Obama 2012 using birth flap as fund-raising tool

WASHINGTON Wed May 18, 2011 3:15pm EDT

Volunteer receptionist Hattie Hester answers the phone while surrounded by photographers as they toured President Barack Obama's new campaign headquarters in Chicago May 12, 2011. REUTERS/John Gress

Volunteer receptionist Hattie Hester answers the phone while surrounded by photographers as they toured President Barack Obama's new campaign headquarters in Chicago May 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is having some fun -- and raising some money -- from a flap over whether Obama was born in the United States.

The Obama campaign is offering a "Made in the USA" T-shirt emblazoned with the president's birth certificate in exchange for a $30 donation. There are coffee mugs as well.

Some Republicans have theorized Obama was born in Kenya, birthplace of his father, instead of Hawaii.

Obama ignored the accusations until wealthy real estate magnate Donald Trump made the "birther" issue a central part of his campaign to decide whether to challenge Obama in 2012. The U.S. Constitution requires the American president to be born in the United States.

With a sizable percentage of Americans expressing doubts about Obama's birthplace, Obama last month produced a longer version of his birth certificate that confirmed he was born at a Honolulu hospital in 1961.

"We do not have time for this kind of silliness," he said at the time.

The issue has since ebbed and Trump this week opted against a campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

"If the facts can't make these ridiculous smears go away, we can at least have a little fun with it," deputy campaign manager Julianna Smoot said in an email to supporters.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Philip Barbara)

FILED UNDER: