Barack Obama releases birth certificate in extraordinary ‘birther’ intervention

President Barack Obama has made an extraordinary intervention to silence “birther” conspiracy theorists, releasing a copy of his original birth certificate which shows definitively that he was born in Hawaii.

Barack Obama's birth certificate

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Barack Obama’s birth certificate
By Nick Allen, and Jon Swaine 7:02PM BST 27 Apr 2011

Mr Obama condemned the long running row over his place of birth as “silliness” and a “sideshow,” and said the United States had more serious “monumental issues” to deal with such as the national debt, education and petrol prices.

He described those who have peddled the myth that he was not born in the US as “carnival barkers.” Mr Obama did not identify those opponents by name but appeared to be referring to Donald Trump, the would-be Republican presidential candidate and property tycoon.

Mr Trump and the so-called “birthers” had suggested Mr Obama was born in his father’s native Kenya. That would make him ineligible to serve as the US Constitution specifies presidents must be “natural born” citizens.

Showing the prominence the issue had gained Mr Obama addressed the nation from a podium at the White House, with television networks breaking into their regular schedules to broadcast his remarks.

He said: “Yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4, 1961, in Kapiolani Hospital. Over the last two-and-a-half years I have watched with bemusement, I have been puzzled, to the degree to which this thing just kept growing.

“I know that there is going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what I put out, this issue will not be put to rest. But I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people.

“We do not have time for this kind of silliness we’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve. And I’m confident we can solve them but we’re going to have to focus on them, not on this.”

Mr Trump immediately took credit for the release of the birth ceritifate, and even suggested he wanted to see it before accepting it was genuine.

Speaking in New Hampshire, where one of the key 2012 presidential primary races takes place, he said: “I want to look at it, but I hope it’s true so we can get on to much more important matters. He should have done it a long time ago. I am really honoured to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue.”

Other Republicans criticised Mr Obama for raising the issue in the first place. Mitt Romney, a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, said; “What President Obama should really be releasing is a jobs plan.”

Mr Obama faced some criticism for having taken so long to release the certificate, allowing the conspiracy theory to take hold. Mr Trump’s repeated recent comments had brought a fringe conspiracy theory into the mainstream.

It was regularly being debated on US television networks and threatened to become a major focus of the 2012 campaign. A recent poll found 47 per cent of Republicans believed Mr Obama was born outside the US.

The White House had been reluctant to engage with the “birthers” but eventually decided to call Mr Trump’s bluff after the issue started to overshadow America’s budget problems.

The origin of the conspiracy theory goes back to 2004 when false rumours about Mr Obama’s background surfaced in Illinois, where he was a state senator.

Later, an anonymous email circulated by supporters of Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008, suggested he had been born in Kenya.

Before he was elected President Mr Obama released a computer print out “short form” birth certificate, which is the standard form released by the state of Hawaii.

The director of the Hawaii health department stated she had seen the full certificate, which is kept in a vault. Birth records in two local newspapers from the time were also found.

However, a growing band of critics suggested the full “long form” certificate must contain information Mr Obama wanted to hide.

That certificate, which has now been released, contains some additional information including that the president was born at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynaecological Hospital in Honolulu.

It shows Barack Hussein Obama II was born at 7.24pm on Aug 4, 1961 and is signed by the delivery doctor, his mother and the local registrar.

His mother, then 18, signed her name Ann Dunham Obama of 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu.

The certificate shows his father Barack Hussein Obama, 25, was African and born in Kenya and his mother was Caucasian and born in Wichita, Kansas. There is no mention of religion.

The White House also released a letter faxed to the Hawaii Department of Health by the president, on April 22, 2011, formally requesting two certified copies of the original “long form” birth certificate containing two pages.

The president dispatched his personal lawyer, Judith Corley, to Hawaii to pick up the documents and carry them back to Washington by plane.


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