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. Cody

    Again and again and again the GOP/Tea party/Fox mindset is to fixate on immaterial minutia, even if it is outside of fact and reality, rather than focus on issues and solutions. Get over it, grow up and look beyond petty politics before you are an asterisk in the history of American politics.

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

    "Why some people can't let it go is a complete mystery."

    WRONG! It's the most transparent thing in DC. Non-white = easier to convince people he's not a natural born Amurikan citizen. Why? Because there's a huge portion of this country that fervently believes in its heart-of-hearts (black as it may be...ironic pun intended) that Amurika is supposed to be a "white people country."

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

    Another redneck racist southerner, what a surprise!

    Another white man who is mob-minded and wants to let all his white brothers know, he hates blacks and probably anyone else who don't think like him or look like him... Nothing new, just last gasps of a tired scared class of American who should have been dead long ago but we tolerated them. He's smart enough to say this stuff around his kind, I'd rush security to knock his a$$ out...

    July 13, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. anthony

    The birthers need to give it a rest. Do they think that there was any chance that Hillary or McCain would have allowed Obama to run in the election if he was not born in this country? Both of them had over 100 million dollars in campaign war chests. Do they think that Hillary or McCain could have afforded lawyers to file lawsuits and keep Obama out of the election if they had any evidence that will stand up in court?

    July 13, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. mk

    "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."


    July 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. mike

    these people are total MORONS. where do they get their intelligence from and why in hell would anyone elect someone so utterly stupid it boggles my mind!

    July 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Jane

    The presidents birth certificate has been verified and inspected and validated by the FOLKS IN CHARGE in the state of Hawaii and says he was born in Hawaii and closed the files on it, IT was released by the State of Hawaii. JUST THINK FOLKS, IF HE HAD NO BIRTH CERTIFICATE HE COULD NOT GET A PASSPORT. simple as this.Just THINK. Jane

    July 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Michael

    No more "Americans", just Democrat or Republican. Patriotism my butt. In the end we should all be Americans...but not anymore...just Democrat or Republican....I'm right! No, I'm right.....no I'm right.....your less of an American than me! I know better! WHAT GOSSIP TRASH THIS SOCIETY HAS BECOME. No Class...lack of respect...lies on all sides...Our whole country is turning into a Kardashian episode. Yuk.

    July 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Gwen

    @Augsbee stop making up facts, Obama's mother was not pregnant when she married his faather, they met in the USA when his father came here on a student visa and studied at the university of hawaii,, they got married and gave birth to their son IN HAWAII!!! Obama is a US citizen 0 get over it!!!

    July 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Vol Fan

    Check out all the grammatical mistakes in this thread, and notice which side of the aisle is making them.

    David Vitter is obviously not the only under-educated Republican.

    July 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    This kind of stuff is what will ultimately bring our country down, not the budget or the wars. A Russian stated a couple of years ago the the Union will never last and turn into just red and blue states becauase we have lost the ability to be civil and comprimise with each other. Well I suppose for once a Russian was right about something other than Vodka.

    July 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Scott

    This is the problem with our country. If the Blue is in the red wants to take people to court and challenge stuff and waste money. The same is the Red is in. This CRAP needs to stop and stop now. FYI nice job sending BP yet another bill.

    July 13, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Gwenie

    That's why these REPUGNANTCANS need to go in Nov....Of all the good things that President Obama has done, and is trying to do, these neo con wing nuts like Vitter are out to get him...Why would you want to vote these nuts back in office and take the country back to what it was before?..Your biggest weapon is your vote...vote them out so there won't be one REPUGNANTCAN left in office.....God, they are so awfful and treacherous people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Sharron

    And you so called Americans are worried that the Liberals of this country are going to TRASH this country!!!! Just take a good look at these far right wing conservatives and the Tea Baggers that support them......these are the people that are going to trash this country and all that we have Fought for.......Take a look at Palin she not only supports all these radical conservative but now it looks like she is out to throw her support to any and all canidates that are Women.....(whether they are quailified or not) she wants all the Grizzly Moms to run this country......How blind are you people out there......it's men like Vitter and women like Palin that are going to throw you all down in a deep dark hole that you will not be able to climb out of.....

    July 13, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Augsbee

    People, Vitter is talking about Obama being born in AFRICA, he's not talking about Hawaii, he's talking when Obama's mother married her husband from AFRICA and they say she went to be in AFRICA with her husband. AFRICA not Hawaii.

    July 13, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. Josh Gonzalez

    The GOBP has nothing to offer, they have no message, they have no leaders. The party has been reduced to conspiracy theories, apologies to BP, and blatant lies. VOTE DEMOCRAT.

    July 13, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Todd

    I agree with Vitter. Obama needs to come clean on this.

    July 13, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  18. duffey

    It's apparent that this guy is a bit off kilter. I'm not certain that is so bad.

    July 13, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Lynn

    The people of LA will probably seat this nut again. Its ok to beat women, have affairs, and espouse B.S. conspiracy theories in the South. The people hear buy into it the same way they all believe they were born "below the Mason Dixon line" – I pray the next generation of Southerners breaks the cycle of willful ignorance.

    July 13, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. Felonious Monk

    Obama could violently slaughter my entire family right before my eyes and I would still think he is doing a better job than Bush.

    Grow up and mature. End of story.

    July 13, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Joe

    "Birthers" seem to forget one thing.

    President Obama's mother was an American citizen, and his father, while not a citizen, was a legal resident of the US. That makes President Obama a legitimate citizen, regardless of where or when he was born. It doesn't matter what form of certificate has been shown, or where it came from.

    This "debate" is meaningless, infantile, and just plain stupid. It's grasping at straws.

    July 13, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Drayj

    @ Eric July 13th, 2010 4:48 pm ET
    Yes, let us deride them as "birthers," rather than look at the very real possibility that the media simply took a nap of incuriousity instead of doing their job of investigating peculiarities.


    Getting past the media is real easy. Getting past the FBI, CIA, Congress, Senate, etc is way too hard for a common black man to do. (yeah, I said it). I can see GW Bush being able to do this (since it was so easy to hoodwink us about 9/11) But if you think Barack Obama has so many people in high places that they would "allow" him (a black man) to become President – and he not qualified by constitutional standards – you failed history with an "F" and really don't know jack about Caucasian American history at all!

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. jack merridew

    Obama wasnt even born in Hawaii

    hes was born in a mosque in Iran surrounded by demons chanting his name and Death to America

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Chuck

    I love all the liberals here. If this was a republican president they would be the first ones up in arms calling for the him to prove his citizenship. Trust me the shoe will be on the other foot in a couple of years. All the whiners here will be doing all the same things they are complaining about now.

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Conservative Democrat

    I have been agonizing over this for so long but it finally hit me. GOP now stands for Grand Old Pinhead party.

    July 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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