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. T'SAH from Virginia

    I cannot believe that some of these bloggers truly believe that President Obama is not a citizxen. If his mother was, he is – PERIOD!!!

    If I am pregnant and go on vacation to Africa and – "OH NO – my FREAKING water BROKE – OH MY GOD – I'm in LABOR!!!!!!"

    I am RUSHED to the hospital and BAM!!! – a baby is born!!!

    "Ahh, look at my beautiful baby" – Oh, the first thing I have to do when I get home is get his birth certificate authenticated – I mean, I am an American Citizen!!!!!"

    YOU HATERS NEED TO STFU!!!!!

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. JOhn

    They can hold it in thier own hands, and still deny it. They can swim in the oil in the gulf and still call for deregulation. They can attend funerals of mine workers killed by lack of regulation and still not get it. They get their taxes lowered and then start groups to protest high taxes, they refuse unemployment benefits to those stuggling the most because it adds to the defecit but support renewing the unpaid Bush tax cuts that add 100 times more to the defecit but aid the rich, they act like they have never seen a teleprompter and they get caught writing simplet htoughts on thier hands, they know where the WMD's are that never existed. These are not rational or same people. Today's GOP is teh biggest threat this country faces. Terrorist, economy, world desputes, trade, enviroment, all these things we face are dangerous but Republicans in power should scare any rational person.

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Dee

    I am so sick and tired of these republicans.

    They absolutely hate this president. Never do they try to work with him.

    If you wonder what is wrong with this country listen to the Limbaughs, Becks and Hannity's. They also hate this president. Unfortunately they have this following of people that believe everything he says.

    I lost my job of 35 years and lost HEAVILY on my 401K. Guess what
    Republicans this happened on your PRESIDENTS watch not on Obama's.

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Dale

    Please don't argue with the conspiracy theorists. Birthers are like flat earthers and Fake moon landing folks. Logic, facts, data, and expert testimony won't change their minds, but the mere act of arguing with them encourages their special brand of lunacy.

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Another day....another lunatic birther.

    Polls are definitely good for one thing: they get the frothing at the mouth, beyond-all-hope-and-repair right fringe in a serious dither. I guess once they saw the poll about President Barack Hussein Obama's numbers being at an all time low, even Senators like Vittles here had to milk that for what it was worth. NEWSFLASH: polls don't mean squat. Do the words 'media spin' mean anything to you? How about 9 out of 10 Americans NEVER get polled in their lifetime? Okay, how about 'who cares?'.

    President Barack Hussein Obama was duly elected president of all these so-called United States. He didn't steal the elction via his brother Jeb, nor was he APPOINTED president by the Supreme Court. He was elected by the people. And we the people think he is doing an outstanding job.

    Deal with it Vittles.

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Gasstationman

    Typical pandering to birthers, tea baggers, and other nuts by the Republican party. They are running out of supporters because they have such a small base.

    July 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. johnRJ08

    Lunatics. The Republican Party has been over run by raving lunatics. What's even more frightening is that there are people in this country who actually take them seriously.

    July 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Chris

    I'm waiting for them to claim he's a robot from the future trying to soften us up for the rise of the machines... The Bro-anator!

    July 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Mike Kowalczyk, San Geronimo

    The birthers claims are not just fictional non-sense, they are shameful, racist, un-American lies. Birther politicians are lowest common denominator cynics, willing to appeal to our lowest fears and demons in spite of hard facts to the contrary. Shame.

    July 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Arnie

    John:

    I am an American, born in the great State of North Carolina, in 1959. I just pulled out my certified certificate and it says: "North Carolina State Board of Health – Office of Vital Statistics – Certificate of Live Birth." So, is North Carolina an "other country"? I think not! Also, I was born "alive" not "dead"!

    July 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. tejasoutlaw

    Millions unemployeed, 2 wars, a just say no Republican Party and this guy is has nothing better to do then talk about this nonesense. He doesn't say to conservitive groups to spend their time and resources creating jobs, or bringing or troops home he says I hope the spend time and money on this rediculas consperiacy theory.

    What a joke.

    July 13, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Carl

    We think people who attack the President on this ground are racist because they ARE. This is not about attacking his policies but attacking his skin color. No one CONTINUES to question Gerald Ford or John McCain's eligibility to be president. Ford was adopted and McCain was NOT BORN IN THE US. That being said, both have documents that prove they are US citizens and born to US parents. Obama's Mom has not said he was born in Kenya. Kenya has not said he was born in Kenya. The Kenyan birth certificate was created by a blogger to show just how nuts you birther types are, took pictures and video as he created it and let you all go nuts on it. Obama was born in Hawaii. There are birth announcements from the time in the local papers, a valid certificate, etc. Admit you don't like dark skinned people, or move onto what you don't like about his policies.

    July 13, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Sometimes you feel like a nut

    Still Grasping at straws.
    It gets old....sigh.......

    July 13, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Augsbee

    Response to Gwen: Obama's mother was 3 months pregnant when she married her boyfriend from Africa. He was a student in Hawaii and already had a wife in Africa. Have you read on Obama????? I did.

    July 13, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Eric31m

    Still waiting for Obama to provide his long-form birth certificate. He has provided his short form. That's unacceptable. What's he hiding?

    July 13, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. L.O.

    Typical conservative sleaze and stupidity.....

    July 13, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Jeff in Virginia

    20% of our country, the Bush dead-enders, believe in this birther nonsense. I say let them.

    There is no need to encourage this, CNN.

    July 13, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Jane

    THE STATE of Hawaii has authenticated his birth record. PERIOD. I don't think they are lying and yes, they released it , this is the kind of Birth record Hawaii did . Geez. Why do we keep listening to Idiotic nonsense and worse elect them. Talk abt dumbing down of America, this birther movement proves it, GO TO FACTCHECK. and they will explain it to you doubters out there. If anyone takes it to court now they will be charged with wasting courts time and be fined. As they have been done already. Jane

    July 13, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Carl

    I'm not sure I get it. What more do people want? You show them a copy of the real birth certificate and they still demand to see it. Wake up people, you've seen it already!! I guess you should blame Barack's mom for not video tapping the actual birth.. but I'm use even that wouldn't make you believe it.

    Anyone supporting these wild and silly accusations are only praying on the weak minded and trying to spread fear – but that's a tactic Republicans have used for ages...

    July 13, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    And where were Mr. Vitter born? Louisianians should fire this idiot for playing on their intergrity to elect a sound hard working Senator to work for them, instead of a diaper wearing "hoe-monger" who paraded his wife in front of cameras to keep his job. Hey, idiots, Hawaii IS part of the United States! Or is it that all Black people are considered illegal to the misfits of our country?

    July 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Mr. Moderate

    My birth certificate from Missouri says "Certificate of Live Birth" Also, its a copy because the original was lost. Guess my dream of being president is over.

    C'mon, you reallty believe that the FBI and Secret Service did not look into this? Or are they in on it too?

    And even if it were true, they don't call a do over. Biden would become president.

    July 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. timz

    Shouldn't we be more concerned about the birth certificates of Sen. Vitter's call girls? How old are these young ladies?

    July 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Mark

    When Mann Coulter and Bill O'Reily all the birthers nut jobs then you know they have gone so far to the right you can't even see them.

    There are verified news paper birth announcements in Hawaiian papers at the time of his birth. Are birthers really trying to believe there was a conspiracy hatched decades ago to put real birth announcements in newspapers so a boy born in Kenya could someday become president of the US?

    These birthers are the best thing for the democratic party because NOBODY who would even consider voting for a democrat believes this nonsense. It is called preaching to the choir.

    July 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Just another birther moron on the radar! Don't we have enough problems without this nonsense always coming up? I sure don't recall any WHITE MAN running for President accused of presenting false birth documents! Seems a bit suspicious to me that noone ever heard anything about a birther conspiracy until President Obama took office! I wonder why that is!

    July 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. ja

    many of today's policticans are idiotic, racist, narrow minded and hide behind the cross or this thing called family values, which with most don't exsit, also self-serving, what happened to governing for the masses not just the corporate giants, and super rich

    July 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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