Inhofe: Birthers “have a point”

Republicans face additional questions about the Birthers, and one senator says he won't discourage them

Topics: Birthers, War Room,

The Birthers were already a headache for mainstream Republicans — but now that the movement has gotten back in the media spotlight, they’ve become an even bigger problem for them.

There are two issues for the GOP, really: First off, they have to deal with the kinds of constituent questions that Delaware Rep. Mike Castle faced at a recent townhall — a video of Castle being harangued over the issue is what kicked off this latest spurt of Birther obsession. Second, they have to deal with questions from the press, and some of them could use a better strategy for their responses.

Like Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla, who told Politico that the Birthers “have a point.” He added, “I don’t discourage it. … But I’m going to pursue defeating [Obama] on things that I think are very destructive to America.”

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Politico’s story prompted Republican strategist Mike Murphy to come up with a much better solution for dealing with Birther eruptions. On Twitter, he offered his suggestion for how to respond to Birthers’ questions at townhalls: ”It’s nuts. Sit down and shut up.”

Update: Inhofe has now put out this statement clarifying his remarks:

The point that they make is the Constitutional mandate that the U.S. President be a natural born citizen, and the White House has not done a very good job of dispelling the concerns of these citizens. My focus is on issues where I can make a difference to stop the liberal agenda being pushed by President Obama.

I’m not sure what he expects the White House to do in order to dispel “the concerns of these citizens.” They put out a copy of his birth certificate quite a while ago, and there is no “long-form” available for release. Besides, once convinced of a conspiracy theory’s accuracy, there’s little or no chance believers can be swayed.

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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