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President Obama releases birth certificate, decries 'silliness'

WASHINGTON (AP) - Responding to critics' relentless claims,
President Barack Obama on Wednesday produced a detailed Hawaii
birth certificate in an extraordinary attempt to bury the issue of
where he was born and confirm his legitimacy to hold office. He
declared, "We do not have time for this kind of silliness."
By going on national TV from the White House, Obama portrayed
himself as a voice of reason amid a loud, lingering debate on his
birth status. Though his personal attention to the issue elevated
it as never before, Obama said to Republican detractors and the
media, it is time to move on to bigger issues.
Citing huge budget decisions in Washington, Obama said, "I am
confident that the American people and America's political leaders
can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We
always have. But we're not going to be able to do it if we are
Obama spoke shortly after the White House released a copy of the
long form of his birth certificate, which contains more extensive
data than a version released earlier.
The certificate says Obama was born to an American mother and
Kenyan father, in Hawaii, which makes him eligible to hold the
office of president. Obama released a standard short form before he
was elected in 2008 but requested copies of his original birth
certificate from Hawaii officials this week in hopes of quieting
the lingering controversy.
White House officials have said the issue was settled long ago.
But so-called "birthers" opposed to Obama have kept it alive.
Potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently
began questioning why Obama hadn't ensured the long form was
From New Hampshire, Trump took credit for getting Obama to act.
"He should have done it a long time ago. I am really honored to
play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this
issue," Trump said.
Polls show large numbers of Republicans have continued to doubt
Obama is a natural born citizen eligible to be president. Trump,
the bombastic real estate mogul, has seized on the issue as he
weighs a GOP candidacy.
While Obama and White House officials avoided mentioning Trump
by name, officials said they released the birth certificate
partially because the issue had moved beyond fringe discussion, and
Obama criticized a media culture that had not let the story go.
"This issue has been going on for two, two and a half years
now. I think it started during the campaign," Obama said. "I have
watched with bemusement, I've been puzzled at the degree at which
this thing just kept on going."
"We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get
distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers," the president said.
He did not take any questions and did not say why the document
had not been released earlier.
Many Republican leaders have sought to distance themselves from
the "birther" theory as a discredited notion not worthy of
national public debate.
In a statement after Obama spoke, Republican National Committee
Chairman Reince Priebus called the issue a distraction - and yet
blamed Obama for playing campaign politics by addressing it.
"The president ought to spend his time getting serious about
repairing our economy," Priebus said. "Unfortunately his campaign
politics and talk about birth certificates is distracting him from
our number one priority - our economy."
The newly released certificate is signed by the delivery doctor,
Obama's mother and the local registrar. His mother, then 18, signed
her name (Stanley) Ann Dunham Obama.
The form says Barack Hussein Obama II was born at 7:24 p.m. on
Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital,
within the city limits of Honolulu.
There's no mention of religion. It says his father, Barack
Hussein Obama, age 25, was African and born in Kenya and his mother
was Caucasian and born in Wichita, Kan. Obama's mother and the
doctor signed the certificate on Aug. 7 and 8.
Hawaii's registrar certified the new photocopy of the document
provided to the White House on April 25, 2011.
The White House also released a letter from the president on
April 22 requesting two certified copies of his original
certificate of live birth. Also released was a letter from Loretta
Fuddy, Hawaii's director of health, approving the request.
The president's personal counsel, Judith Corley, traveled to
Hawaii to pick up the documents and carried them back to Washington
on a plane. The documents arrived at the White House around 5 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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