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WASHINGTON — President Obama says he's releasing his long-form birth certificate because the country doesn't have time for the "distraction" and "silliness" of questions being persistently raised about where he was born.
The president spoke at the White House Wednesday after taking the unexpected step of releasing the document, which supplements Hawaii's official certification of the president's birth there. Obama had released that during the campaign.
Polls show large numbers of Republicans continue to doubt Obama is a natural born citizen eligible to be president. Real estate mogul Donald Trump had seized on the issue as he weighs a GOP candidacy.
Obama said the nation will solve its problems only if it's not distracted by such issues.
The certificate says Obama was born 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 spokesman Jay Carney says Obama felt the debate over his birthplace had become a "sideshow" that was bad for the country and political debate.
White House officials have said the issue was settled long ago. But so-called "birthers" opposed to Obama have kept the issue alive. Potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently began questioning why Obama hadn't ensured the long form was released.
"The president feels this was bad for the country, that it's not healthy for our political debate," Carney said in releasing copies of the long form to reporters.
The 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, as well as 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 5pm Tuesday.
Upon landing in New Hampshire, Trump took credit for getting Obama to release his birth certificate.
"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," he said.
While White House officials avoided mentioning Trump by name, they said they released the birth certificate partially because the issue had moved from a fringe discussion and into the mainstream media.
When Republicans and Democrats were talking to media, they were asked about it, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said. "It was a constant discussion on main stream news organizations."
This program aired on April 27, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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