Obama Releases Birth Certificate, Says Nation Doesn't Have Time for 'Distraction'

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Barack Obama Birth Certificate (White House)

President Barack Obama said he decided to release his long-form birth certificate Wednesday because questions swirling around where he was born have become a "distraction" the nation doesn't have time for.

"We do not have time for this kind of silliness," Obama said Wednesday.

The certificate, released Wednesday, says Obama was born in Hawaii, which makes him eligible to hold the office of president. Obama had earlier released a standard short form, but requested copies of his original birth certificate from Hawaii officials this week in hopes of quieting the controversy.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama felt the debate over his birthplace had become a "sideshow" that was bad for the country and political debate.

So-called "birthers" opposed to Obama have kept the issue alive. Potential presidential candidate Donald Trump recently began questioning why Obama hadn't ensured the long form was released. 


Watch the speech here: 



More in:

Comments [63]

Leo from Queens.

Oldboy68: It is ALL about race - Just look at your idiotic response.. when/where was health care destroyed. What promises has he not kept?
Why is he a thug?
Why are you not a racist?

Apr. 28 2011 11:44 PM
oldboy68 from East of the Hudson

So itslabout race? Didnt 43% of white Americans vote for this totally inept, unexperienced, total politcal Chicago thug!
He's broken every promise since elected he ever made, except to destroy health care. He gets a pass though from the coolaide drinkers, even as he kills the citizens and soldiers of another country! Did you hear? 30K Libyan dead. That equals the 30k on our southern border. Guess a couple of those cruise missles and stealth bombers missed the targets or did they? By the way for 8 years all we heard was how stupid Bush was. Bush was a big disappointment and now he's gone, replaced by a bigger fool! Trump says he LOVES this country, Haven't heard that pass the O-man's lips lately! All he wants to do is turn it into a Euro-socialist nightmare! OK start with the personal destruction politics...ready....go!

Apr. 28 2011 10:58 AM
Leo from Queens

Thanks Mark Victor for extending the welcome mat!. :-)

so how do we increase the intelligence on the one third of idiots who seem to control the ideological and political discussions in this country?

are there enough laboratory mice brains we could implant on these idiots to bring up their IQs?

Apr. 28 2011 01:53 AM
Stephan from Queens NYC

The way the Donald is going on with Obama having to prove his citizenship and now his education at Harvard is just a distraction for the stupid people in America.
Does anyone in this audience think these questions would have even been asked if Obama was white?
How can anyone not call this racial (even if DT is just being himself) It goes to show you that racism is alive and kicking today in America. If they can do this to the leader of the free world, then these people can try and strip me (just another black man) of my dignity, education and carrier as they please. I guess it is true all black men in America is “born a suspect”.

Apr. 27 2011 09:35 PM

Even now, Trump goes around trumpeting his questions about Obama's grades. What is important is NOT the grades but the fact that even with whatever he earned, Harvard( a private university) chose to admit him. What is important is the fact that he graduated magna cum laude AND was selected Head of The law Review.
Trump want s Harvard to only admit sons of rich white guys. The fact is that Harvard can admit whomever they want to admit.

Apr. 27 2011 05:32 PM
Harrison Bergeron from Fair Lawn NJ

I agree with those who feel that if it has been a silly side show -- it has been in President Obama's control to stop at any time, simply by showing his birth certificate.

So why did he, (and/or his political handlers), choose to show it now? Maybe to distract us from thinking about the economy? Or Libya, or Guantanamo, or "health care", or the Fed's statement today or ???

Also: if any one of us applies for a job and one of the requirements is a BS in Engineering, we would fully expect to have to prove that before starting the job.

So the big surprise to me has been that apparently, the candicates are not required to provide the documentation before being allowed on the ballot. (I mean any candidate, not particularly Mr. Obama).

Apr. 27 2011 05:04 PM

The bottom line is that the whole Birther issue is a BIG distraction. Has President Obama been the best president ever? Certainly not. Has he made concessions and compromises? Yes. Many of us wish he would have stuck to his guns. The issue here is that the wise leader is consultative, deliberative and firm. Obama has been all of these things. And with Republicans saying "no" at every turn, its hard to get things done as fast as folks would like. Like him or don't like him, we all have to admit that he is President during a very difficult time and no decision he has made or will make will please everybody. That's what living in a democracy is all about: people expressing their differing views with the majority winning out. But that only works when we stay on target and focus on the issues at hand. When Bush was in charge it was almost treasonous to question him. Now it has become common place to say the most insulting things about our leader. Never mind that the "real" reasons for the invasion of Iraq are still unclear. Never mind that a significant reason for the large deficit is the fact that the true cost of the wars in Iraq were kept off the budget, hidden under Bush-Cheney. Never mind that a federal government shut-down was instigated by people who say they love America, but who clearly can't stand Americans. But, I digress...

Apr. 27 2011 03:57 PM
Lazare44 from NYC

Can't wait for Trump to release all documents relating to his real estate deals, his bankruptcies and casino holdings. What about his divorce, girlfriends, and models. And tax forms. Can't wait for the media at large, including Fox news to look into all of the above. Let's see how clean Mr Trump will come out.

Apr. 27 2011 01:40 PM
Suzanne from NY, NY

Attn Gary from Queens -- when I requested a hard copy of my birth certificate, it came with a description across the top "Certificate of Live Birth". I'm pretty sure that they are one and the same animals, certainly are in my state of birth and probably Hawaii as well. Certainly, the government accepted it as evidence of citizenship in issuing my passport. So I'm flummoxed as to why you'd think that this is "easier" to get than what you describe as the "real" birth certificate. All of these docs are straightforward to obtain if you're the person named; and it's one and the same thing!

Apr. 27 2011 01:33 PM
Andrew from Newark

And crazy wins again… YEAH… CRAZY WINS AGAIN…!!!

Apr. 27 2011 12:56 PM

With the revelations that the Trump has donated more to democrats than to republicans over the years, I cannot help but wonder if the "circus sideshow" is all in an attempt to help Obama.

Apr. 27 2011 12:37 PM

Don't worry, Gary.

No one could EVER insult your intelligence.

Apr. 27 2011 12:13 PM
Michell Speight from New York

Donald Trump just sealed the 2012 election for Barack Obama. He has misjudged a cultural value of all people of color with his questioning of President Obama's education. Our elders have told us that the one thing white people cannot take from you is your education. Now, Donald Trump is trying to take away President Obama's educational credentials. He has crossed the line and there is no way back for him. People of color who have not grown up with a silver spoon or have not inherited 400 million dollars know how difficult it is for people of color to achieve President Obama's educational level. We have come over a way that with tears has been watered; we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.

Donald Trump is a racist. There is no doubt in any of our minds. Donald Trump leveled the worst insult any white person can level at a person of color. He said that your education does not count. You are still stupid and unworthy of your position. We will stand up to his racism with our vote for Barack Obama. There will not be one single person of color who will not vote for Barack Obama in 2012 including Michael Steele.

Apr. 27 2011 12:02 PM
gary from queens

Dear Aneece

As I said, this issue is about the lack of transparency. White house officials refusing to testify before the Civil rights commission, to the president keeping every scrap of paper he wrote before he was a legislator under lock and key. The whole deal where there's no paper trail on this fellow. how did he get into these colleges? Even Brokaw on Charlie Rose admitted 2 yrs ago that we know little about this guy.

"In theory", what is being hid? like i mentioned on the phone in, perhaps he was registered as muslim. Many left wing parents in those days did that. Or the identity of his father. Something he may find embarrassing. This issue may finally open up the debate with respect to what the framers defined as "native born" or "natural born", regardless of Obama.

