Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
Mere hours before President and Mrs. Obama sat down with Oprah, the White House released President Obama's original, long-form birth certificate proving that, despite conspiracy theories and rumors to the contrary, he was indeed born in the United States.
President Obama reveals what he thought when the birth certificate matter first came up two years ago
Why release the birth certificate now?
"Two weeks ago, a huge debate was initiated around where our budget needs to go," the president explains. "During the course of this major debate, where I gave a big speech and the Republicans voted on their proposal, the biggest news was this birth certificate thing."
At that point, President Obama told his team that even though it's not something the state of Hawaii usually does and, despite the fact that both Republican and Democratic officials had confirmed Hawaii as his birthplace, it was time to put in a special request for the original document to be released. Now, he hopes the country and the media can focus on more pressing issues.
"My general point is this: We are living in a very serious time, and America has huge potential and opportunity to seize the 21st century," President Obama says. "We're only going to get there, though, if we have a serious conversation about the things that matter to people—jobs and gas prices, and how do we bring down the deficit? How do we deal with all the changes going on around the world? We can't be distracted by sideshows and, as I said at my press conference, carnival barkers who are going around trying to get attention."