I suppose the real surprise isn’t that Minnesota Representative (and potential GOP presidential candidate) Michele Bachmann is joining the folks pushing the “is Obama really a citizen and a Christian” debate, but the fact that it took her so long to do so.
Via the Hill:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Thursday it’s not for her to say whether President Obama is a citizen of the United States — or a Christian.
“That isn’t for me to state; that’s for the president to state,” Bachmann, the leading Tea Party lawmaker in the House, said on “Good Morning America” on ABC. “When the president makes his statements, I think they should stand for their own.”
At issue is the lingering belief, among so-called birthers, that Obama was born outside the U.S., which would make him constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. (The state of Hawaii has produced a birth certificate showing Obama was born there.) Some also inaccurately believe that Obama practices Islam, rather than the Christian faith he routinely claims.
“We should take the president at his word,” Bachmann said.
Still, her wording mirrors what some other Republicans have said about the president, which critics complain is worded in such a way to allow the birther argument to stand in the GOP.
Of course, the president has said repeatedly that he is a citizen, and he is a Christian, but that doesn’t seem to stop prominent Republicans from simply saying “I believe he was born here, and I believe he is not secretly Muslim.”
For Bachmann, who is believed to be considering a presidential run against Obama in 2012, the issue may be moving beyond the wink wink, nudge nudge antics of playing to the Tea Party crowd. It may in fact be her way of trying to gather up the fractured support of the GOP, who has decided on no real frontrunner so far for their party nomination.
With recent news that a majority of Republicans believe that the president was not born in the United States, combined with the fact that those who think that are most likely to support the floundering campaign of Sarah Palin, it becomes clear that Bachmann may be using the issue to try and grab Palin’s mantle of popular conservative support.
Is it good for the country to continue to push the idea that the president may be illegitimate? Probably not, but lately “good for a majority of the country” hasn’t been a priority for the GOP.
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