CNBC screen capture

During Monday night's first presidential debate, Donald Trump was given an opportunity to put his long, and well documented history of questioning the status of President Barack Obama's citizenship behind him, once and for all.

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He failed, miserably.

When asked by moderator Lester Holt why, after years of questioning President Obama's place of birth, Trump only came to accept the legitimacy of president's birth certificate this summer, Trump fell back into a familiar, and potentially self-destructive habit—blame his rival Hillary Clinton for launching the "birther" movement (she didn't) and pat himself on the back for ending it (he didn't)

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"I was the one who got him to produce the birth certificate, and I think I did a good job" Trump exclaimed, when pressed by Holt to explain why, after the President made public his long form birth paperwork in 2011, Trump continued to question its legitimacy well into this current election cycle.

Sensing an opening, Hillary Clinton went on the attack, telling the audience at Hofstra university to "just listen to what you heard."

"Clearly, as Donald just admitted, he knew he was going to stand on this debate stage and Lester Holt was going to be asking us questions, so he tried to put the whole racist 'birther' lie to bed," Clinton began.

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"He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen," she continued. "There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted year after year because some of his supporters—people that he was trying to bring into his fold—apparently believed it, or wanted to believe it."

In fact, while Trump may have squirmed his way out of Holt's question on Monday night, he has actually addressed his recent birther change of heart.

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When asked by a local news affiliate in Toledo, OH last week why he is no longer questioning President Obama's birth status, Trump said simply "I wanted to get on with the campaign."