Talking Points Memo this morning pointed to this interview yesterday between Arizona conservative radio host and Secretary of State Ken Bennett. In the interview, Bennett said it would be “possible” that he keeps President Obama off the Arizona ballot in November unless he receives “confirmation” from the state of Hawaii that Barack Obama was born there.
We’ve reached out to Bennett, but haven’t heard back yet.
Bennett insisted in the radio interview that he’s not a “birther,” the term that has become synonymous with the conspiracy theorists purporting that Obama was not born in the United States.
“I believe that the president was born in Hawaii. Or at least I hope he was,” Bennett said.
He just wants proof. So, about eight weeks ago, he said, he contacted authorities in Hawaii for confirmation. He said he only wants an email.
What sparked this? Why, none other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the birther sheriff leading a crusade against Obama’s birth certificate and claiming the one on the White House website is a forgery. And he’s currently being sued by the Department of Justice.
Bennett said he got more than 1,200 requests to require Obama to produce a certificate. Interestingly, he said that he couldn’t even get an original copy of his own birth certificate if he wanted, but he said there’s a special provision that would allow a Hawaii official to confirm just by email.
“If they can’t say yes to that simple question, it makes me wonder if we have to take it to another level,” Bennett said.
And so, in 2012, this remains at least something of a campaign issue for Obama, despite the fact that he released his longform birth certificate in April 2011.
Yesterday, the conservative website Breitbart released a promotional booklet it had obtained that said Obama had been “born in Kenya.” The literary agent who wrote Obama’s blurb in the booklet came out yesterday and said that she had made a mistake.
Bennett’s alignment with Arpaio is a break from Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who told CNN’s John King last year that birthers were “leading our country down a path of destruction.”