By going on national TV from the White House, Obama portrayed himself out as a voice of reason amid a loud, lingering debate on his birth status. Though his personal attention to the issue elevated it as never before, Obama said to his critics and the media, it is time to move on to bigger issues.
Citing huge budget decisions in Washington, Obama said, "I am confident that the American people and America's political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We always have. But we're not going to be able to do it if we are distracted."
Obama spoke shortly after the White House released a copy of the long form of his birth certificate, which contains more extensive data than a version released earlier.
The certificate says Obama was born to an American mother and Kenyan father, in Hawaii, which makes him eligible to hold the office of president. Obama released a standard short form before he was elected in 2008 but requested copies of his original birth certificate from Hawaii officials this week in hopes of quieting the lingering controversy.
White House officials have said the issue was settled long ago. But so-called "birthers" opposed to Obama have kept it alive. Potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently began questioning why Obama hadn't ensured the long form was released.
"We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers," the president said.
Obama never named names in addressing his critics.