Ending birther conspiracies. Birth(er) of a party?!

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CENK UYGUR, HOST: Good evening, everybody. I‘m Cenk Uygur.

Today, signs that the so-called birther movement is spinning out of control for the Republicans ahead of the 2012 presidential race. They love insinuating that the president was not born in the country without really owning that kooky conspiracy theory.

But now that Trump is using the issue overtly to ride to the top of the polls, leading conservatives are in a panic that the whole party is going to be seen as illegitimate, so they have now begun denouncing that kind of rhetoric. Drama!

And speaking of which, NBC News investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff sat down with Trump and grilled him about the birther issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: And I hope that someday he can produce it, because I think he is toying with the American public. And I will tell you what—people don‘t like it.

I made a speech in front of thousands of people in Boca Raton, Florida, on Saturday, and they are very upset with the fact that if he actually has a birth certificate, he doesn‘t give it. And I hope he does have one.

You know, people say, oh, jeez, supposing he shows it. If it‘s a sealed record—and I had—my birth certificate was sealed, but when I told them it‘s OK to release it, I released it all over the world. It‘s my birth certificate, I don‘t care. Jamaica Hospital, Queens, New York.

Just so you understand, if he has a birth certificate, he should release it. But don‘t tell me about some long-form certificate of live birth because it‘s a much lower standard.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: But do you believe Hawaiian officials are lying about this? Do you have any evidence they are lying?

TRUMP: Well, the governor of Hawaii said he was there when he was born. Now, do you really believe that the governor of Hawaii was there when he was born? I don‘t.

ISIKOFF: I‘m saying the state health director—

TRUMP: So I don‘t know what to tell you. The governor—excuse me.

ISIKOFF: — who personally inspected the files says—

TRUMP: I don‘t care. Then tell Obama to release it.

Look, they are private documents, just like mine is. Nobody can get my birth certificate.

ISIKOFF: Right.

TRUMP: But if I release it they get it. OK? I said release it.

Anybody can have it. Release it. Obama should do the same thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR: Oh, come on. When is he going to let this go? There were ads in the local papers at the time announcing his birth.

They really hatched that up over 40 years ago because they were sure that biracial kid was going to be president one day? I mean cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

And if you saw giant holes in Trump‘s answers, you‘re not alone. It turns to out more and more Republican leaders agree with you.

The latest development, a surprise veto from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on a birther bill requiring presidential candidates to prove that they are American citizens. As Brewer vetoed it, she even called the measure “a bridge too far.” And Brewer‘s far from the only right-winger now pushing back against the birther movement, some of whom say Trump is ridiculous for embracing it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: The idea that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, being—making that the centerpiece of his campaign, means that he is just, you know, now a joke candidate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think President Obama was born in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you support a Donald Trump candidacy, especially with all of this birther talk?

REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, MAJORITY LEADER: No, I don‘t think he is really serious when we launch—see a campaign launched on the birther issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY ®, FMR. MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR: Look, these guys have figured out that the birther issue is a surefire loser in a general election. They know that Independents who swing national elections don‘t want to hear any kind of nonsense like this. But here is their dilemma. Many on the far right do want to hear it, which is why they like Trump. In the last year, 13 state legislatures have considered a variety of different birther measures, and a new poll finds that almost half of Iowa Republicans don‘t believe Barack Obama was born in the United States. Back in February, 51 percent of Republican primary voters nationwide said they didn‘t believe Obama was born in the country. So, when the Donald uses the birther issue as his trump card, he wins with the Republican voters and loses with the party leaders. And that‘s what‘s ripping apart the GOP right now.

Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, and Bill Press, host of “The Bill Press show” on Sirius Radio.
It‘s good to have you guys back together.

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Here we are. Hi, Pat.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: How are you?

PRESS: All right.

UYGUR: All right. We got the crew back together. All right. So—

PRESS: The boys.

UYGUR: That‘s right. Pat, let start with you.

BUCHANAN: Sure.

UYGUR: Is this the Republican Party‘s leadership going, oh, no, no, no, get away, run away as quickly as possible from this birther issue?

BUCHANAN: I don‘t think the Republican Party is a monolith at all. I tend to agree with what Mitt Romney said when he said, I believe Barack Obama was born in Honolulu. I believe the newspapers are probably dead-accurate on that. But at the same time, I do agree with Donald Trump when he said, “Why is Barack Obama toying with the American people?” Why doesn‘t he just produce this and end this controversy? I think it shows a real arrogance of power. And secondly, I will say this—why does not the White House press corps really push the press secretary and say, look, end this controversy, produce it, and get it over with?

PRESS: Well, I am a member of the White House press corps, Pat, and I‘ve got to tell you why we don‘t raise it at the press corps, because there are more important issues, like what‘s happening with the debt, what‘s happening with the deficit, what‘s happening in Libya, what‘s happening in Iraq, what‘s happening with jobs. This is a total non-issue. And Pat, in 2007, the president produced his birth certificate. The state of Hawaii, too. They did. They put it up online. That‘s what they do in Hawaii. End of story.

But Cenk is right, too. Do you really think, Pat, back in 1961, that some woman in Kenya who gave birth to a baby said, now, we have to plant a story somewhere—somewhere. Let‘s pick Honolulu and two newspapers, and put two notices in the newspaper because someday, this little kid who is an hour old is going to run for president of the United States and has to have some evidence that he was born in this country? Come on!

UYGUR: That‘s a good question, Pat. Do you believe it?

BUCHANAN: No, I said I think the guy was born in Honolulu, but I want to know why the press corps doesn‘t take one question to the press secretary and—

PRESS: We have, Pat. We have.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: We are not going to play your game.

BUCHANAN: Tell me, Bill, when you say to Jay Carney, “Jay, why doesn‘t the president just release the birth certificate, get this over it with?” It is an enormous distraction for the country. MSNBC is transfixed with it. They ought to focus on the issues you talked about—Libya and Iraq. So, please, Jay, ask the president to release his birth certificate for us.

PRESS: Well, I want to do you one better, Pat. If you actually Google, right, “Obama, birther,” and you look at it, then you will find that the person who asked the question in the press briefing room was me, Bill Press, about a year and a half ago, of Robert Gibbs. I didn‘t wait for Jay Carney. And Robert Gibbs laid it all out, Pat.

BUCHANAN: What did Gibbs say?

PRESS: And nobody else is going to go there because we‘re more serious than that.

UYGUR: Pat, but it seems to he me—Pat, you are falling into the same trap. I mean, you are talking about is it birth certificate, or a certificate of birth, when you know he was born in Honolulu. Everybody sane knows he was born in Honolulu. So why are you wasting your time on it and possibly costing yourself a general election?

BUCHANAN: Well, first, I‘m not running in the general election. Second, I‘m wasting my time because you invited me on here to talk about the birther issue.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

UYGUR: That‘s what I‘m asking you, Pat, is it a terrible idea for the Republicans to go down this road?

BUCHANAN: Hold it. Well, for heaven‘s sakes, Republicans taken care of themselves. Look, but here is what I‘m saying, is he did he issue the certificate of live birth. And behind that, clearly, the governor of Hawaii, or health officials, say, I‘ve seen the birth certificate, it‘s right there. And the president will not release it. All I‘m asking is why. I think you were born in Hawaii. Everybody does, Mr. President. Why don‘t you let us see it? It‘s a collector‘s item.

PRESS: He has released it. And this is the issue, Cenk. The issue is that there are too many Republicans like Pat who know it‘s not an issue, but who won‘t just dump on it and just—like Karl Rove has done. Karl Rove said this is a distraction, don‘t talk about it. There are too many who want to have it both ways.

UYGUR: But look, Bill—hold on for one second, Pat. Let me press on that. Is this a Frankenstein that they created and they were very happy with it? Like, insinuating, I don‘t know, this guy is kind of another (ph), et cetera? But now that it‘s real, they‘re like, oh my God, we‘re going to lose the general election, backpedal, backpedal, backpedal. So it‘s their fault, right?

PRESS: Well, the Supreme Court ahs refused three times to hear it. I think they created this, and now it‘s backfiring on them. And the problem is that Donald Trump won‘t shut up. You just saw that interview with Isikoff. He‘s not going to drop it, because look what it has done for him. He went from being a clown to being number one or number two in the polls.

