Obama asks Hawaiian-born boy if he has a birth certificate

ORLANDO, Florida Sun Sep 9, 2012 6:07am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama smiles at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) 18th annual gala dinner in Washington May 8, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. President Barack Obama smiles at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) 18th annual gala dinner in Washington May 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - President Barack Obama made a rare, light-hearted reference to the controversy over his birth certificate on Saturday at a restaurant in Florida where he met a young boy who, like the president, was born in Hawaii.

Obama released a long-form copy of his birth certificate last year in an effort to quell false but persistent speculation that he was born abroad, which would have made him constitutionally ineligible to be president.

During a stop for beer and some politicking at a Florida sports bar and grill, Obama came to a table with lots of children.

Told that one blond-haired youngster, Andre Wupperman, was born in Hawaii, Obama grinned.

"Do you have a birth certificate?" Obama asked the boy, drawing laughter from the table. Wupperman turns 7 next week.

Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961, the son of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas.

Prior to the release of the longer-form certificate last year, some conspiracy theorists - dubbed members of the "birther movement" - said the "Certificate of Live Birth" made available during the 2008 presidential campaign was insufficient and that Obama was in fact born in Kenya.

Obama's campaign lashed out at Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last month when he said at a Michigan rally: "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate."

Romney said his comment was meant as humor. The Obama campaign said it showed him enlisting himself with the conspiracy theorists.

(Editing by Xavier Briand)