Alarmed by a survey showing 51 percent of Republican primary voters do not believe Barack Obama was born in the U.S. and another 21 percent “not sure,” Bush’s former Brain warns, “Within our party, we’ve got to be very careful about allowing these people who are the Birthers and the 9/11-deniers to get too high a profile and say too much without setting the record straight.”
Translation: The flat-earth faction, if not denounced but at least distanced, might spook independent voters.
Rove’s message is meant for GOP leaders and 2012 aspirants who can’t quite get themselves to unhug the Birthers. “The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there,” John Boehner now says. “That’s good enough for me.” But he adds that Congress is “the melting pot of America. It’s not up to me to tell them what to think.”
Actually, as Speaker of the House, he hasn’t been shy about doing just that, but it can’t be easy to rein in such as Michelle Bachmann who refuses to acknowledge that President is a citizen or a Christian. “That’s not for me to state,” she says with uncharacteristic open-mindedness.
But Sarah Palin has taken some baby steps toward Rove’s advice.