(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama embraced his Irish roots at a White House St. Patrick’s Day reception Tuesday night, taking a stab at the “birthers” who continue to question his heritage.
Visiting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny presented the president with an official certificate of Irish heritage noting, “These are very rare. As rare as the man himself.”
The president thanked the prime minister for the gift and, without missing a beat, added, “This will have a special place of honor alongside my birth certificate,” drawing a big laugh from the crowd.
Obama’s quip about his much-scrutinized birth certificate came after he and Kenny delivered toasts reaffirming their close relationship at the extended St. Patty’s day celebration.
The president also recounted his trip to Ireland last May, when he visited his ancestral town of Moneygall. Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfather emigrated from the small town during the height of the potato famine in Ireland.
“We are all proud peoples who share more than sprawling family trees. We are peoples who share an unshakeable faith, an unbending commitment to our fellow man, and a resilient and audacious hope,” Obama said. “That’s why I say of Ireland tonight what I said in Dublin last May, this little country that inspires the biggest things -- its best days are still ahead.”
Maryland’s Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and his Celtic rock band O’Malley’s March provided the entertainment for Tuesday night’s celebration.
The president thanked O’Malley for “rocking the White House for the evening.”
“It’s said that the curse of the Irish, as the governor must know, is not that they don’t know the words to a song -- it’s that they know them all,” Obama said.
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