updated 4/15/2011 9:43:33 AM ET 2011-04-15T13:43:33

President Barack Obama said Thursday that Republicans who are sowing doubts about whether he is American-born may gain politically in the short term by playing to their constituencies but will have trouble when the general election rolls around.

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Obama says that's because most people are confident that he was born where he says he was — in Hawaii — and are more worried about gasoline prices and unemployment than conspiracy theories or birth certificates.

The president spoke in an interview with ABC News.

State officials long have certified that Obama was born in Hawaii. But Donald Trump, the real estate tycoon and possible Republican presidential candidate, has revived questions about Obama's place of birth.

Video: Trump keeps pressure on 'birther' debate (on this page)

So-called "birthers" have argued since the last presidential election that Obama is ineligible for the nation's highest elected office because he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland.

Story: Ariz. Legislature OKs presidential 'birther' bill

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificates have been made public.

Obama says Republican efforts to go after him in a politically expedient way create problems for them.

The president joked about the "birther" issue at a fundraiser Thursday night in his hometown of Chicago. As he described his deep roots in the city, he noted, "I wasn't born here" — referring to Chicago. Then the president paused and chuckled as the crowd at Navy Pier broke into knowing laughter.

"Just want to be clear — I was born in Hawaii," the president said to more laughter.

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Meanwhile, the Arizona Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a proposal that would require Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before their names can appear on the state's ballot.

Arizona would become the first state to require such proof if Gov. Jan Brewer signs the measure into law.

Thirteen other states have considered similar proposals this year.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Trump keeps pressure on 'birther' debate


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