Obama Exclusive: I Was Born in Hawaii and I Don't 'Have Horns'

I thought the president would take a pass when I asked him about Donald Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican field in my exclusive interview today.

Far from it.

He grabbed at the chance with a big smile – saying he thinks the whole issue will be a problem for Republicans.

“I think that over the last two and a half years there's been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans. But [it] creates, I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. He-- he doesn't have horns…we're not really worrying about conspiracy theories or-- or birth certificates,” President Obama told me.

And in all my talks with Obama I think it was the first time he was one the same page as Karl Rove who thinks the “birther” controversy is hurting the GOP.

“The truth of the matter is that I think that the vast majority of Americans across the country – Democratic or Republican – really want this election to be about growing the economy, getting control of the deficit, preparing the future for our kids. And my suspicion is that anybody who is not addressing those questions…Is going to be in trouble. I think they may get a quick pop in the news. They may get a lot of attention. But ultimately, the American people understand this is a serious, sober time,” he told me.

And as the interview wound down the president got ready to his hometown this afternoon for the first fundraising rallies of his last campaign.

“I think the 2012 election is going to be important. I said in my speech yesterday that we are-- there-- there's clarity that is emerging about where we go as a country. We are at a-- at a fork in the road here,” he told me.

-- George Stephanopoulos

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