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."