During a recent town hall meeting, New Mexico Republican congressional candidate Steve Pearce cast doubt on President Obama's citizenship and said that while the economy should be on the top of Republicans' agenda, he would be "in the fight" if the issue is taken up in Congress.
At the Sept. 30 event in Los Lunas, New Mexico, a woman stood up and asked Pearce if he would "be agreeable to subpoenaing and making him show a birth certificate." "Because if he is not eligible, because of everything he signed, every bill he signed, every executive order, his czars, our whole government, everything we're doing is invalid and unconstitutional and illegal," she said, adding, "I just want to know what is your position on Barack Obama if he is in fact a Kenyan-born, Indonesian Muslim. What is your position on all of this?"
In his response, Pearce said that were still "significant questions" surrounding the birther issue:
PEARCE: You bet. Let's take it backwards first. My position is that Barack Obama raised the most significant questions himself. He said, after he came to the U.S., that he traveled to Pakistan. Now at the point that he traveled to Pakistan it was not legal to go there with a U.S. passport. And so he, himself, raised the greatest questions. I think that those questions need to be asked.
Now, then, my question would be to you all at what importance, what importance? You can typically fight two or three major battles in a year, major, and for me, if we don't get our economy going, nothing else works. ... I'm content to let the courts handle that and it's my understanding the Supreme Court is actually looking at this question because I think it's an important question. But I absolutely believe that Barack Obama raises the most significant questions himself.
Q: But if the Senate is involved, you will definitely be there on the front lines --
PEARCE: Yes, no, I don't mind being in the fight but I don't think it should be our consummate fight.
Q: Oh, no, not the consummate fight, but if it comes up --
PEARCE: Yes, and I don't, don't have a problem expressing my opinions or expressing a vote, either one.
Pearce appears to be off on a few counts in his claims. In 2008, Obama mentioned a trip to Pakistan he took when he was 20 years old, which he hadn't written about his books. Skeptics of Obama's citizenship speculated that he went there with an Indonesian passport while his mother was married to an Indonesian man because Americans weren't allowed to travel to Pakistan at the time. As FactCheck.org reported, however, "[T]hat claim is quite false. There was no such ban. Americans traveled there without incident, as shown by a travel piece that appeared in the New York Times in 1981, dated June 14. Barbara Crossette, an assistant news editor of the Times, told her mostly American readers they could travel to Lahore, Pakistan, by air, rail or road, adding: 'Tourists can obtain a free, 30-day visa (necessary for Americans) at border crossings and airports.'" Pearce's campaign did not return The Huffington Post's request for comment.
Additionally, the Supreme Court is not considering a birther case. Birthers Orly Taitz and Phil Berg have tried to bring high-profile lawsuits questioning Obama's citizenship, but they have been rejected each time.
CORRECTION: This story originally identified Pearce as a current congressman. Pearce previously served in Congress and is now running to unseat Democrat Harry Teague. We have updated our report.
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