Obama: 'Yes in fact I was born in Hawaii'
The White House on Wednesday posted what appeared to be President Obama's original birth certificate, seeking to dispel rumors over his country of birth, and Obama addressed the nation to declare, "Yes, I was born in Hawaii" and to denounce "carnival barkers" who had distracted the nation with the birther controversy.
"We don't have time for this silliness," he said.
The release followed two days of questions at White House briefings over Obama's place of birth, an issue that has trailed him since the 2008 presidential campaign. The Constitution requires that the president be born in the United States.
"This is not and should not be an open question," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement. "When any citizen born in Hawaii requests their birth certificate, they receive exactly what the president received."
The White House scheduled a 9:45 a.m. briefing and posted his certification of live birth online, confirming his 1961 birth in Honolulu.
For his part, possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has been questioning the president's citizenship, expressed satisfaction with the White House move.
“I have just accomplished something nobody else has been able to accomplish," said Trump, who is visiting New Hampshire, the first state to hold a presidential primary.
"I am really honored to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue. Now we have to look at it: Is it real? Is it proper? What's on it? Hopefully it checks out properly."
Other Republicans have eschewed the issue. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer told CNN that the harrumphing over Obama's birthplace was leading the country down "the path of destruction," saying she fully believed the president was born in Hawaii in 1961. She recently vetoed a bill that would have required political parties to prove that candidates running for president in Arizona's presidential primary were born in the U.S. and thus eligible to be president. For his part, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has also said the president was born in the U.S.
According to a White House blog post, Obama's lawyers asked the state of Hawaii to make an exception to its rule prohibiting the release of the certificate of live birth. "They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting," according to the blog post.
White House officials told CNN the issue had become a “major distraction” for the president, now facing turmoil in the Middle East, an economy struggling to recover, and rapidly rising gas prices.
Conspiracy theories that the president was born outside the country have swirled among far-right groups, fanned by the Internet and the fact that Obama’s father was Kenyan. The theories have long been discredited; Obama released a certificate of live birth three years ago. But critics said that the live birth certificate -- and the announcement of his birth in a Honolulu newspaper -- aren’t adequate proof. Multiple groups and individuals, including Republican officials in Hawaii, have investigated Obama's birth and concluded that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii in 1961.
The president noted that while the two parties put forward their budget plans earlier this month, news reports were often dominated by the back and forth over Obama's birth, although one analysis showed only a small percentage of the "news hole" taken up by the birther issue.