Trump takes credit for Obama birth certificate release, but wonders "is it real?"

Donald Trump is interviewed in New York, Monday, April 25, 2011. The real estate mogul criticized Republicans for embracing Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to cut Medicare and seemed hurt that 2008 GOP nominee John McCain had suggested Trump's potential presidential bid was a publicity grab. AP Photo/Richard Drew

Donald Trump
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Updated: 10:59 a.m. ET

Donald Trump took credit on Wednesday for President Obama's decision to release a copy of his long-form birth certificate, and said he felt "really honored" to have "played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue."

Obama: Media must stop focusing on "sideshows"
Obama releases long-form birth certificate

Speaking to reporters after arriving in New Hampshire via helicopter, Trump emphasized that "we have to see, is it real?" but noted that he hopes the birth certificate "checks out."

"I am really honored frankly to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully, getting rid of this issue," he said. "We have to look at it, we have to see is it real, is it proper, what's on it, but I hope it checks out beautifully. I am really proud, I am really honored."

"It is rather amazing that all the sudden it materializes, but I hope it's the right deal," Trump added. "I'm really proud that I was able to bring this to a point."

The real estate mogul, who is considering a bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has made a splash in recent weeks by pushing "birther"-inspired claimsthat the president may not have been born in the United States and thus may not be a U.S. citizen. 

That theory had been thoroughly debunkedby a number of sources, but nevertheless, Mr. Obama on Wednesday released his long-form birth certificatein an attempt to shift the debate away from the issue.

"Now, normally, I would not comment on something like this, because, obviously, there's a lot of stuff swirling in the press at any given day and, you know, I've got other things to do," said Mr. Obama. "But two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week, the dominant news story wasn't about these huge, monumental choices that we're gonna have to make as a nation, it was about my birth certificate. And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here."

"We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers," he added.

Trump said Mr. Obama "should have [released the birth certificate] a long time ago" but declined to answer questions based on the hypothetical situation that Mr. Obama's birth certificate does not check out.

The business magnate did, however, reiterate questions about Mr. Obama's educational history, repeating recent claims that "the word is [the president] wasn't a good student and he ended up getting into Columbia and Harvard." (When a reporter asked for his source on the allegation that Mr. Obama did poorly in school, Trump said he had read things in the media.)

Throughout his appearance, Trump cited recent poll numbers putting him at the top of the GOP presidential pack, and attempted to dispel the notion that his recent political efforts were merely part of a publicity campaign for his television show, NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice."

"A lot of people think I'm having a good time," he said. "I'm not having a good time."

Trump said he would announce his political intentions before June and after the May 22 season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice."

"I think you're going to be very surprised," he told reporters. "I think if I do run, I'll do very well... I'm already leading the polls and I'm not running."

"I think I'd beat Obama," he added.

Trump also attempted to address policy issues, hitting Mr. Obama on the economy, Libya and China, and generally arguing that "the president doesn't know what he's doing."

He did not, however, say whether or not he would now be releasing his tax returns - despite recently suggesting that he would make those public when Mr. Obama produced his long-form birth certificate.

Trump is reportedly scheduled to make eight stops in his day-long tour of New Hampshire, a crucial early primary state.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.