Mitt Romney’s invocation of birtherism on Friday took his campaign to a new level of involvement with the bogus idea that President Obama is actually Kenyan-born and therefore ineligible to serve as Commander-in-Chief. But that dog-whistle theory has already been embraced by many major Republicans with whom Romney has long been happy to consort.
Indeed, as Republicans head down to Tampa for their convention next week, they are preparing to see a veritable festival of politicians who have dabbled in — or fully embraced — birtherism.
Here are the members of the birther bunch who will be speaking in Tampa next week:
1. Donald Trump. The famed billionaire/birther king Donald Trump has been the most vociferous — and most closely connected to Romney — person alleging that the President wasn’t born in the United States.
2. Actress Janine Turner. The Northern Exposure star who has her own conservative radio show wrote a long screed titled “Reasoning ‘Kenyan Born.’” In it, she complains that anyone who questions the president’s citizenship is deemed a racist: “If this were a legal case in court, [Obama's] book bio stating that Obama was ‘born in Kenya’ would be taken into consideration.”
3. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. During a town hall captured on video (at 3:5), Olens said, “You know the state of Hawaii says he’s produced a certified birth certificate… so on one hand I have to trust the state of Hawaii follows the laws. On the other hand it would be nice for the President to say, here it is, I have a copy.”
4. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. On one radio appearance during Huckabee’s bid for president, the former governor said, “I would love to know more [about where Obama was born]. What I know is troubling enough.” He later walked back the statement.
5. Florida Gov. Rick Scott. In 2010, the Orlando Sentinel reported than an audience member at one of Scott’s campaign events asked “what he would do about President Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ and whether he could legally appear on the 2012 ballot in Florida.” Scott responded, “I’ll have to look into it.”
6. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The Vice-Chairman of the House Republican Conference once told reporters “Oh, I’d like to see the documents.”
7. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Jindal was willing to sign a “birther” bill into law. It would have required all presidential candidates to release their birth certificate in order to qualify for a spot on the state’s ballot.