At a fundraiser in Elbert County last weekend, Colorado Republican Congressman Mike Coffman shared some startling thoughts about President Barack Obama, raising the issue of the president's United States citizenship.
Toward the end of his speech, after citing the downturn in the U.S. economy, Coffman said:
I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American.
Listen to a clip from the Elbert County fundraiser speech that was uploaded to YouTube above, the remarks about Obama begin at 3:21.
9News, which first reported about Coffman's statement and has complete audio of his speech from Elbert County, spoke to Elbert County Republican Chairman Scott Wills who was in attendance and said that the comment was met with "deafening silence" at first, followed by applause.
Coffman apologized on Wednesday night, completely walking back from his original statement about Obama's citizenship. "I misspoke and I apologize," Coffman said about the comments in Elbert County in a written statement. "I have confidence in President Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States."
Coffman went on to say in his written apology: "However, I don't believe the president shares my belief in American Exceptionalism. His policies reflect a philosophy that America is but one nation among many equals. As a Marine, I believe America is unique and based on a core set of principles that make it superior to other nations."
Fox31 reports that the Democrat challenging Mike Coffman's seat, Rep. Joe Miklosi, slammed Coffman saying, "These outrageous comments once again make clear that Mike Coffman is Colorado’s version of Rush Limbaugh."
In 2011, a Colorado judge ruled in favor of Democratic-drawn redistricting map and in the process made Coffman's once solidly Republican suburban Denver seat (District 6) much more competitive by including a relatively even split of Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters, 7News reported.
Congressional boundaries are redrawn every 10 years by the state legislature to accurately reflect population changes.
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. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/23/rick-perry-obama-birth-certificate_n_1027123.html" target="_hplink">Perry said</a> 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 <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53073.html" target="_hplink">has said definitively</a> 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 <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2011/04/ron-paul-is-not-a-birther.html" target="_hplink">brushed aside</a> 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: <blockquote>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.</blockquote> Gingrich <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/246302/gingrich-obama-s-kenyan-anti-colonial-worldview-robert-costa" target="_hplink">told the <em>National Review</em></a>, "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 <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/potential-gop-candidates-face-birther-question/2011/03/16/ABnx1Em_story.html" target="_hplink">has stated</a> he has no doubt President Obama was born in Hawaii and is a U.S. citizen, a spokesperson told the <em>Washington Post</em> in March. Santorum <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53743.html#ixzz1bceW5pAx" target="_hplink">told fellow Republicans</a>, "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.