Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the birther issue was worth "keeping alive" in a CNBC interview Tuesday morning. "It's a good issue to keep alive. It's fun to poke at him," said Perry, according to host John Harwood. Harwood interviewed Perry about his flat tax proposal that he is unveiling Tuesday, which sets an across-the-board twenty percent rate on individuals and corporations with some deductions.
Perry also spoke evasively about President Barack Obama's birth certificate in an interview with Parade magazine published over the weekend. When asked if he believed the president was born in the United States, he said, "I have no reason to think otherwise." Asked why he didn't give a definitive answer, Perry replied, "Well, I don't have a definitive answer, because he's never seen my birth certificate."
Perry said in the CNBC interview, "I'm really not worried about the president's birth certificate. It's fun to poke at him a little bit and say, how 'bout let's see your grades and your birth certificate." Perry's own transcript from Texas A&M University, obtained by The Huffington Post, shows that he seldom earned anything above a C and includes a D in Shakespeare and a C in gym.
Despite the president releasing his long-form birth certificate online showing he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, some still doubt that Obama was born in the United States, and therefore eligible serve as commander-in-chief.
When asked by Parade if he'd seen the president's birth certificate, Perry said: "I don't know. Have I?"
Perry said that he had met with Donald Trump, and the issue came up, but he wouldn't say whether he agreed with Trump, who still doubts the veracity of the document. "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."
The Huffington Post's Sam Stein reported that Missippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a senior statesman within the GOP, warned Republicans not to talk about the birther issue. Karl Rove blasted Perry on Monday for not giving a straight answer on the birther issue and therefore associating himself with a "nutty fringe group."
After meeting with hardline birther Donald Trump, Republican Presidential contender Rick Perry told Parade Magazine "doesn't have a definitive answer" on whether Obama was born in the United States. Perry said that in discussing the birther issue with Trump, he told Trump "I don't have any idea. It doesn't really matter ... It's a distractive issue."
Mitt Romney has said definitively that he believes President Obama was born in the United States. "The citizenship test has been passed," Romney said in April, adding "there are real reasons to get this guy out of office."
Presidential hopeful Ron Paul has brushed aside the birther question, saying there's obviously no legitimacy to the claims that Obama wasn't born in the U.S. "I never bring it up," Paul told MSNBC's Chris Matthews in April. "I'm going to leave it to talk show hosts and to Donald Trump, and let you guys argue it out."
From HuffPost's Sam Stein: Fueling the myth mongering that Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in a recent interview that the president may follow a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview. Gingrich told the National Review, "What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?"
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has stated he has no doubt President Obama was born in Hawaii and is a U.S. citizen, a spokesperson told the Washington Post in March. Santorum told fellow Republicans, "He has a certificate of birth, which is what, if you ask for the record of birth in Hawaii, that is what they give you." After dismissing the birther issue, he said there are plenty of other things to dislike about the current president.