Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea that rumors about President Barack Obama’s citizenship began with her campaign in 2008.
Clinton told CNN reporter Don Lemon during a radio interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show that she and the president never had a confrontation on the subject.
“No, that is so ludicrous, Don. You know, honestly, I just believe that — first of all, it’s totally untrue. And secondly, you know, the president and I have never had any kind of confrontation like that,” Clinton said.
Rumors surrounding Obama’s birth were silenced in 2011 when the president produced the long form of his birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii in 1961. Rumors of the president being born in Kenya began circulating again over the past week after numerous comments were made about the president’s citizenship and faith.
It started with a question-and-answer session at a New Hampshire rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who questioned Obama’s birthplace eight years ago. A man commented that the president wasn’t an American citizen and was a Muslim, which Trump glided over to answer the rest of his question.
Another leading Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, joined the verbal fray by stating he would not advocate that a Muslim be president unless that person refutes Sharia Law. Since then, GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio have all weighed in. Cruz and Fiorinia said the U.S. Constitution allows for a Muslim president, while Huckabee said Obama is taking a lot of actions against religious liberty while claiming to be a Christian. Rubio said that questions about Obama were settled long ago, and that those running for president have more important things to debate.
Trump is staying in the spotlight, taking on Clinton by tweeting on Sept. 22 that she was the one who started it all.
“Just remember, the birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2007. She was all in!” Trump wrote.
Clinton, a Trump acquaintance back then who had accepted his campaign donation and went to his wedding, retorted to Lemon that the billionaire’s remarks are in bad taste.
“This is such a bad example of what’s wrong with instantaneous reactions and Americans getting all worked up and people feeding prejudice and paranoia like Donald Trump,” Clinton said.
While rumors of Obama’s eligibility surfaced nationally during the 2008 primary campaign, speculation of his birthplace actually began in 2004 when Obama was a state senator in Illinois. Local candidate Andy Martin said the state senator was a secret Muslim.
Talk regarding Obama’s birthplace hit the national stage in April 2008 when Clinton supporters, not necessarily associated directly with her campaign, made the allegation that he was born on foreign soil.
The allegation was that Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was in Kenya late into her pregnancy and wasn’t allowed to travel back to the States for the birth. The statement further said she later registered the birth in Hawaii.
“Obama carries multiple citizenships and is ineligible to run for President of the United States. United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1,” it said.
The now infamous picture of Obama in full African garb while on a trip to Kenya surfaced. Other rumors have circulated stating that the president registered at Columbia University as a foreign student, rather than an American citizen. None of those rumors have ever been proven, and most have been completely debunked.
Obama isn’t the first president or candidate to withstand rumors of citizenship. George Romney, father of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was born in Mexico, yet ran for president in 1968. Romney’s parents were American citizens. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t clarify what “natural born” means and if it includes people like Romney who are born abroad to American parents. Legal experts, after review, indicated it did include those circumstances.
GOP presidential nominee John McCain also had his eligibility questioned because he was born abroad to American parents. President Chester Arthur also faced rumors regarding his eligibility after rumors surfaced that Arthur was born in Canada. Although Arthur insisted he was born in Fairfield, Vt., and that is what historical records show, there was never firm evidence that put the rumors to rest.