WASHINGTON -- The White House released President Obama's long-form birth certificate to reporters on Wednesday, an extraordinary step in reaction to renewed questions from critics about whether he was born in Hawaii.
The document also was posted on the White House website. President Obama spoke on the subject from the White House briefing room Wednesday morning.
Amid questions during Obama's 2008 run for the White House, his campaign released a certificate of live birth to verify he was a native-born citizen, a constitutional requirement of the office. So-called "birther" critics called the document insufficient, however, and conspiracy theories about the president's birth have continued.
Administration officials said they felt compelled to release additional documentation because the continued "distraction" was harmful for the country.
"It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country," Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, wrote on the White House's blog.
To receive the long-form document, the president personally sent a request to the Hawaii Department of Health. White House counsel Robert F. Bauer traveled to the state to retrieve it.
The state of Hawaii has faced a regular barrage of requests for information about Obama's birth, but privacy rules barred them from releasing the full birth certificate. The White House said the state granted this exception "in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting."
The release comes on the same day that real estate mogul Donald Trump, who has put questions about Obama's birthplace front and center in recent weeks, travels to New Hampshire as he considers a presidential campaign of his own.
Christi Parsons contributed to this report.
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