WASHINGTON - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump - or, at least his campaign - admitted Thursday he believed President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States, after years of questioning the president’s citizenship.
The Trump campaign, in a statement, credited Trump with forcing Obama to release his birth certificate and bringing closure to an issue he helped bring into the spotlight over the course of Obama’s presidency.
“Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer,” spokesman Jason Miller said. “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”
Earlier in the day Thursday, Hillary Clinton, at her first campaign event since she was diagnosed with pneumonia and forced to leave a September 11 memorial event Sunday with health issues, tore into Trump for his support of the so-called “birther movement.”
She referenced a Washington Post story published Thursday in which Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in America, and said he does not talk about the issue anymore.
Clinton urged voters to "conclusively" stop Trump, and what she calls his bigotry, in the November election.
WATCH: Clinton on Trump Obama birther controversy
While Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of Obama’s presidency over the past eight years and fed into conspiracy theories over the authenticity of his birth certificate, Miller blamed Clinton for raising the issue in the first place.
"Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for president. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer."
The Trump statement pointed to a 2007 Clinton campaign memo in which chief strategist Mark Penn said Obama had a “lack of American roots” and not “fundamentally American in his thinking and values” as proof of Clinton’s role in the birther movement.
Clinton responded to Trump on Twitter by saying, “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”
Clinton has, in the past, denied claims that her campaign started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace.
Dueling campaign events
Trump and Clinton held competing campaign events Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college campus, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history.
"It's great to be back," Clinton told an audience in Greensboro, North Carolina. She admitted that she tried to "power through" her illness before realizing it did not work and that she needed to stay home and rest.
"I'm not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances. But with just two months to go before election day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be."
But Clinton said she considers herself lucky to be able to afford time off if she gets sick. She said millions of Americans have no backup if they fall ill and are just one paycheck away from losing their homes or facing other catastrophes.
She said she is running for president to make life better for children and their families.
"Every child, no matter who they are, what they look like or who they love is part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission."
Later, Clinton appeared before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, saying she would send Congress comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office. She said her plan would include a path toward citizenship for many undocumented immigrants.
Meanwhile, Trump appeared on a television talk show hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz Thursday and presented a letter from his doctors proclaiming him to be healthy after he took a physical exam last week.
"We are pleased to disclose all of the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health," the campaign said, "and has the stamina to endure -- uninterrupted -- the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States."
Trump, who is known to be fond of fast food, admitted to Oz that he takes drugs to treat high cholesterol.
He told the doctor that just like many other Americans, he wants to lose weight. Trump is 1.9 meters tall, (6 foot 3 inches) and weighs 107 kilograms (236 pounds). He is overweight by medical standards.
But it is Trump who has suggested Hillary Clinton does not have the strength and stamina to be president.
Clinton mocked the way Trump disclosed his medical condition by appearing on a daytime TV talk show, calling him a "showman."
If the 70-year-old Trump wins the November 8 election, he would be the oldest to be elected U.S. president, while Clinton would be the second oldest. She turns 69 on October 26.
A new New York Times/CBS News poll of likely voters shows Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck at 42 percent in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Trump has been steadily gaining ground on Clinton in the polls recently, and RealClearPolitics polling averages show Trump edging out Clinton in the key political battleground states of Florida and Ohio.