White House releases full Obama birth certificate

In a gesture acknowledging the disturbing effect that a false but persistent report has had on the Obama presidency, the White House yesterday free the long-form version of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, which showed that he was born in Honolulu.

In a White House appearance, a smiling Obama uttered puzzlement that some people continue to believe he is not a US citizen, a rumor he said has been fueled by “sideshows and carnival barkers.’’

Citing profitable challenges facing the nation, Obama added, “We do not have time for this silliness. We’ve got better material to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve.’’

The belief that Obama was born in another country, which the most new CBS/New York Times poll suggests is embraced by about a quarter of Americans, has been used by some traditional critics of the president as a means to question his constitutional legitimacy to inhabit the White House — and even his basic American-ness.

“The president believed the disruption over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country,’’ White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House website. “It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and off-putting from the many challenges we face as a country.’’

Most recently, it has been raised in television appearances by showman and business managerial Donald Trump, who is flirting with the prospect of running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. As recently as Tuesday, Trump — who claimed to have a team of investigators looking into the issue in Hawaii — said he had heard that the certificate was missing.

“I am really pleased, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully — hopefully — getting rid of this issue,’’ Trump said of the news that Obama had free the certificate.