In a rare move, President Obama directly addressed “birther” conspiracies Thursday, suggesting that presidential candidates who’ve decided to entertain the theories may find themselves in electoral trouble.
Obama told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that most general election voters are not “birthers,” people who question Obama’s birthplace of Hawaii:
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 [it] 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. He–he doesn’t have horns…we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or–or birth certificates.
Obama added that most people are more concerned about the economy and candidates who provide solutions to the nation’s fiscal woes than about questioning the president’s birthplace.The president and his administration have largely avoided weighing in on “birther” talk.
But that doesn’t seem to be the new strategy.
Last night, Obama took a jab at “birthers” during his appearance at a Chicago fundraiser saying, “I wasn’t born here–just want to be clear … I was born in Hawaii,” he said to audience laughter and applause. “But I became a man here in Chicago.”
He similarly made light of the controversy in front of another Democratic audience last month, saying: “I think there’s nothing–there’s no weakness in us trying to reach out and seeing if we can find common ground. Now, there are going to be times where we can’t. I was born in Hawaii, what can I say? I mean, I just … I can’t change those facts.”