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This issue of his birth certificate just isn’t going away. For those of you who usually steer clear of news from the fringe: There is a small but insistent element of the public -- hereafter referred to as “birthers” -- that claims President Obama is not an American citizen, and therefore not qualified to be president.
The “certification of live birth” issued by the state of Hawaii on Aug. 8, 1961, and readily viewable online is deemed inauthentic. Obama, the claim usually goes, was born in Kenya, his father’s native country.
Enter Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president and an increasingly visible conservative on the cable TV circuit.
On Tuesday night, appearing on CNN’s “Larry King,” she was asked about birthers, and did not denounce them outright -- a reaction that has set off the left. Left-wing bloggers are now saying she “defended” birthers, which isn’t really true, but that’s become the talking point.
"I think the Democrats have got more crazies than the Republicans do," Ms. Cheney said. "But setting that aside, one of the reasons you see people so concerned about this, I think this issue is, people are uncomfortable with having for the first time ever, I think, a president who seems so reluctant to defend the nation overseas ... "
When asked point blank by King if she thought Obama was born in Kenya, she said, “No, I’m not saying that.” But then she added: "I'm saying that people are fundamentally uncomfortable and fundamentally I think increasingly uncomfortable with an American president who seems to be afraid to defend America, stand up for what we believe in."
Cheney later told Politico: "I don't have any question about Barack Obama's right to be President of the United States."
What set off this latest round of birther mania is a video from Delaware that recently surfaced, showing mild-mannered Rep. Mike Castle (R) facing an irate audience member insisting Obama is not a US citizen.
Congressman Castle is thinking of running for the Senate, but if he has to contend with this sort of thing on a regular basis, he may just decide it’s time to retire to Delaware. Or maybe not.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews joined the fray Tuesday by interviewing Rep. John Campbell (R) of California, who is sponsoring legislation that would require all political candidates to prove they are constitutionally eligible to serve.
Clearly, the birthers are now a permanent fixture on the political landscape, even though the US Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals over Obama’s birth certificate.
For the record, even if Obama had not been born in the US, he would still be eligible for the presidency. His mother was a US citizen, and that makes Obama a “natural-born citizen,” as required by the Constitution.
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