July 13th, 2010
03:46 PM ET
4 years ago

Vitter's 'birther' comments draw heat

Vitter has run into some political stumbling blocks.
Vitter has run into some political stumbling blocks.

(CNN) – Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, already bruised politically for failing to adequately explain why he continued to employ a staffer who was arrested for threatening to stab his girlfriend, is now facing heat over his apparent support of investigations into President Barack Obama's place of birth.

"I personally don't have standing to bring litigation in court," Vitter told voters in Metairie, Louisiana Sunday. "But I support conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court. I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it."

Video of Vitter's remarks were posted by the liberal web site Talking Points Memo on Monday.

When the issue of the president's birthplace first emerged during the 2008 presidential election, the Obama campaign released the then-senator's birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii. In December 2008, after Obama was elected, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man claiming Obama was ineligible to serve as president. Since then, the White House has called doubts from so-called "birthers" that Obama was born in the state of Hawaii "fictional nonsense."

But Vitter wouldn't dismiss the issue outright Sunday, saying, "I know all the information I've been able to get my hands on through the media…But obviously with the mainstream media as a filter, that's not a whole lot."

The comments are proving to be another gift to Democrats who once considered Vitter all but untouchable in his reelection bid. Despite admitted dalliances with an escort service three years ago, Vitter's favorability rating remained high and the Democratic candidate – Rep. Charlie Melancon – has struggled to gain serious footing in the race despite his conservative leanings. Polls before Vitter's latest political foibles showed the Louisiana Republican with a strong double-digit lead over Melancon.

But seizing on this latest opportunity, Melancon's campaign said in a statement that Vitter's remarks were evidence the Louisiana senator was "trying to score political points by perpetuating a completely debunked conspiracy theory."

Vitter was also handed bad news late last week when former Louisiana Supreme Court justice Chet Traylor announced he will challenge Vitter in the state's GOP primary. Traylor told CNN Monday that while he had been considering a run since last summer; it wasn't until the last two weeks that he took another look at the race, after being flooded with calls urging him to run.

Some of those calls came from within the GOP Louisiana establishment, Traylor noted.


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soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. felicia

    Great cnn never mind that he disrepected the President of the us. cnn sucks

    July 13, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Duck Fallas

    You can see Kenya from your front porch in Hawaii.

    July 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Cindy

    The irrational continuation of this issue shows we still have a ways to go with accepting people who look different, or have different sounding names. The USA is not a "singlular ethnic looking" country. Sadly, there are still people who believe it should be. Fathoming a legitimate dark-skinned president is unemaginable to them... he's got to be a fraud!

    Reminds me of the Bruce Lee movie, where his future mother-in-law commented that he wasn't really American (cause he looked asian), even though he was born in San Francisco.

    July 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Augsbee

    Answer to Omnin: In 1937 the US Congress passed a Law that granted US Citizenship to any child born from at least 1 US Citizen in the Panama Canal Zone ( an area occupied by the United States) thus making John McCain a US citizen. Canada is not occupied in any area by the United States.

    July 13, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Patsy, Texas

    You think this is stupid? Have you seen what Rand Paul said lately?
    "the poor in our Country are enormously better off than the rest of
    the world....." HUH? AND, guess what he based this on: A decades old
    Russian propaganda movie that showed poor Americans with
    color TVs.
    Good luck Louisiana and Kentucky. Of course, we Texans have to
    endure Joe Barton. Heaven help us all!!

    July 13, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. pat

    No matter what proof is shoved in front of them, these crazy Republican birthers will never believe the facts. They must have conspiracy theories to thrive. They also believe Obama is a Muslim whose only goal in life is to "take over" the United States and bring in Socialism. In order for this kind of thing to happen, there would have to be many, many Americans in on it, including the American military. How gullible can these crazies be?

    July 13, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Steve

    Birthers are just the last incarnation of wackos on the right. Anyone remember the "Friends of Bill" craziness back when Clinton was president. The wackos declared that Clinton was having his friends killed, who crossed him. sheesh.

    July 13, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    What is it with the Southern States? This is a man who got caught with prostitutes and is still a politician!
    President Obama was born in Hawaii. vitter, on the other hand, crawled out from under some slimy rock.
    If anyone should have been questioned about where they were born it should have been mccain who was born in Panama!!

    July 13, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. TTBALA

    Bill,

    This sure is very different than the Bush, Regan haters, this is not just hate this is downright filthy people who hate blacks, where were the tea baggers when Bush was ruining this country ha, why did they not open their mouth and say a thing about the deficit ha, as soon as we had a black president they reared their heads and started screaming, then they turn around and say no we are not racist, YES YOU ARE AND hypocrites on top of it,

    THIS IS FOR ALL YOU HATEFULL REPUBLICANS WHO ARE CRITICIZING THE PRESIDENT.

