"Why did you wait so long, though?" Oprah asked the president about the timing of the release of his birth records. "When it first came up, were you thinking, I hope I was born here?"
Sitting alongside the first lady, Obama said, "Can I just say I was there, so I knew," adding, "I knew I had been born. I remembered it."
The president noted that baseless skepticism raised by critics regarding his birthplace has been an issue for more than two years. He said that the decision to release the records came with the hope that the ordeal could be put aside.
"I said to my team, look, even though this is not usually what the state of Hawaii does," he explained, "even though the Republican governor of Hawaii, the Democratic governors of Hawaii, all the various officials had confirmed that I was born here, let's ask them for a special dispensation where they will go ahead and provide us with the original to see if we can put this to rest."
HuffPost's Sam Stein reported earlier in the day on the release of the president's birth certificate:
The move came as a surprise to the press corps, many of whom had not shown up for Wednesday's early-morning White House briefing. By the time word had spread that Obama would be making a 9:45 a.m. statement on the matter, however, the top anchors at all the networks had scurried into the briefing room.
Once there, they received a presidential scolding for their concern with "silliness." Obama began his five-minute statement with the complaint that he wouldn't be able to get the networks to break into their regularly scheduled programming for a speech on policy proposals.
"I know that there is going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest," Obama said. "But I am speaking for the vast majority of the American people as well as for the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve."
Below, a segment of the interview the president and first lady conducted with Oprah on Wednesday. The full sit-down is scheduled to air on May 2.
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