In an interview tonight with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s World News Tonight, President Obama laughed off Donald Trump and the birthers, and said that birtherism is a GOP problem because, “Most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. He– he doesn’t have horns.”
Here’s the video:
Here is the transcript from ABC News:
George Stephanopoulos: I wonder how you size up your potential opponents? I mean all of us have been struck by Donald Trump rising to the top of the Republican field by feeding fantasies about your background. What do you make of that?
President Obama: Well you know, I think that over the last two and a half years there’s been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans. But creates, I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. (LAUGHS) He– he doesn’t have horns.
We may disagree with him on some issues and we may wish that you know, the unemployment rate was coming down faster and we want him to know his plan on gas prices. But we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or– or birth certificates. And so– I– I think it presents a problem for them. But, look I right now have such a big day job that I am not yet focused on what’s happening on the other side. There’ll be a time where I’m– I’m very focused on it.
Judging from the President’s reaction it is easy to see why Obama is welcoming Donald Trump and his birther circus into the 2012 race. The President is correct that birtherism is an effort to attack him and raise doubts about him by labeling him as different from most Americans. In the mind of a certain species of Republican, Obama is “The Other,” and the other is always something to be feared.
Republicans are hoping beyond hope that if they can scare enough Americans into believing that Obama is dangerous because he is different, so that they can take back the White House in 2012 Of course when they tried this very same strategy in 2008, it backfired and made Obama even more popular, so it’s nice to see that the Republican grassroots has collectively learned nothing since 2008.
Unlike what the conspiracy theorists portray, Obama seemed pretty happy to get to talk about the birther question, which is a pretty big sign that this isn’t an issue. None of this has stopped opportunists like Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee from using birther buzz words as an appeal to Republican primary voters.
It is a sign of just how far the Republican Party has fallen. Potential Republican presidential candidates have gone from arguing about conservatism to trying to woo voters by out birthering each other.
Every time Donald Trump goes off in the media about Obama’s birth certificate, it presents a problem for the GOP, not Barack Obama. The moments that Republicans waste alienating voters with conspiracy theories is time that could have been used to talk about serious issues. Republican strategists keep trying to warn their party, but the GOP rank and file seems hellbent on self destruction by birth certificate.
What the conspiracy theorists on the right can’t comprehend is that the birther merry-go-round is a problem for the Republican Party, not Barack Obama.
Obama doesn’t fear the birther question. He encourages it, and he hopes that Donald Trump never lets it die.