October 25th, 2011
09:58 PM ET
8 years ago

Perry sidesteps 'birther' question

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be ready to put the so-called birther issue to rest after it became an unnecessary footnote to the rollout of his flat-tax announcement.

At a news conference in South Carolina's capital Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate was asked about a recent interview with Parade magazine in which he raised doubts about the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Perry never answered a question from CNN about whether he believes the president was born in the United States.

The Texas governor called the issue a "distraction."

"What Americans really want to talk about is jobs," Perry said.

The White House hopeful is partly to blame for causing such a big distraction on the day of his “Cut, Balance, and Grow” economic plan rollout.

Perry injected new life into the controversy, thanks to an interview he gave to CNBC top political reporter John Harwood Tuesday morning, where he said “it’s fun to poke” at Obama over the validity of his birth certificate.

Even though there is no evidence to suggest the president was not born in the United States, Perry refused to definitively denounce such speculation in the CNBC interview or during the Q & A with CNN at the press conference.

Perry did offer to release his own birth certificate.

“We need to be talking about jobs,” Perry said. “If somebody wants to see my birth certificate, I’d be happy to show it to him. But the fact is that is a distraction and Americans really don’t care about that.”

The Perry campaign did not respond to CNN’s request to see the governor’s birth certificate.

Many in the Republican Party are calling on Perry to drop the birther issue.

GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China, tweeted “Barack Obama was born in America. Period. Let’s stop this and focus instead on how we fix the economy that he bungled.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released this statement: “Republican candidates should categorically reject the notion that President Obama was not born in the United States. It is a complete distraction from the failed economic policies of the president.”

- CNN's Kevin Bohn and Karrah Kaplan contributed to this report.

Also see:

Perry to meet with S.C. governor

Perry on Obama: 'It's fun to poke at him'

Perry to meet with DeMint

Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Rick Perry
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. TM

    So, "poking fun" at the President is ok? So, if I decide to "poke some fun" at Perry by saying that his mother and father were brother and sister, that's ok too, right? I mean, Perry hasn't proven otherwise by showing us his "real" birth certificate has he?

    October 25, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  2. Jeff

    I want to see the long form of Perry's birth certificate and sworn statements by the attending physician as well as two eyewitnesses of the birth. Until all of this paperwork is produced by Mr. Perry, I can only conclude that he is an illegal immigrant and therefor disqualified from running for president.

    The governor of Texas is ignorant as well as a fool.

    October 25, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  3. beevee

    Every time this guy opens his mouth the clear it is becoming that this guy is like Palin a stupid. Good luck to the country if he gets into the WH.

    October 25, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  4. James

    please. you asked to see Perry's birth certificate? don't you think that's at least a little childish?

    October 25, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  5. zip

    Won't be long before Little Ricky is accusing Cain of being a Muslim.

    October 25, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  6. Larry L

    Perry shows how poorly prepared he is to lead the most powerful nation in the world. This low-class, bigoted, and ill-conceived tactic is exactly why many independents have ditched the Republican party. Only the far-right is stupid enough to keeping beating this dead horse. It was a cheap trick then, it's just stupid now.

    October 25, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Perry is going screw up his chances by bringing this up and associate with those that doubt that Obama was born here in the US. Why is he even going there? I think that he is trying to get points with some of the bigoted groups within the tea people. It just isn't enough.

    October 25, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  8. Indy

    After a decade of disaster Republicans continue to think that tax breaks will bump up the supply and demand of American products and services. Is is any wonder why Republicans have forty years of failure when it comes to the economy, and I mean everybody's economy not just the economy for the rich people.They are pathetic when it comes to the majority of people problems.If a company does not have the demand for products and services right now how is a tax break going to force them to produce more products ? Every country in the industrialized world counts on the middle class to keep an economy running, an you cant fix any economy until you focus on the middle class problems.Giving to the most fortunate has never fixed an economy it has just allowed the rich to keep more money in savings, they dont spend any more then their monthly budget. Republicans are brain dead.

    October 25, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  9. Oldie in TampaBay

    these GOP jokers and their tax plans.........HOW ABOUT A JOB PLAN? We need JOBS NOT TAXES!

    October 25, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  10. Leslie

    They aren't going there again, are they? What ignorance!

    October 26, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  11. bb

    This guy is as dense as a door knob and a bully on top of that.

    October 26, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  12. bco

    come on perry tell us what you really think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 26, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  13. ChrisG

    To late Perry, you are not considered one of the birther nuts along with the donald, bachmann and palin. lol

    October 26, 2011 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  14. kat

    Keep your chin up Mr. Perry, You have the best interest of our country in your heart, Thank you for being there for us. We need a strong leader, not a puppet for the Unions and Special interest.

    October 26, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  15. AK_steve

    Yup, deregulation is the answer. We all know how well deregulation of the financial market helped our economy.

    Fact is, the 1% want more $ – and deregulation helps them – not jobs – and certainly not the middle class.

    The GOP has always says "no taxes and deregulation". Fact is, we had eight years of tax breaks for the rich and deregulation under Bush. What happen? The worst recession in history. There is no economic proof that lower taxes create jobs. There is no proof that deregulation benefits the economy. If it were true, then Bush would have lead us to prosperity, not disparity.

    October 26, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  16. Marry

    Perry is just “simple” – with unrealistic and stupid talk and a bad character on top. Congratulation, GOP/TP! Unbelievable how ANYBODY could support this group of “Candidates”!

    October 26, 2011 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  17. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    The only smart thing this brain dead politician has done.

    October 26, 2011 03:05 am at 3:05 am |

    Rick Bush stepped on his own simpleton slogan after paling around with Trump . He was hoping that it would be his 999.

    October 26, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  19. Marie MD

    You wouldn't have to put anything to bed if you hadn't been trying to con the birther movement. BTW – where's your birth certificate?
    jeb the shrub's brother is still in la la land. The failed economics are those of your brother you twit! Watching him at the baseball games after all the bad decisions he made for that texas team! Is jebby now trying to insert himself as somebody we should listen to? Get lost.

    October 26, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  20. HenryB

    No, actually i think we should keep this issue alive so there is a stark contrast between looney tunes like Perry and responsible people like our president. These Republicans are just plain crazy, the whole bunch of them. Now they want Perry to stop talking about this. If the economy had been good they would all jump on that bandwagon again. Losers.

    October 26, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  21. vc

    I wonder why the republicans think they are not part of the blame in the way our economy is. PLEASE!!!

    October 26, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  22. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Perry has a horrible jobs record, so it shows his stupidity when he says that's what he wants to focus on. On the other hand, most Americans do care about jobs, it's just that the GOBP deathcult has no interested in doing anything to address jobs. "Caring for the greedy and not the needy" is the cult's only focus.

    October 26, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |