The mainstream media got played today and it was wonderful. The Trump campaign released a statement last night saying their candidate believed Barack Obama was born in the United States, but they didn’t believe it. This morning the campaign announced that Trump will make a statement about the birther issue and they all rushed to his new DC hotel for the press conference. But Trump didn’t come out right away. First the press had to listen to (and in some cases televise) a series of Medal of Honor winners praising the GOP candidate. And when they were all done Trump came out and said:
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
With that it was over. the press didn’t get to ask about Trump’s claims that Hillary’s campaign started it and he finished it…Trump was gone and it was great!
Let’s get to the real issues. Did Hillary Clinton and/or her 2008 campaign start the birtherism and did Trump end it?
The story is too long to complete in one post, therefore consider this Part 1, Birtherism’s Roots in Clinton Campaign:
There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton ever said publicly that she believes Barack Obama wasn’t a natural born citizen. But there is plenty of evidence that the birther hoax was born in her camp.
First you have to understand it didn’t just happen. No one woke up one day and said “Hey lets spread rumors that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. My mom can make cookies.”
First there was the “Obama is a Muslim” claim floated in 2004 by perennial Illinois political candidate, serial litigant, and anti-Semite, Andy Martin. Martin is recognized as the guy who began the whisper campaign against Obama in August 2004 after Obama’s keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. BTW Martin kept changing names and parties to be able to run for office, but every time he was found out, the nominating party would drop him like a hot potato. Once he promised if elected he was elected he would “exterminate Jew Power in America.” Because Jews are “schooled in blood sucking and money grubbing from birth.”
Anyway Martin’s claim morphed into a claim that Obama was educated in an Indonesian “madrassa,” and that he was some sort of “Manchurian Candidate.”
While Hillary Clinton herself has never said she believes Barack Obama was born in any other place than Hawaii, this is how Manchurian candidate turned to not a natural citizen.
In 2007 Mark Penn, the top campaign strategist for Hillary’s campaign, wrote a memo about Obama that said in part
“I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.”
He advised the campaign to target Obama’s “lack of American roots.”
Every speech should contain the line that you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century, And talk about the basic bargain as about the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child, and that drive you today. Let’s explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn’t … Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds [of campaign events].”
(the full memo is embedded below)
Politifact reported on the next step:
In the fall of 2007, it was clear that Clinton was losing ground in Iowa. The presumptive front runner was vulnerable and people in the campaign knew it. On Dec. 5, 2007, the online magazine Politico posted the text of an email that had been forwarded by Judy Rose, the volunteer chair of the Clinton campaign in Jones County Iowa on Nov. 21, 2007. The email was a quintessential smear that offered a distorted biography of Obama’s early years. Rose offered no commentary on it. She simply passed it along.
“Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim,” the email said, and it ended with, “The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the U.S. from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level – through the President of the United States , one of their own!!!!”
When Rose’s letter became public a few months after she sent it around the Clinton camp, she was forced to resign.
In February of 2008 HRC’s campaign was accused by the Obama campaign of releasing a picture of Barack Obama wearing traditional Somali dress. The picture itself was taken in Kenya. The suggestion was clear, here is a man who may not be American. A perfect follow up to Penn’s memo. And when the Obama campaign complained they were trying to portray Obama as a foreigner then campaign manager Maggie Williams issued a statement that said:
If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.
This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry.
We will not be distracted.”
The Clinton Campaign didn’t admit they released the photo. But as you can see in this video when Hillary Clinton was asked on 60 Minutes if Obama was a Muslim, she gave one of those political denials that didn’t quite close the door.
Which was a point Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski acknowledged in 2015.
In 2011, Politico did an investigation into the origins of the birther myth. They found that the entire concept started with the Clinton campaign in 2008…