Obama Cracks Birther Joke in Kenya

Obama Cracks Birther Joke in Kenya

Obama Cracks Birther Joke in Kenya

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July 26 2015 6:03 PM

Obama Cracks Birther Joke in Kenya

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President Barack Obama gestures during a speech at the Moi International Sports centre, in Nairobi on July 26, 2015.

Photo by Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Of course he did. President Obama apparently couldn’t waste what was a golden opportunity to make a birth certificate joke during his first trip to Kenya as commander-in-chief. During a toast at a state dinner in Nairobi on Saturday night, Obama made it clear once again that he’s eager to laugh off the whole birth certificate conspiracy theory. “I suspect that some of my critics back home are suspecting that I’m back here to look for my birth certificate,” the president laughed while delivering a toast at a state dinner hosted by his Kenyan counterpart, President Uhuru Kenyatta. “That is not the case.”

Lame jokes aside, it was Obama’s speech Sunday that will likely be the most remembered by everyday Kenyans. Although the president had already chided African leaders to treat gay people equally under the law the previous day, it was Sunday that he ended up electrifying a crowd of young men and women at a stadium in Nairobi, where he “spoke from the heart,” notes Time. “As his convoy turned into Nairobi’s SafariCom Arena, he finally received the exuberant welcome that security precautions had all but denied him since his arrival two nights prior.”

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Describing himself as the first Kenyan American president, Obama “spoke frankly to Kenyans as only a member of the family can,” notes the Los Angeles Times. In a speech that included lots of details about his personal history, Obama described Kenya as a country “at a crossroads” that must do more to ensure it moves forward by rooting out corruption, expanding human rights and making sure women are given opportunities to succeed. “Every country has traditions that are unique,” he said. “Just because something is a part of your past doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean that it defines your future.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.