And you're wrong. he just release a long form of a certiifcate of live birth. Easier to obtain than a birth certificate. If he has no birth certificate, then he should say so and that will be the end of it for me. But to insult my intelligence by calling a duck a pig is beyond the pale.

Apr. 27 2011 12:02 PM

@Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Also, you're listening to the wrong station--try listening to Limbaugh.

Apr. 27 2011 11:53 AM

@Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Oh Please. What rock are you living under!?

Apr. 27 2011 11:52 AM
Joe Pearce from Brooklyn, NY

The answer to all the people who asked the question is that EVERY presidential candidate since at least the Second World War has produced a birth certificate, along with college records and the like. Only Mr. Obama did not (and still has not when it comes to college records). It was not racism that caused people to demand that he do so (which, shockingly, was a theory that Mr. Lehrer seems to have subscribed to), simply a desire for a leveling of the playing field. You all might do well to remember that the New York Times questioned whether or not John McCain could legally run for the Presidency as he had been born in a military zone which was not part of the then-48 contiguous states. The question is quite simple and goes directly to Mr. Obama's common sense: Why did he not make this birth certificate available immediately, long before it became an issue? There seems to be no reason other than his mistaken belief that he alone of all our recent presidential candidates did not have to play by the same set of rules laid down for everybody else. Now the question has been answered and the problem solved, but it is Mr. Obama's own fault, not Mr. Trump's or the birthers' or the Far Right's, that it came up at all. It is as simple as that. I would never dream of voting for Mr. Trump, but will still thank him for forcing our elected leader to do what all the other prospective candidates (including, let us not forget, Mrs. Clinton - and quite loudly, too) did some three years back.

Apr. 27 2011 11:44 AM
Mikeweb from Brooklyn

Now someone should ask 'The Donald' to release the legal paperwork and financials for all the times he's declared bankruptcy. Also explain how the stock for his casino empire was worthless within two years of the IPO. How, exactly, does a casino NOT make money?? Trump is a complete fraud whose only redeeming feature is his value as a point of amusement.

Apr. 27 2011 11:28 AM
Julie from Central NJ

I am appalled that it has come to this. Has any other president or candidate had to publicly show his/her birth certificate?

Apr. 27 2011 10:44 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@ Jack

While I find the way Julie expressed herself to be completely ignorant, as a mixed race individual I have to say that I don't give a s*%$ what ANYONE says or thinks. I have the RIGHT to claim both sides of my background like anyone else whose parents happen to have the same skin color. If someone asks I say I am mixed...because that is the fact. I don't care if someone finds it offensive, because it is the truth...and anyone who has a problem with my expression of the fact of my background (like anyone with lighter skin has the right to) is offensive to me!

I agree with the basic thrust of your point, just not that one statement.

Apr. 27 2011 10:43 AM
Zen Sutherland from the land of the big corps

Obama has let me down, he has bent and compromised on every issue brought before him, and now after the hyenas cry loud enough he complies with this farcical issue. What other president has jumped through hoops ?

Apr. 27 2011 10:35 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Side issue is an understatement.

I will echo what has been said earlier...if he were white, this would never have become an issue.

The whole "birther" nonsense is just the ugliest most disgusting and base expression of fear of the "other". It is a shameful, national disgrace and I would even say deeply un-American that it has become an issue at all.

Apr. 27 2011 10:35 AM
Mark Victor from Queens

Leo — See what I mean??

Ugh! After reading the birth requirement written in the Constitution, I believe that Obama would be eligible for President if he were born in Puerto Rico, Guam, or the Virgin Islands. I rather like these "exotic" places; I hope to visit them someday.

Let's turn this around on its head: What if John McCain had become President. Isn't Arizona kind of weird?? Too close to them there Mexicans? Ooo... he could have Incan or Mayan blood in him...

Leo — welcome to the Sane One-third Club.

