(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.