July 13th, 2010
03:46 PM ET
12 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. sheppard

    Getting hard-up (no pun intended) for a smoke screen, isn't he. I want to see sarah's high school diploma – you betcha!

    July 13, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Allison

    How do these unintelligent, racist bigots keep getting into office? Besides the fact that Obama's birth has been proven over and over and over. When times are bad for some people, they lose all sense of reason and resort to blaming (usually minorities) and conspiracy theories to explain their personal miseries. It's how the least intelligent have always acted throughout history and history has always shown how misguided they were. Since Bush and the Republicans wrecked our economy, I've been shocked to see the racism, xenophobia, hate, fear, and blame climb to such high levels.

    July 13, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Florida Joe

    Given his past affairs with prostitutes I'm sure Sen Vitter does not what to get anywhere near a court of law..........What a fool, the voters need to rid themselves of this type of slime............

    July 13, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Laurie

    Absolutely creepy from an absolute creep. Why anybody on the face of this nation would vote for him or any of his disrespectful, creepy Republican colleagues is beyond me.

    July 13, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Janet

    Democrats....just remember all these fantasies when it comes time to vote! Republicans....really? One word...ignorance

    July 13, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Len Smith

    Just consider the source. What was it he did in DC with a prostitute, play checkers?

    July 13, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. markus

    "WILLARD BULLOCK July 13th, 2010 4:13 pm ET

    I am belived that obama was born in keyna hosptial so his mother trying take him bring transfer to place in hawaii"

    I am belive that WILLARD BULLOCK is bigoted illiterate...

    July 13, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. LawDog

    To all you "birthers", LISTEN!!!

    The Obama campaign released a 2007 certified copy of his birth certificate (in this instance referred to as a "Certification of Live Birth") that states Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. Frequent arguments of those questioning Obama's eligibility are that he has not released a photocopy of his "original" birth certificate, and that the use of the term "certification of live birth" on the document means it is not equivalent to one's "birth certificate". These arguments have been debunked numerous times by media investigations, every judicial forum that has addressed the matter, and Hawaiian government officials, a consensus of whom have concluded that the certificate released by the Obama campaign is indeed his official birth certificate. Asked about this, Hawaiian Department of Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo stated that Hawaii "does not have a short-form or long-form certificate." Moreover, the director of her Department has confirmed that the state "has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."

    Hawaii DOES NOT have a long or short form...the birth certificate is REAL....deal with it and just admit it....You and these '"tea party" idoits are just RACIST and don't want a BLACK president....deal with it...you lost.....just like we dealt with the 8 years of HELL during the Bush Administration

    July 13, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Marge

    Well now, I have to say, we had a guy who got approval from congress to run for the presidency who was born in Mexico..Romney's father. Romney's grandfather who is supposed to have denounced his citizenship and moved to Mexico after it was made a law that you couldn't have multiple wives. Romney's grandfather was a Mormon. Romney's father was then born in Mexico. NOW, how could congress approve him to run for president when he was born in Mexico. They said he was born of American parents. Big Deal. That doesn't count he wasn't born in the USA but then the republicans in congress voted for him to be approved as a candidate and that was that. Obama was born in the USA and the REPUBLICANS who are messing their pants because a Democrat won a legal election and didn't have to get the supreme court to appoint him is president. They are using this crap about not being born in the USA AS A dodge to spread hate about an African American DEMOCRAT. They can't stand for a Democrat to beat their POS;s candidates.

    July 13, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Gale

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

    July 13, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |

    YES! There are many, many, many Americans who want the truth out of OBAMA and what his agenda is. He certainly is not for the welfare of the American people. If he is not an American citizen then there is no cause to impeach him. But there is cause to bring criminal charges against him in the most severest order. We need it done like YESTERDAY. QUIT STALLING.

    July 13, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Jan

    I am so tired of these stupid people who will try anything to get Obama out of office. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, but nothing is said about that, and he was 4th from the bottom in his Naval Accadamy Class and they are not suppose to become pilots, but he did, and Daddy helped him not only into the Accadamy, but to become a pilot. Why don't we investigate that!!!

    I voted for Obama and am proud of it. I think he is doing a great job considering what he was left to work with and we need to get behind him and make this a great country again instead of finding fault with everything.

    I would think that Vitter would be more concerned about the oil problem in his state, which more than like was caused by deregulation.........can you say Dick Chaney!!!!!

    July 13, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. Drayj

    @ Dave – July 13th, 2010 4:22 pm ET
    American Patriot- a "real" Democrat July 13th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

    If you're born in the United States (any one of the 50) with proof furnished by a birth certificate and stamped seal (Obama furnished it to the Public and Government) ; You can hold political office.....What part of that do you not understand idiot?
    He's never produced the long form dummies!!!
    Hawaii has a Republican Governor. If there was any way in God's Green earth that he could have shown that the birth certificate was not real he would have. He personally verified that it was authentic. "the long form" LOL. How long does a birth certificate have to be to be official? Just admit it, you hate having a black President. Stop all the lies. GW Bush never produced a long form either. His was certified by his state just like Obama's. What is the difference – nothing except haters can't stop hating cause that is all they have in life to hang on to. Silly Rabbits! LOL

