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Perry: “I Don’t Have Any Idea” If Obama Birth Certificate Is Real

Candidate Rick Perry gives his campaign speech to a crowd in Orange City, Iowa on October 8, 2011.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune
Candidate Rick Perry gives his campaign speech to a crowd in Orange City, Iowa on October 8, 2011.

Maybe you thought President Obama releasing his long form birth certificate would put to rest the conspiracy theories over whether he’s really “one of us.” Apparently, not in the mind of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Parade Magazine published an interview with Governor Perry this weekend that included such personal tidbits like what’s in his fridge (Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, whole milk, orange juice, Texas steak, red wine) and what’s on his iPod (Beethoven, Clay Walker, Pink Floyd).

But when the interview turned to Barack Obama’s national origins, Perry didn’t seem too convinced that the current president of the United States is constitutionally eligible to live in the White House.  

Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States? I have no reason to think otherwise.  That’s not a definitive, “Yes, I believe he”—  Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate.  But you’ve seen his. I don’t know. Have I?  You don’t believe what’s been released? I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.  And? That came up.  And he said? He doesn’t think it’s real.  And you said? I don’t have any idea. It doesn’t matter. He’s the President of the United States. He’s elected. It’s a distractive issue. 

Witnessing a floundering presidential campaign dip a toe into the birtherism waters has proven to be hearty gristfor the media mill. Former Bush advisor Karl Rove said on Fox News, "You associate yourself with a nutty view like that, and you damage yourself,” urging Perry not to associate himself with such a “fringe group.”

The Christian Science Monitor asks if Donald Trump, who teased at running for president this year, turned Gov. Perry into a birther, while’s Steve Kornacki writes that the comments show Perry is “bad -- really, really bad -- at running for president.”

The National Review’s media blog defends the Texas Governor, saying that “Perry had just about had it with the interviewer’s attempt at gotcha questions at the start and let a little bit of his anger get away from him.”

Gov. Perry’s poll numbers have been sinking over the past few weeks following a series of lackluster debate performances, and a Texas Tribune survey of “political insiders” found that half of respondents thought his campaign was going worse than expected.

Hoping to turn things around, Gov. Perry announced today that he is shaking up his campaign team and bringing in former advisors to President George W. Bush and former Senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole. The campaign is also launching a TV advertising campaign in Iowa.

Tomorrow, Gov. Perry will formally unveil his flat tax proposal near Greenville, South Carolina. KUT’s Ben Philpott will be there to cover it.  

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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