In an attempt to erase lingering doubts over the authenticity of his citizenship, President Obama released the long-form of his birth certificate Wednesday.
The certificate released by the White House says that Obama was born in Hawaii, which makes him eligible to hold the office of president.
The president had previously released a standard short form, but requested copies of his original certificate from The Aloha State this week.
Ever since Obama was elected in 2008, his birthplace and his eligibility to hold the highest office in the land has been questioned.
Speaking before a roomful of reporters Wednesday, the president says the country has more important issues to deal with. He told Republican detractors and the media that it is time to move on to bigger issues.
“We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We have better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problem to solve, and I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them, not on this,” Obama said in a televised address from The White House. The president did not take questions from reporters.
The issue surrounding the legitimacy of the president’s birth certificate picked up new steam after potential presidential candidate Donald Trump started raising questions about Obama’s place of birth.
“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.
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.
Former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin congratulated Trump for forcing the president to address the issue.
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.”
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