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"Birther" Comments Hurt Rick Perry's Tax Plan Rollout

Rick Perry wants to talk about his flat tax...when he's not busy questioning where President Obama was born.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News.
Rick Perry wants to talk about his flat tax...when he's not busy questioning where President Obama was born.

The Perry campaign has been dogged by critics for not having any detailed economic plans in place at the start of his run for President. Tuesday, the Governor released the "flat tax" and balanced budget proposals as part of his series of detailed plans for how to turn the U.S. economy around.

But the first question Perry answered from reporters after the big announcement of his "flat tax" and plan to balance the federal budget was on his statements on the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.

Followers of the so called "Birther" movement believe the President is NOT a U.S. citizen and therefore is ineligible to be President. Even thought the President has released his Hawaii birth certificate.

Gov. Perry re-visited the idea that Mr. Obama was not born in the U.S. in an interview published over the weekend in the Sunday newspaper supplemental Parade Magazine. Here's the exchange from that interview:

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. 

And he's right. It has been a distraction - from his own economic policies. While there are more news stories on Perry's flat tax then on the "Birther" issue, most major publications and broadcasters have given equal time to both stories, instead of focusing all of their "Perry" time on the new tax plan.

That includes a handful of negative responses from FOX News on Perry using the "Birther" topic on the campaign trail.

The Governor is getting ready to hit the road in New Hampshire and Iowa for a couple of weeks of retail campaigning before another GOP debate on November 9th.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.