Apr. 27 2011 10:34 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

@Julie --


For the vast majority of our history, any degree of race-mixing in your past made you a member of the minority. The majority can and would ignore you. In some cases, they could enslave you and steal the fruit of your labor. How do you explain terms like mulatto, quadroon, octaroon, etc.

Depending on my mood, I find the "half-white" argument either very naive - you don't understand your own country's history or our willingness to treat minority races as 'the other' - or just plain dumb. "Why do you call him black when he's not completely black?" In America, very few of us are completely anything.

Either way, I find it offensive.

Apr. 27 2011 10:33 AM

This is an issue because our president is black. But if this is a "real" issue then all of our esteemed politicians should produce birth certificates----yeah right!

Apr. 27 2011 10:30 AM
Gaetano Catelli from America

in 2008, the MSM *adored* then Sen Obama *precisely* because he is, in the terms of many enthusiasts, a "citizen of the world", has the un-WASPy "Hussein" as a middle name (luckily for him it wasn't, say, "Gambino"), spent 4 years of his childhood schooling in Indonesia, etc.

the Muslim world couldn't have been more enthusiastic about 'one of theirs' (from *their* point of view) being elected to the WH.

well, that sword has *two* edges. if the first edge hadn't been wielded as irrationally by the MSM as it was then, perhaps there wouldn't be as much irrational wielding of the other edge now.

i think it's the height of arrogance (and cluelessness) on the part of the elitist MSM to frame this issue as a "side show" (as the President himself just called it). and, i think the same regarding Bush43's military records, and (Bill) Clinton's apparent lack of impulse control.

whether Clinton's primary motivation was public service or narcissistic self-indulgence is a legitimate issue. whether Bush43 had the moral authority to order others to take risks he himself may have dodged is a legitimate issue. and whether President Obama is *leader* of the free world, or just a citizen of the world who happens to be President of a nation no more exceptional than "Greece" (his own example), is a legitimate issue.

ps: in answer to Brian's last question in this segment, my birth cerificate was issued by the NYC Health Dept, and indicates that I was born in Women's Hospital in Harlem (subsequently merged with St Luke's), that my parents then resided at 310 E. 38th St, Apt 8F, NYC, and that Vincent Impellitteri was then mayor.

Apr. 27 2011 10:27 AM

Gary, what, even in theory, could Obama have been hiding on this birth certificate. Now that it's out, what do you think justifies your outrage?

Apr. 27 2011 10:25 AM
dbbklyn from bklyn

the media seem to be missing their own culpability in this "issue." the point the president made about this being front page news at major news outlets at a time when we are in a recession, have high unemployment, a housing crisis, high gas prices etc etc is being ignored as they pore over a birth certificate that has already been investigated to death. it is ridiculous. and brian lehrer and his politico guest didnt help at all -- in a 3 minute segment they managed to bring up whether obama is muslim, whether he got good grades at columbia, whether he was indoctrinated by jeremiah wright. for shame, brian, for shame!!

Apr. 27 2011 10:23 AM
Edward from NJ

This might stop Donald Trump who seems to be trying to put this in his own win column.

It won't stop the real birthers. Notice, for instance, that the newly released document is titled "Certificate of Live Birth". The crazies seem to think that this is *not* synonymous with "Birth Certificate". For the truly ignorant, the mere fact that his father was not an American citizen means he wasn't a natural born citizen. No birth certificate is going to shut them up.

Apr. 27 2011 10:22 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

Why does no one in the media talk about the practical, political approach to putting the demented "birther" issue to rest? By this, I mean: If the President (any President, by the way) were holding his/her office unconstitutionally, would not the fierce political opposition see to it that he/she would be unseated? Do we really think the current Republican leadership and the conservative majority on the Supreme Court would allow anyone to continue in this office who was not constitutionally eligible?

Apr. 27 2011 10:21 AM
GARY from queens

Mr Lehrer

You unfairly cut me off in mid sentence!!!