BUCHANAN: But look, you know, let me just say, look, Cenk, the issue of the birthers, before the election I got e-mails on the stuff. And you get them—thanks—you read them and drop them off. I‘ve never raised it, I have never written a column on it, but I have been invited here hundreds of times to talk about the issue. Now, look, first, you‘ve got the birthers who love the issue. Then you‘ve got MSNBC loves the issue. And “The Donald” loves the issue. And everybody seems to be having a nice time.

UYGUR: No, no, because—I‘ll tell you why, Pat.

BUCHANAN: (INAUDIBLE) close to it by asking the president, please, Mr. President—

(CROSSTALK)

UYGUR: Pat, it‘s online already. They already saw it. All those crazy theories have been debunked. Oh, it didn‘t have the number. It does have the number. It‘s already online, Pat. So—

BUCHANAN: Send a copy to me.

UYGUR: Well, I can show you the Web address. But look, one thing. Hold on. Because Pat, here is the thing. The reason why it‘s an important issue is obviously, it is ripping your party apart, right? And it looks like there was basically a memo sent to all the Republicans saying, OK, run away from this. I mean, you‘ve got Rove, you‘ve got Pawlenty, you‘ve got Romney, you‘ve got Cantor. They‘re all saying it at the same time and they‘re throwing Trump under the bus. And that‘s what I‘m asking you about. Do you think the Republican leadership has said, OK, we‘ve got to run away from this thing?

BUCHANAN: All right. Now you‘re talking serious politics. OK? Now, I understand why Romney is saying what he is saying, and Pawlenty and the others. But let me tell you, you‘ve 74 percent if you add the people—half of the Iowa Republicans who say he wasn‘t born in the United States and the 26 percent say they don‘t know, that is three-fourths of the Iowa Republican voters. And if Donald Trump is appealing to them politically, then that is not necessarily foolish politics in the narrow short term for him to out there. And those guys—each of these candidates out there—I mean, Romney is taking a position for the general election, quite clearly. But I‘m telling you, you get 76 percent of the voters out there, or 74 percent, I‘d go out there. And you know what I‘d say? I believe he was born in Hawaii, but I agree with you folks, we ought to see the birth certificate. And then I would move on to my issues.

PRESS: See, that—

BUCHANAN: And I think I‘d do very well, as I did last time.

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS: Pat, you know what your guy once said famously, “There you go again,” Pat. But you know, Cenk, here is the problem, right? At some point, the party has got to decide, are they going to appeal to the fringe—

BUCHANAN: Party?

PRESS: — which—wait, Pat. Wait. I listened to you—in these Tea Party caucuses in Iowa, or do they want to win an election in 2012? They are not going to win on this issue, and they‘ve got to get away from it. And now it has gotten so ridiculous that the statesman person in the party is Jan Brewer, who rose to the occasion last night and vetoed this bill. But in Arizona, they said, well, if you don‘t have a birth certificate, you can give us your certificate of circumcision. I have read the Constitution. I don‘t see where in the Constitution -
-
UYGUR: All right. Pat, last word. Last word.

BUCHANAN: Let me just make one more point here. Look, Bill talks about the Republican Party as though it‘s a monolith or an elite. The Republican Party is going to put down the directive that nobody can talk about this or that.

PRESS: They better.

BUCHANAN: We don‘t want that. We want a robust debate. Frankly, I‘d love Ron Paul in there with his views on foreign policy. I‘d love to see Sarah Palin with her views on right to life and social conservative. I‘ve got no problem with Donald Trump, if he wants to raise that issue or any issue. Let the voters decide, for heaven‘s sake, instead of the party, here‘s what you must do. And Karl Rove telling us the positions we must take, I don‘t care what it is.

UYGUR: Well, all right. Pat‘s very clear on the record. You coming back in, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I‘m thinking of it.

(LAUGHTER)

UYGUR: All right. OK.

PRESS: I want to see your birth certificate. Right now.

BUCHANAN: I‘ve got it, Providence Hospital, Bill.

UYGUR: All right.

MSNBC political analyst and possible future candidate, Pat Buchanan.

PRESS: Heard it here first.

UYGUR: That‘s right. And Bill Press. Thank you both, guys.

BUCHANAN: Thank you.

PRESS: Thanks, Cenk.

UYGUR: All right.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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