UPDATED 04/27/11 11:06 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Before President Barack Obama arrived in Chicago Wednesday for a taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show, he hoped to put to rest a long-simmering debate about his U.S. citizenship–releasing his birth certificate that shows he was indeed born in Hawaii.
Obama took the unusual step on Wednesday morning, because the country doesn’t have time for the “distraction” and “silliness” of questions being persistently raised about where he was born.
“We are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers,” the president said Wednesday.
The White House released the so-called “long-form” version of his Hawaii birth certificate. During his presidential campaign Obama had released a different certificate–called a “Certification Of Live Birth”–that showed his birth in Hawaii.
The long form version shows more detail, including that he was born Kapiolani Maternity And Gynecological Hospital on Aug. 4, 1961. It also includes his mother’s signature and the attending physician’s signature.
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.
On Wednesday, Trump took credit for forcing the president’s hand.
And those who believe that Obama is not a U.S. citizen will be sure to closely examine the document. Within hours of the release, the Smoking Gun listed several likely targets for examination, including why the document wasn’t certified until Aug. 8, four days after Obama’s birth.
Obama left Washington after holding a short news conference on the issue to travel to Chicago to tape a segment for the Oprah Winfrey Show. That segment is scheduled to run next month as the talk show queen wraps up her long-running show at Harpo Studios on the Near West Side.
The president addressed the issue during the taping.
“America has huge potential and opportunity to seize the 21st century,” Obama said. “We’re only gonna 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?
“And we can’t be distracted by sideshows and … carnival barkers who are going around trying to get attention instead of actually solving the problems.”
Air Force One landed at O’Hare International Airport just after 11 a.m. Wednesday morning.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports as President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama prepared to arrive in Chicago, audience members for the Oprah Show were reacting to the birth certificate issue.
“It was kind of ridiculous that it was a question anyway,” said Alice Antoniotti of Michigan.
“I think he just did it to quiet people down; it was a distraction, and the White House figured they may as well just get rid of the distraction,” Stan Robbin of Buffalo Grove.
“It’s sad that he had to do it, but now he’s proven himself,” another woman said.
But not everyone eager to see the president thought addressing the birth certificate issue was a waste of Obama’s time.
“I am glad that he came up with something on paper that he can show everybody, because it was definitely a big controversy, and a lot of people are concerned,” said Joelle Adell of Michigan. “I was as well.”
Will the release of President Obama’s birth certificate end the debate over his U.S. citizenship? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.