Tom DeLay, Birther

The former House majority leader says he wants to see the president's birth certificate

Published August 20, 2009 11:35PM (EDT)

Apparently joining the cast of "Dancing With the Stars" didn't do quite enough damage to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's dignity. Now he's gone Birther, too.

DeLay was on MSNBC's "Hardball" Wednesday night, and host Chris Matthews pressed him on the subject of Birtherism and President Obama's birth certificate. (It was somewhat relevant because DeLay is from Texas, and it's the Texas delegation that's providing the bulk of the support for the "Birther bill" currently in Congress.)

Here's part of the ensuing exchange:

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. You keep skipping over this Birther thing. A half dozen members of what was your delegation -- in fact, you built that delegation. You built that Republican stronghold down there. Culberson, people like that, they are Birthers. They raised the question of the president's legitimacy. By the way, the implication they draw is this guy ought to be picked up, because he was never naturalized, and therefore, he's in the country illegally. Where are you on that one?

DELAY: I would like the president to produce his birth certificate. Yes. I can. I can. Most illegal aliens here in America can. Why can't the president of the United States produce a birth certificate?


DELAY: Chris, will you do me a favor.


DELAY: Will you do me a favor? Will you ask the president to show me his ... birth certificate.

MATTHEWS: No, I'm not going to ask him, because I don't get to ask him. You want me to go up to the president and say, can I see your papers, sir, like he's an illegal alien? I want to see if he has a right to be in the country or not. When I've seen -- here's what I've seen. I've seen a Honolulu newspaper announcing his birth in Hawaii. I've seen that.

DELAY: Newspaper?

MATTHEWS: Do you think they cooked up that newspaper announcement back in 1961? Do you think they cooked it up so that he could some day be president?

DELAY: Is a newspaper article an official document?

MATTHEWS: Do you think they cooked it up?

DELAY: Wait a minute. Is a newspaper article an official document?

MATTHEWS: No, it's not. It's just common sense we're talking about here. Common sense.

DELAY: There isn't anybody in America that's been born in America that didn't get a birth certificate at Obama's age. Now, maybe at my age, there are people born --

MATTHEWS: All I know is they gave us the document that was made available to anybody in Hawaii who asked for a birth certificate. That document they give you. That's all I know. OK?

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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