My point was that OBAMA was the one who made this a "side show" as you put it. He could have released it 2 year ago and 2 million dollars ago in legal fees!

Americans are not racists!! They voted for Obama. What they don't like is being lied to. It's a lie to make certain representations on affidavits when you enter a state primary for example. Whatever he was trying to hide, THAT was the objection---the idea that he could get away with playing this game and the media aiding and abetting him!!!


Apr. 27 2011 10:21 AM
David from NYC

What was the age of consent in Hawaii in 1960-61?The President's mother is listed as being 18 years old on the date of his birth. His father was 25. Is it possible that President Obama's mother was under-age when he was conceived? If so, his father is potentially a child sex-offender! This could be the problem.

Apr. 27 2011 10:19 AM
Mary from CT

Had Obama been lilly white, this would never have been an issue!

Apr. 27 2011 10:18 AM
yz from chelsea

This is ridiculous for the primary reason that the law requiring the president to have been born in the United States should have been repealed in 1876 when it became wholly obsolete.

A person's ability to do their job has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with their place of birth (which, by the way, neither he nor anybody else who have ever been born had any say in!!!).

Apr. 27 2011 10:17 AM
The Truth from Becky

I am appalled that the current President of These United States has been subjected to this type of harassment.

Apr. 27 2011 10:17 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

They're hardly going to take a breath. This has already been declared a "good forgery." Remember that Clinton was declared an illegitimate president. This is what the right wing does when they don't win (or steal) an election. Remember Rev. Wright? As soon as that stopped getting traction, the right wingnuts started saying that Obama's a Muslim. I voted for Obama reluctantly, really voted against McCain/Palin, but I'm sickened by this lunatic fringe of the American public.

Apr. 27 2011 10:16 AM
Eman R from Brooklyn, NY

P.S. And if there folks who are ACTUALLY going to take Trump seriously, then its time to move to Canada or something.

And keep this discussion going? Show WNYC OUR birth certificate???? Really??

How rude and obnoxious!

Apr. 27 2011 10:15 AM
RJ` from prospect hts.

Somehow people forget that he won in 2008 despite all of this nonsense. In all the babble about a 2010 "mandate," too many have forgotten that Obama had a mandate of 52-48 % of *all* voting Americans, not just the small number who voted in the midterm election`

Apr. 27 2011 10:15 AM

Brian, Take the hint and focus on important issues! Let's find out who or what Donald Trump uses to keep his hair in place.

Apr. 27 2011 10:15 AM

Sorry, grammar. "Babies" should have been "baby's".

Apr. 27 2011 10:15 AM
The Truth from Becky

Wow that was a great answer last caller...of course Brian cut you off mid point because you hit the nail square on the head!

Apr. 27 2011 10:15 AM
Judith Shapiro from New York City

This is a chance for George W. Bush to show some real class, in response to Trump's new demand to see Obama's academic record: to come out and say that Obama's grades were certainly much better than his own.

Apr. 27 2011 10:14 AM
lisaaltomare from beacon new york

a disgraceful moment in American history...bordering on treason. whats next, dna testing?

Apr. 27 2011 10:14 AM
Julie from NYC

He's half White. Why does everyone keep saying he is Black? And, she was like 17 when she got knocked up by some african guy? Ugh. Were they married? Why did she sign Obama as her last name?

Apr. 27 2011 10:14 AM
laharris55 from Montclair, NJ

Oh, come on, Trump was a "sideshow" LONG before he became a birther. :-)

Apr. 27 2011 10:14 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Yes. With the release of the original long-form BC, Mr. Obama is drawing a very clear line.

If you still wish to cling to the hope that for some reason Obama is not the legally elected, Constitutionally-authorized President of the United States of America, then you are probably a racist. Look for the weakness in your own character rather than run down the man or the office.

Apr. 27 2011 10:13 AM
Ben from Manhattan

Brian, the ball is in your court.

Donald Trump has been all over TV saying "I have a team of investigators in Hawaii and you will not believe the things we are finding."

