POLITICS
12/19/2012 05:29 pm ET Updated Dec 19, 2012

Tom Morrissey, Arizona Republican Party Chairman, Discusses Birther Comments

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Tom Morrissey, who questioned President Barack Obama's eligibility to president earlier this week, told a Phoenix radio station he's not a birther, then said Obama's birth certificate "is not a real document."

Morrissey told 550 KFYI radio on Tuesday that he questioned Obama's eligibility during Monday's meeting of Arizona's Electoral College because he is unconvinced Obama has produced a "legitimate" birth certificate. Morrissey, one of three Arizona presidential electors to question Obama's eligibility, denied being a part of the birther movement and said he didn't know what that was. Phoenix New Times first reported Morrissey's radio interview.

"My issue is not whether he was born here or not," Morrissey said. "As an elector, I have a sacred trust to protect what is constitutionally viable. What I have seen from the president, put out as a birth certificate, is not a real document. I am not saying he wasn't born here."

Morrissey said several times he wasn't questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S. and insisted he was performing his constitutional duty as an elector. The Electoral College met Monday nationally to officially elect Obama over Republican Mitt Romney. Morrissey, along with Gila County Republican Party Chairman Don Ascoli and former Graham County Republican Chairman John D. Rhodes, were the only electors nationally to question Obama's eligibility during the meeting. Arizona's electoral votes were awarded to Romney.

Morrissey accused Obama of "stonewalling" people who have asked for his birth certificate and said the president could have released a "real" birth certificate to end the debate. Morrissey said he was not singling out Obama and was not acting as state Republican chairman, but rather as an elector upholding the Constitution.

"As an elector I have a sacred trust," Morrissey said on the radio. "That is what I am acting on. If it was Governor Romney's or Ron Paul's, I would have the same concern. This is not personal."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who has vetoed birther legislation in the state, said she does not agree with Morrissey or his allies in the Electoral College. Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), who had previously questioned Obama's birth certificate, also distanced himself from Morrissey.

Morrissey's comments came a week after birther queen Orly Taitz filed a federal lawsuit in California seeking to prevent Vice President Joe Biden from opening the envelopes containing the electoral votes in front of a joint session of Congress in January. Taitz, a lawyer, dentist and real estate agent in California, posted on her website earlier this week that she is preparing documents for the federal court within a seven-day window ordered by a judge.

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