WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says Republicans who are sowing doubts about whether he is American-born may gain politically in the short term by playing to their constituencies but will have trouble when the general election rolls around.
Obama says that's because most people are confident that he was born where he says he was – in Hawaii – and are more worried about gasoline prices and unemployment than conspiracy theories or birth certificates.
The president spoke Thursday in an interview with ABC News.
State officials long have certified that Obama was born in Hawaii. But Donald Trump, the real estate tycoon and possible GOP presidential candidate, has revived questions about Obama's place of birth.
Obama says Republican efforts to go after him in a politically expedient way create problems for them.
The comments were in response to a question from George Stephanopoulos about Obama's potential opponents in 2012:
George Stephanopoulos: I wonder how you size up your potential opponents? I mean all of us have been struck by Donald Trump rising to the top of the Republican field by feeding fantasies about your background. What do you make of that?
President Obama: Well you know, I think that over the last two and a half years there's been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans. But creates, I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. (LAUGHS) He-- he doesn't have horns. We may disagree with him on some issues and we may wish that you know, the unemployment rate was coming down faster and we want him to know his plan on gas prices. But we're not really worrying about conspiracy theories or-- or birth certificates. And so-- I-- I think it presents a problem for them. But, look I right now have such a big day job that I am not yet focused on what's happening on the other side. There'll be a time where I'm-- I'm very focused on it.
Video of the interview below via ABC World News (the relevant section begins at 13:47):