Obama jokes about ‘birther’ row at Hawaii summit
HONOLULU – Hosting a major summit in his native Hawaii for the first time, President Barack Obama couldn’t resist a jab at political opponents who question his birth certificate and say he is not American.
“I want to thank our Hawaiian hosts for the great hospitality,” said Obama, attending a business forum on the eve of the main Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in his birth city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
“As many of you know, this is my birthplace,” he said. “I know that was contested for a while, but I can actually show you the hospital if you want to go down there,” he said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.
Obama in April released his detailed birth certificate in a bid to quell the controversy, which has dogged him since he was a little-known candidate in 2008 but gained traction this year as the 2012 White House race heats up.
The US Constitution specifies that presidents and vice presidents must be “natural born” citizens of the United States and conservative pundits have fanned the row to raise questions about Obama’s political legitimacy.
Obama has made a joke of it before. In May, he tried to rake in campaign cash with a “Made in the USA” campaign mug.
The white mug comes with a picture of the beaming president on the front, and a reduced rendition of his birth certificate on the back.
His certificate listed “Barack Hussein Obama II” as born on August 4, 1961 at 7:24 pm in Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological hospital in Honolulu.
Sitting down Saturday for an interview with Boeing CEO James McNerney as he kicked off APEC summit events with a business gathering, a jovial Obama said he would have to get used to wearing formal dress on the idyllic Pacific island.
“In all my years of living in Hawaii and visiting Hawaii, this is the first time that I’ve ever worn a suit,” he said. “So it feels a little odd.”
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