Republican strategist Karl Rove weighed in on Rick Perry's recent flirtation with birtherism Monday, warning the Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate that he could only "damage" himself by associating with such "nutty" views.
In an interview with Parade magazine published online over the weekend, Perry tiptoed around the issue of President Obama's birth certificate, released by the White House earlier this year, explaining that a recent meeting with Donald Trump -- who is apparently still skeptical of the authenticity of Obama's document -- left him unconvinced that the issue was closed completely.
Asked by Parade if he'd seen Obama's birth certificate, Perry replied, "I don't know. Have I?" Pressed further if he agreed with Trump's ongoing disbelief, Perry responded, "I don't have any idea. It doesn't matter. He's the president of the United States. He's elected. It's a distractive issue."
On Monday, Rove took to Fox News to address the issue, blasting Perry for getting caught up in the birther fray.
"You associate yourself with a nutty view like that, and you damage yourself," Rove said. "And I know he went and he's trying to cultivate -- as all of them are -- Donald Trump, in order to get his endorsement, but this is not the way to go about doing it, because it starts to marginalize you in the minds of some of the people whom you need in order to get the election."
"There's a simple answer," Rove continued. "Yes, he was born in the United States, yes, he is eligible to serve, and don't associate yourself with sort of this nutty fringe group."
(Video above, via GOP12)
Rove has been a frequent critic of Perry's, a trend that some say is indicative of a larger campaign being mounted by the Republican heavyweight to derail the Texas governor over lasting quarrels between Perry and the Bush administration.