    AND YOU MISTER, DAVE, WHY DO YOU THINK THE PRESIDENT SHOULD SHOW YOU HIS LONG FORM AFTER MAKING PUBLIC HIS BIRTH CETIFICATE, DID YOU ASK BUSH ABOUT HIS LONG FORM.

    July 13, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. w l jones

    We have a problem here I look up Louisiana puschers! some body left out the Washitag nation.

    July 13, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Anne P CA

    And the Earth is flat.....

    July 13, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Louis

    Dear Moron Birthers: You must believe that the Hawaii newpapers created fictitious birth announcements for Barack Obama on the off chance he would grow up to run for President and would need proof of citizenship.

    July 13, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Ed FL

    How would a whore master know ,care, or be concerned when an offspring was born . Does he know how many Questionable Kids he has running around any place he has been. Louisiana needs to show this low life the door or put him out in the gulf with all the other garbage.

    July 13, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    @hillary – "so.....where exactly IS the birth certificate? It has never been substantiated to everyone's satisfaction."
    Maybe not to your satisfaction, you and your teabagging friends.
    Do you really think that the FBI and the Secret Service didn't vet President Obama?
    The State of Hawaii has stopped this nonsense because the same people continue to ask for the information as if it's going to change from day to day. Even if Hawaii was not a State when he was born (which it was) everyone automatically becomes a US citizen.
    Just because your failed hero mcnasty and his cronies plucked that AK imbecile for her looks without knowing a darn thing about her or her intellect (LOL) doesn't mean that our FBI and SS are a bunch of incompetent fools like his people.
    Get over it!!

    July 13, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Moby

    Who gives a rip Vitters days are probably numbered. If we are lucky Obama will be done soon too as he matches Vitter in incompetence.

    July 13, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Stewart - Las Vegas

    Considering the level of security clearance that the President has to go through, This is a non issue.

    So cut to the chase here, It's because he is "BLACK" in the eyes of these racist nuts.

    They won't even acknowledge that he is biracial!!!

    So all these folks talking about "taking our country back" is assuming that because he's black, "He stole it"!!!!

    Grip your purses, hide the flat screen, hide the watermelon and fried chicken theres a black man in charge!!!

    These folks must have renewed their KKK membership!!!

    Idiots

    July 13, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. ruty

    Just another sore loser republican. Must be related to McCain and Palin.

    July 13, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Russ in Benton AR

    Vetter is just catering to the ignorant in his state.

    July 13, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. ronnyg

    Vitter is a republican, not a democrat as is stated at one point in your article.

    He is also a hypocrite who said that Bill Clinton should resign when he had a CONSENSUAL affair with Monica Lewinsky while Vitter PAID a prostitute, which must be legal in Louisiana, or else Vitter would be in prison, correct?

    Funny how many of those in the "moral" republican party get caught with their pants down. They are attempting to legislate what they cannot control in themselves.

    July 13, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. single mom

    A 'certificate of live birth' from any state is not sufficient for a teenager to work during the summer for Federal Civil Service. Someone – PLEASE explain to me why it's good enough for the President, but not my son?

    July 13, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Wisconsinite - the GObP Loves Big Oil, But Hates Suffering Americans

    Can anybody name one thing, just ONE thing, that David Vitter has done for the people of Louisana??? Anyone . . . anything???? That's what I thought.

    July 13, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Fred Riek

    A true Republican, inventing (or in this case continuing a ruse after it has been debunked) something for the dummies to hang onto for the purpose of mis-informing their constituents. It is time for the American voters to realize that we do not need this rich man's party that votes in lock step to defeat a Democratic President at the expense of all Americans and our Country. As an Independent, I would love to see a new Party to oppose the Democratic Party, which oftens is ineffective even though they do work hard to represent the middle class and poorer people. I have few bones with the Democrats, but I would like to see a Green Party that could be more effective than the Democrats. But as for the Republican Party, we need to vote out those Republicans in Congress to help fuel the need for a new Party.

    July 13, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Ray in SF

    Love all the "racist" comments if you say anything about Obama. Keep it up. I think dost though protesteth too much. You liberals are the racists.

    July 13, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Ray in SF

    We all are HOPING he wasn't born in the US because we don't know how else to get rid of this incompetent fraud who is destroying this country.

    July 13, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Hall for Obama

    For get the lies President Obama was born in the USA. It is not where he was born these people don't like the fact is he is BLACK and smart on top of that. Vitter can not stand for a half BLACK MAN to be in the white house. GET THE HELL OVER IT HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA.

    July 13, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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