Last weekend, WorldNetDaily (WND) held its annual “Taking Back America” conference in Miami, Florida. WND is the for-profit, right-wing center for the “birther” conspiracy questioning President Obama’s citizenship. WND publishes work by Jerome Corsi, who began the allegation in early 2008. WND publishes literally hundreds of articles and blog posts on birther conspiracy theories, places billboards around the country about Obama’s birth certificate, hosts radio programs for prominent birthers like G. Gordon Liddy, and sells various products related to birtherism, including DVDs, signs, stickers, books, and magazines.
The conference was no different. It featured several speakers accusing President Obama of being born in Kenya and Indonesia (and for being a “secret Muslim”). While most mainstream conservatives avoided the event, two lawmakers, Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), were slated to appear. Nunes — who recently published a book through WND which argues for the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) plan to privatize Social Security — hailed the WND CEO Joseph Farah for having the “courage to print the truth.” Later, Nunes explained to ThinkProgress that he did not see anything particularly objectionable in the birther movement.
Bachmann, however, canceled at the very last minute. In taped remarks offered in lieu of her speech, Bachmann thanked the WND attendees for “everything you are doing to keep the flame of liberty burning brightly.” “You are all patriots,” she added. Bachmann explained that she could not make the conference because she was in her home state of Minnesota campaigning for her reelection against “Howard Dean and the DailyKos”:
NUNES: Well look I’m never going to be one in this country to try to tell someone what they should think and what they should believe. And I think their motto is a “Free Press and a Free People,” they have a right to do and whatever they believe they believe. And we all enjoy individual liberty, at least for now in this country. [...]
BACHMANN: I’m currently here in Minnesota working very hard for each and every vote. I wanted to express to each one of you there today my very deep and sincere appreciation for everything you are doing to keep the flame of liberty burning brightly.
Despite her claim to the birthers that she was in Minnesota working on her campaign on Friday September 17th, Bachmann was actually in Washington DC addressing another right-wing group. Around the same time WND played her taped remarks, Bachmann was actually busy addressing the Value Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham hotel in the Woodley Park neighborhood of the nation’s capital.