Friday, August 22, 2014
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GOP Senate candidate proposes 'birther' agency

Pete Hoekstra, a former Michigan congressman running for U.S. Senate, is catching flak for proposing a new federal office to check the credentials of future presidential candidates, including verification that they are "natural born" U.S. citizens - as the Constitution requires.

GOP Senate candidate proposes 'birther' agency

Now, from Michigan, a Senate candidate takes the subculture of “birtherism” to new heights:

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, running for the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, earlier this month called for the creation of a new federal agency to scrutinize the birth certificates of presidential candidates. He made the proposal in response to a voter’s question at a tea party town hall meeting.

Democrats seized on Hoekstra’s appearance with the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots, which was first reported Wednesday by The Hill newspaper. Donald Trump and other Republicans have recently embraced the contention that President Obama was not born in the U.S. and thus is constitutionally ineligible for office, despite overwhelming evidence that the president was born in Hawaii.

In the video, a man asks Hoekstra’s thoughts on the birth-certificate matter.

“Sure. I mean, I think — you know, I think, throw something at me if you want, I think with this president, the book is closed, all right?” Hoekstra says. “It’s kind of like, I hate to say it, but I think the debate’s over — we lost that debate, and we lost that debate in 2008, when our presidential nominee said, ‘I ain’t talking about it.’ OK, I’m sorry.

“But I do now believe that I’d like to establish a three-person office in Washington, D.C., OK — knowing it, we’ll go to five (audience laughs). But there’s no reason why we should have this kind of question, you know, for the president of the United States. So that at any future election, all right, that someone would have to walk into that office, and prove that they meet the minimum qualifications to be president of the United States.”

Hoekstra went on to say that one member of the birth-certificate panel should be from the FBI and another from the CIA. [The candidate’s campaign spokesman told The Grand Rapids Press Wednesday that he believes Obama is a citizen.]

“Pete Hoekstra’s idea for a federal birther office shows how extreme he would be in the U.S. Senate,” said Shripal Shah, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

In a CNN interview, Hoekstra defended the idea of checking the creds of future presidential candidates, and angrily fended off an accusation that he is running a racially loaded campaign. The background: During the Super Bowl, he ran a widely criticized ad featuring a Chinese woman, in broken English, “thanking” Stabenow for borrowing so much money from China to finance federal spending.

Here is Hoekstra making his proposal:

 

Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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