Last week, ThinkProgress noted that GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Michele Bachmann are all courting Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio in the hopes of securing an endorsement. As “America’s toughest sheriff,” Arpaio is also one of the country’s most radical, especially when it comes to undocumented immigrant, whom the sheriff sweeps up by the dozen and forces to wear pink underwear and live in tents.
The lawman is also a birther, it seems, and one willing to use official resources to pursue the bogus conspiracy theory. As birther website WorldNetDaily gleefully reported:
Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told WND he has assigned a five-member “Cold Case Posse” to investigate the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
The decision, he says, is simply a matter of doing his duty.
“This investigation does not involve politics,” Arpaio told WND.
Arpaio’s investigation comes in response to a complaint filed by the Surprise, Arizona Tea Party, which alleges that Obama may be using a forged birth certificate. “I believe Sheriff Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse will be thorough and complete in their investigation,” a spokesman for the group said.
The Cold Case Posse is an officially-sponsored all-volunteer group of people with skills and backgrounds that make them qualified to investigate cases. The group has been inactive in recent months due to “budgetary limitations within the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office,” but apparently a wild goose chase looking into the veracity of the president’s birth certificate is an appropriate use of funds.
Obama’s birth place has long been settled and real estate mogul Donald Trump was drummed out of the GOP presidential field thanks to his fixation on the matter — so why are the GOP’s leading contenders associating themselves with Arpaio, who is hardly mainstream, even without the birther stuff? Courting the sheriff is perhaps not surprising for Perrry, who was reportedly interested in Trump’s endorsement. The Obama campaign even predicted Perry will “probably ask to see the president’s birth certificate,” and Perry’s already secured the backing of birther dentist lawyer Orly Taitz. But Romney and Bachmann have both definitely said Obama was born in the U.S. and have dismissed the birther myth.