Perry doesn't know whether Obama's birth certificate is real
First John Boehner, now Rick Perry.
In February the speaker of the House said he was willing to accept that President Obama was a U.S. citizen but added that "the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can't -- it's not my job to tell them." He also said he would take Obama "at his word" that he was a Christian -- implying that Obama was the only authority for that proposition. Overall, Boehner's comments managed to encourage "birthers" even even as they seemed to accept that Obama was a native-born Christian.
Flash forward to the 2012 presidential campaign. In an interview with Parade magazine. Gov. Rick Perry engaged in Boehner-like equivocation about whether Obama's birth certificate is real. "I don't know, " Perry said. "I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night .... He doesn't think it's real .... I don't have any idea. It doesn't matter. [Obama is] the president of the United States. He's elected. It's a distractive issue."
Like Boehner, Perry was accepting Obama's citizenship while raising doubts about it. If he really thought it was a "distractive" issue, he would have said: "I believe the president is an American citizen. End of story." That he provided a quibbling answer instead suggests that he may think there's still a "birther" constituency out there -- a depressing thought.
-- Michael McGough
Photo: Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a GOP candidates debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Sept. 7. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times