So the media -- which is as responsible for the birther movement as anyone -- needs to ask Trump to come forward with who his investigators are and what they have found. Please ask this question until it is answered.

Apr. 27 2011 10:13 AM
Leo from queens

Mark Victor - Cokie Roberts already had said during the primaries that people would not accept Obama because he was born in this exotic location in Hawaii and that Hawaii was somewhat different from the other 49 states

Apr. 27 2011 10:13 AM
Carnival Barker

THis is ridiculous.

As an actual carnival barker, as I have been calling for since 2009, what we really need to see is the wiener.

Apr. 27 2011 10:12 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@ Soupygirl........if he had been white, he never would have been allowed by an adoring media to avoid this for so long.

Apr. 27 2011 10:12 AM
Eman R from Brooklyn, NY

We have more important things to think about and focus our energy on. Especially since all these folks on the other side are using things like this to distract the simpletons (and a few folks with a brain) and getting away with it.
Obama isnt perfect and he's not doing everything I'd like, but THIS isnt important.
Let him do what the right keeps saying he's not doing:run the country.
But I doubt folks will let it rest.
What will they figure out next? He's really a purple-spotted tailed alien under his dark skin??

Apr. 27 2011 10:12 AM
Zach Miller from Williamsburg

I'm surprised in the past hour how much attention NPR is giving this story. Of all news sources, NPR should take our President's lead in leaving the story alone and cover more substantial, pertinent stories/issues....

Apr. 27 2011 10:12 AM
michael from manhattan

let's call this what it is: thinly-veiled racism by people who resent the fact that a black man and his family are living in the White House.

Apr. 27 2011 10:11 AM

Wait, did your guest just suggest the long form birth certificate could label a BABIES religion as "muslim". What the heck does that mean?

Apr. 27 2011 10:11 AM
Mark Victor from Queens

I'm just waitin' for someone to say that Hawaii wasn't a state in the union when Obama was born.

As I always say: One-third of Americans have it all together, one-third are idiots, and the other one-third haven't got a clue.

Said "tongue-in-cheek" of course. Sort of

Apr. 27 2011 10:11 AM
Leo from queens

I can't believe you are discussing this as such as hot issue - this is a disgrace for WNYC.

SO WHAT if the father's religion was Muslim.. Who Cares!. doesn't matter!!!

Apr. 27 2011 10:11 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

Brian, you cannot seriously be entertaining call-in about this. It is nothing more than the race/legitimacy nexus as sideshow. Turning off the radio and hoping when I come back you'll be back to actual journalism...or perhaps will have moved on to UFO sightings and Big Foot testimonials.

Apr. 27 2011 10:11 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Forget the birth certificate.

Why won't he release his SAT's, his Occidental College transcripts(2 years), his Columbia transcripts (2 years), his LSAT's and his actual law school grades.(Law Review Editor is a popularity vote at Harvard!)


Apr. 27 2011 10:10 AM
RLewis from bowery

If you think that this is going to change anything among the weirdos out there, then you clearly no nothing about disillusionment.

And Trump is already taking credit for this release. He's claiming that he is the one responisible for the release. sad.

Apr. 27 2011 10:09 AM

Well, if he was a white president this would not be part of the conversation!

Apr. 27 2011 10:09 AM

The people that keep asking for proof of President Obama's birth certificate because they are racist, plain and simple. That includes Mr. Donald Trump, who has no shame.

Apr. 27 2011 10:08 AM
sumukha ravishankar from short hills nj

Dis Obama call Donald Trump a circus side show?

Apr. 27 2011 10:07 AM
Patricia from FH

Donal Trump is an idiot. Always has been, always will be.

Apr. 27 2011 10:03 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About It's A Free Country ®

Archive of It's A Free Country articles and posts. Visit the It's A Free Country Home Page for lots more.

Supported by

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public.  Learn more at


Supported by