    July 13, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Translation: "I'm a Republican, and I revel and glory in ignorance, revile and resent anyone highly educated, and find inconvenient facts to be messy...and therefore, I shall pander to my minions by telling them that there's an easy, simple, "common sense" solution to incredibly complex and imbedded societal problems that actually would require sacrifice and altruism to solve effectively. Broken economy? No problem! Just leave it alone and poof...it regulates and fixes itself! Health care system broken? Easy peasy! We'll give everyone a chicken! Afraid of everyone brown? Not to worry! We'll demonize them, borrow trillions of dollars to bomb their countries, promise to kick them all out of our country and then blame them for the massive debts taboot! Angry about falling behind because your salary never grows and everything else gets more and more expensive? Worry no more! We'll convince you it's really because of your taxes while we reduce taxes for your employers and promise you (with a wink) that it will magically turn into jobs and raises for middle-class workers (that never come for 3 decades)! Confused and bewildered by all that "science" everyone's always using to conjure up informed decisions? Never fear! It's really just a conspiracy and the invisible man in the sky is going to smite them all! We have all your simple ideas and easy answers right here...and you too can enjoy them with this shiny new tinfoil hat! Lovingly hand-crafted in Indonesian basements by 8-year-old amputees working for 8 cents per day, these stunning idea reception devices normally go for $99 in specialty shoppes around the country, but we're slashing prices. That's right...for only 3 easy installments of $19.99, you too can join the hordes of millions convinced that facts, evidence and a healthy dose of education are not the routes to solutions, but rather a giant plot to turn the country into a muslim socialist foreigner's dictatorial utopia. Order now and we'll throw in a second tinfoil hat for free! Offer good while supplies last. Do not wear near microwaves, powerlines, during electrical storms or in your tub with your toaster...."

    July 13, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. Nathan

    Has anyone checked to see where the prostitutes Vitter used to frequent were born. Either this guy is a master of disguise or the people of Louisiana are downright stupid. The woman of La must be brain dead. This guy hates woman and sees them only as objects. He frequents prostitutes he must think its ok to threaten to stab your girlfriend. When will the people especially the women of La wake up.

    July 13, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. FactCheck

    Good to see the Republican and their wing-but followers trying to stick by the same old garbage. I would hate to think that they would have evolved in any way. But then again, they don't believe in evolution.

    July 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Tom

    Vitter should be Palin's running mate.

    July 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Not Republican

    A large porftion of the GOP voting block in incased in an impenetrable balloon of fictional nonsense. Fear (WMD), biggotry, and pure unadulterated hipocracy (Christian? Not even close). If you disagree and you still support people like Vitter, enough said.

    July 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. Sthamikat

    Their (Party of NO) biggest complaints lately have been that Obama has been playing golf and now they're bringing up old issues like the birth certificate. Sounds pretty darn desperate to me. If that's all they got......

    July 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tsk, tsk, tsk Sen. Vittles (yeah, I know is Vitters, but who cares really?).
    This is the most piss-poor backa$$wards atempt at deflection that I've seen from you since.....YESTERDAY.

    There's a lot of weed growing in YOUR garden Senator. Go tend to it.
    Stop asking people to make a left turn in the middle of the street hoping that the ensuing chaos will draw attention away from the fact that you're not even qualified to pass out flyers to a two-bit peep show, much less run for public office.

    For someone who belongs to the party of 'fiscal conservativism', you sure do like to waste the taxpayers money with bogus, old, been-there-settled-that charges.

    July 13, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Steph

    Oh my goodness! One search of factcheck.org shows you that everyone and their sister has seen, touched and could have tasted his long form birth certificate by now. I swear the only thing that would make you crazy nut jobs happy would be an actual picture of him coming out of his mother's womb with a big "Welcome to Hawaii" sign as a backdrop.

    July 13, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. American

    In order to be eligible to serve as president, you must be a natural born citizen. This means born in the United States. Military families and State Department families (as examples) serving their country abroad have the natural born right by virtue of service. U.S. Citizens living, traveling abroad normally don't have this same right. Obama's mother was married to a Kenyan Citizen and was either in Kenya or Hawaii. If she gave birth to Obama in Keya, he is not a natural born citizen. If he was born in Hawaii, he is a natural born citizen. The birth certificate posted by Obama was a computer generated version. Where is the typewriter written Original Birth Certificate?

    July 13, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Hank

    This man's history with prostitutes would show that he has serious mental health problems(wear diapers). He is an embarrassment to the U. S. Senate and to his home state. He has lied so much that no one can trust him. Hawaii has furnished a copy of the birth certificate and that is sufficient. Maybe the thinks Clinton was born in Mexico.

    July 13, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Jim

    "John July 13th, 2010 4:12 pm ET

    CNN, that's a COLB that was released, not a birth certificate. Certificates Of Live Birth are issued to people coming from other countries."

    I must be from another country then, I mean in 1956 when Pennsylvania issued a Certificate of live birth to my parents when I was born, wow I bet that means my US Passport isn't real either –

    Birther morons...

    July 13, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Conservative Democrat

    When ignorant people like this guy can get elected to the Senate, is it any wonder why our country is in such trouble? Can he not read the Constitution. Not only was Mr. Obama born in the USA, his mother is an American citizen, so that automatically makes him an American citizen. How did this guy become Senator? He doesn't even have the balls to stand up to the whackjobs in his own party?

    July 13, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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