is faces if if continues to be “distracted by side show and carnival barkers.”
“We do not have time for this silliness. We have better stuff to do,” he said in a brief meeting with reporters at the White House.
Real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump, who had been pressing the issue of Mr. Obama’s birth, greeted the news with a mixture of gloating and skepticism. Speaking to the press in Portsmouth, N.H., he said experts will have to assess the authenticity of the document before he is satisfied that the president is a native-born U.S. citizen.
At the same time, he claimed credit for the release.
“I’m very proud that I was able to bring it to this point,” Mr. Trump said. “I am really honored and I am really proud that I was able to do something that no one else was able to do.”
The birth certificate, labeled a certificate of live birth, is not terribly different from the short-form certificate of live birth released by the Obama campaign when the issue first came up. It does identify the hospital where the president was born on Aug. 4, 1961, the street address of his parents, Barack Hussein Obama of Kenya and Stanley Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kan., with signatures from an attendant and local registrar.
“The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country. It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country,” wrote White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer. “Therefore, the President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate.”
The release is not likely to silence critics who have tried to marginalize or delegitimize Mr. Obama. Mr. Trump on Wednesday continued a new line of argument he started earlier in the week, questioning how the president got into Columbia University and Harvard University Law School after supposedly being a “very poor student” at Occidental College, which he attended for two years.
Now, Mr. Trump is goading the president to release his college transcripts, which the president declined to do during the campaign.