Obama takes on birth controversy directly, releases certificate

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday for the first time released the long-form version of his Hawaiian birth certificate, hoping to put to rest once and for all speculation about the legitimacy of his U.S. citizenship and thus his legitimacy to serve as president.

In an extraordinary morning of political theater, the nation’s first African-American president — born August 4, 1961 at Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu to a white Kansan woman and a Kenyan father — took to the podium in the White House briefing room to prove what he thought was settled in his 2008 campaign.

"I know there’s going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out this issue will not be put to rest," Obama said.

"But I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people as well as to the press. 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’ve got big problems to solve."

The president’s move comes after tycoon and TV celebrity Donald Trump has fanned the conspiracy theory that Obama was not really American-born from fringe coverage into the mainstream media as Trump flirts with a GOP presidential bid.

Obama said as he and Republicans released competing deficit reduction plans in recent weeks, he realized coverage of the so-called birther controversy was dominating coverage. Meanwhile, a USA Today poll released this week found just 38 percent of Americans believe Obama was definitely borth in the United States.

Though Obama didn’t mention Trump by name, he railed against "sideshows" and "carnival barkers."

Obama, during the campaign, had released the short-form certificate of live birth, which Hawaii treats as the legal version of a birth certificate. State officials have confirmed the legitimacy of the document.

Getting the long-form version released by the state was more complicated. Obama and his lawyers had to write to the state to seek a waiver and release the long-form document, kept in a bound book. Obama’s personal attorney Judith Corley flew to Hawaii to bring back two certified copies herself, returning yesterday evening with the documents in hand, aides said.