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

Vitter's 'birther' comments draw heat

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/11/art.vitter.gi.jpg caption="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. DanW

    So this guy has found something to spend his time doing instead of helping the country out of the mess it's in. Way to make your mark, Senator.

    July 13, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Dale

    Ok, let's try a a little sarcasm for fun... You know all the lawyers of the whole GOP must be in on the grand conspiracy to hide Obama's birth records. Because they didn't fight his eligibility during the election and they aren't fighting it now. It must be that they are in on it, since the only ones fighting for it are the heros like Palin and Vitter. It is a grand conspiracy all right.

    July 13, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Jim

    I agree, this kind of stuff needs to stop now!! He's in, he's president and if they'd spend two minutes supporting him instead of cutting him down at every aspect we might actually gain some headway on the mess THEY have created, not him!! They are dancing and dancing around that pole that says "racist" just so we don't really know why these white, conservative, so-called Christians are sooooooooo against him (no I'm not black!) I'm so disgusted with all this, this is the worst we've ever looked politically, and its simply a far right group that just must have their way, at any cost. I feel so ashamed these days of both our political system, and the shameful way we no longer support our President.

    July 13, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. John D

    Obama has not proven he is a citizen. That piece of toilet paper he sent out is and was invalid at the time he was born. That could have been obtained by anyone and is not proof of birth. He is not a citizen until he produces one signed by a doctor period. But he can't because HE DOES NOT HAVE ONE!

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

    Gale July 13th, 2010 5:00 pm ET

    Why is it, every time someone disagrees with the President, he is a racist. Why is that not true in the reverse???


    Gale- no one EVER said this. Talk radio and righ twing liars told you this. No one anywhere at anytime has ever been called a racsit for disagreeing with the president. The right has play this race card from the beginning.

    "He only won because he is black" " The blacks just voted for him because he is black" "elteist" "if you disagree they call you a racist"

    The right has not stopped playing the race card from the beginning. Do you real think they picked Steeele because of all the brilliant things he says? They guy has been a disaster and said things anyone else would have been fired for, but they need to keep using him to keep up images.

    July 13, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. js007

    Who are the morons that keep voting for Vitter?

    July 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. unowenghost

    Liberal morons....McCain wasn't eligible either. He was born in Panama on a military base that was "renting" the land so he wasn't a natural born American either. It's a matter of following the Constitution and not bending it to fit your stupid political agendas or left/right ideology. So if a man running for Senator that was veteran has to show proof of citizenship why are Obama or McCain exempt? They aren't so get over it and the Kenyan-born, Muslim supporting, Socialist needs to show is BC, if it exists.

    July 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Bill

    @hilary: You're lying. President Obama's birth documents have been REPEATEDLY released and shown. I have personally corresponded by e-mail with two different reporters in Hawaii who went and got copies form microfiche and printed it in their papers. They've released it so many times that the courts have said they no longer have to respond to weird conspiracy theorists like you who keep asking for it because it's costing them too much time to repond to every nutcase out there,.

    By the way, Senator John McCain was NOT born on US soil, but rather on a us military base overseas. It has NEVER been definitively established that military bases are considered "US soil" under the constitution....he may NOT be legally a senator.


    July 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. Slade

    Obama was born in the states and is a horrendous President and polls say over 60% of the country agree. Vitter is a fool but La politicians are some of the worst.

    July 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. joe "stuck in a redstate"

    Vitter is a clown. The clown performs. Smile at the clown...his show is nearly over.

    My "X" was born in Hawaii on base in 1960. Could we kick her out of the Country? According to the "Barfers", yes... Of course there is that whole nasty state thingie. Perhaps she could be deported...to Arizona.

    Thanks for the laughs GOP...The hits just keep coming !!!

    July 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Charles

    this accusation couild have been buried a long time ago if Obama presented his birth certificate. that should be public property since he is a public figure supported by the taxpayers.

    July 13, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Unfortunately every Republican I know openly admits to being a bigot and none of them went to college. Vitter fits the mold of 2-faced hypocrite...do as I say, not as I do. The Birthers, Sharon Angle and Rand Paul are symbolize the new Conservative Base. Hate is NOT a family value.

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

    We know two facts... Obama is a US citizen and this is another Republican who likes to hand out our tax dollars we provide him to do his job to escorts.

    July 13, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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