Fox News host Sean Hannity scored an interview with GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty last night, but instead of focusing on important issues, Hannity used the first third of his interview to discuss President Obama’s birth certificate, an increasing fascination of his. Pawlenty, to his credit, dismissed the myth, calling it a “big distraction” and noting that CNN had physically handled Obama’s birth certificate and published pictures of it. “Never trust CNN,” Hannity replied, before pushing Pawlenty twice more on the issue:
HANNITY: Donald Trump has said where is the birth certificate? You said it is not an issue for you. You have no doubt whatsoever. … Why don’t they just produce the stupid thing and move on?
PAWLENTY: [...] But on the other hand for me, the news reports from CNN and others have said they’ve seen the birth certificate.
HANNITY: Never trust CNN. … You don’t have a problem with people saying can we see it? Can you find it?
PAWLENTY: No, but it has been reported. You know, CNN, I watched it myself. CNN reported they saw the birth certificate. You got to either believe that they didn’t and they’re lying or there is something else going on.
HANNITY: It’s just something weird that they won’t release it and just get it over with. It seems to me because I don’t doubt it. I’m just — now it is getting strange that they don’t say here.
Thanks in large part to twice bankrupted reality TV star Donald Trump, the myth about Obama’s birth place is experiencing a disturbing resurgence among mainstream conservatives. For some time, the myth had been exiled to the most embarrassing fringes of the conservative movement, like the website World Net Daily, which erects birther billboards across the county. But as radio host Rush Limbaugh — who has been doing his own part to bring the myth back to relvency — said on his radio show Monday, “Just when everybody thought the birther-movement had been relegated over there to ‘Kookville,’ here comes Trump!”
Trump, Hannity, and Limbaugh aren’t exactly birthers — Hannity admitted just last week that he believes Obama was in fact born in the United States — but they’re “birther curious.” They claim they are merely asking questions, but the dog whistle is clear. “What’s the deal? Produce the birth certificate, so it’s over and done with,” Hannity asked the other night.
But of course, Obama has produced his birth certificate — three years ago. Along with a group of other journalists, FactCheck.org wrote in Nov. 2008 that they had “seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship.” Nonetheless, Hannity insisted last week that it was “not true” that the document had been released. “Over and done with” it clearly isn’t.