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Obama birthers: Republican chairman says Obama born in U.S.

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Lynn Sweet questions RNC chairman Reince Priebus about birther claims at Christian Science Monitor breakfast. Video courtesy Christian Science Monitor.

WASHINGTON--The chairman of the Republican National Committee said Tuesday President Obama was born in the U.S., with Reince Priebus' comment coming as questions about Obama's birthplace face a revival, fueled lately in part by Donald Trump, who is mulling a 2012 GOP presidential bid.

At a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, I asked Priebus if questions about Obama's birth--which is documented to have been in Hawaii-- could yield Republican votes--and what he thought of Trump's persistent questioning about Obama's birthplace. (See video above for the clip)

"Trump and the candidates can talk about it all they want, but my position is that the president was born in the United States," Priebus said. "I don't think it's an issue that moves voters. It is an issue in my opinion that I don't personally get too excited about because I have to, I think, the most important question is what is going on in this country in regard to jobs, the debt, deficit and spending."

In a follow-up, I noted that it is GOP allies who are raising most of the questions. Replied Priebus, "I think it's being revived mainly by people in the media."

Recent polling shows that a segment of the U.S. population clings to the belief that Obama was born outside the U.S.--which would then not make him eligible to be president.

*A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: Only 38 percent say Obama definitely was born in the USA. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say Obama was not born in the U.S.

*A New York Times/CBS poll: 25 percent said Obama was not a "natural born citizen." Among Republicans, 45 percent believed he was born outside the U.S.

Former Hawaii Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino--a Republican who was an appointee of a GOP governor-- looked at Obama's original birth certificate twice. That is the document the state certified computer generated certificate of birth is based on. She discussed the controversy with CNN's Gary Tuchman for Anderson Cooper's "360."
See it here.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney shot back at Rev. Franklin Graham on Monday, saying it was "preposterous' that evangelist questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S.

"I would just say I think it's unfortunate that a religious leader would choose Easter Sunday to make preposterous charges. And I'll leave it at that."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 26, 2011 12:03 PM.

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