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No, former US president Barack Obama hasn’t admitted he was born in Kenya – old video reappeared in 2023

IN SHORT: In the original 2009 video, the former US president talks to students in Turkey. The altered version from 2010 is a spoof. The 2023 clip is claimed as fact. But Barack Obama was born in the US. 

The over a decade-old “birther” conspiracy theory that former US president Barack Obama was not born in the country has resurfaced on social media.

False_BarackObama

The claim, circulating in June and July 2023, is that Obama has finally admitted that he was born in Kenya, in East Africa.

It’s based on a blurry 38-second clip of Obama talking to a group of people sitting around him.

“Some people say that maybe I’m not an American citizen, and some people say, ah, he has a forged birth certificate,” he seems to say.

“Well, first of all, it’s true I’m not an American. I was not born in Hawaii. I wasn’t born in the United States of America. I come from Kenya.”

The US state of Hawaii is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, far west of the country’s mainland.

Some versions of the video include text that quotes article 2 of the US constitution: “No Person except for a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President ...”

This means that if you weren’t born in the US, you can’t be its president.

Recent comments on the video include:

  • Barrack Obama admits that he was born in Kenya! Obama was an illegitimate President of the United States! #constitutionallaw #Constitution.

  • The "Messiah" Barack Obama admits he was born in Kenya. The lies were spread through the media. This makes Obama an illegitimate POTUS, just like Biden.

  • Obama admits he was born in Kenya- proof.

But is this really what Obama says in the video? We checked.

The birther conspiracy theory

Obama, a member of the Democratic Party and the first black president of the US, served two four-year terms from 2009 to 2017. His father was a citizen of Kenya and his mother a US citizen. The two met in Hawaii, where Obama was born in 1961.

The claim that he was born in Kenya and was ineligible for the presidency emerged during his 2008 campaign.

After Obama was elected, it died down. But the conspiracy theory resurfaced in 2011 when it was taken up by Donald Trump, a member of the Republican Party who succeeded Obama as president in 2017.

A spoof, a hoax, a parody

The altered clip can be traced to a video uploaded on YouTube more than 13 years ago, in February 2010. It’s in far higher resolution than the clip circulating today.

The video is titled Birther’s Delight. Text at the start of the video describes it as a spoof, a hoax and a “light parody”, intended to “gently satirize” or deceive. It wasn’t presented as the truth.

The YouTuber gives a link to the video used as the source of their spoof. The page no longer exists. But using keywords in the URL – “Obama, roundtable, Istanbul” – we were able to find the original video.

It shows Obama talking to students in the city of Istanbul during his visit to Turkey in April 2009.

The original video can be found on the Obama White House YouTube channel. The 38-second spoof clip was taken from a 44-minute long video, and starts about 15 minutes in.

This is what Obama actually said in those 38 seconds:

Some people say that maybe I'm being too idealistic. I made a speech in Prague about maybe reducing and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons. And some people said that will never happen. And some people have said why are you discussing the Middle East when it's not going to be possible for the Israelis and the Palestinians to come together. Or why are you reaching out to the Iranians, because the US and Iran can never agree on anything.

A transcript of his words can be read in the Obama White House archives. At no point does he say he was born in Kenya.

Obama released his short-form birth certificate in 2008, proving he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1961. When that didn’t satisfy conspiracy theorists, he released the longer version in May 2011.

In 2016 Trump finally admitted that Obama was born in the US. Any claims to the contrary are the remnants of a decades-old conspiracy theory. 

 

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