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U.S. Senate candidate wants federal office to check birth certificates

By Kathy Barks Hoffman

AP Political Writer

LAST UPDATED: 05:13 a.m. HST, May 31, 2012

LANSING, Mich. >> U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra wants to set up a national office to check presidential candidates' birth certificates, even though a campaign spokesman said Wednesday that Hoekstra believes President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.

Hoekstra told Lapeer County tea party activists in early May that CIA and FBI agents should staff a new federal office that would investigate the authenticity of presidential hopefuls' birth certificates. A debunked conspiracy theory among conservative activists dubbed "birthers" charges that Obama is not constitutionally qualified to serve in the White House because he wasn't born in the United States.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, who flirted with a 2012 presidential run, has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate, telling CNN on Tuesday that "a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate" just before Trump hosted a Mitt Romney fundraising event at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Romney has said he believes Obama was born in America but hasn't condemned Trump's comments.

Such allegations about Obama's birthplace have been repeatedly proven false.

Hoekstra campaign spokesman Paul Ciaramitaro said Wednesday that Hoekstra, one of five Michigan Republicans running for the chance to take on Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in November, "believes that the president is a citizen."

Ciaramitaro couldn't offer any additional details on why Hoekstra wants to set up a new federal office to verify presidential candidates' birth certificates or how it would run.

Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer criticized what he called Hoekstra's "radical plan" to "create a new federal bureaucracy."

The Washington-based publication "The Hill" posted the video Wednesday showing Hoekstra answering a question about the Democratic president's birth certificate at an early May campaign event. Hoekstra blamed 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain for not making a bigger issue out of it then, but added it's no longer a factor in this year's election.

"We lost that debate in 2008 when our presidential nominee said, 'I ain't talking about it,'" Hoekstra told the audience. "I think with this president, the book is closed."

He went on to say that he'd to establish "a three person office in Washington, D.C. ... so that, in any future election, that someone would have to walk into that office and prove that they meet the minimum qualifications to be president of the United States."

Hoekstra served in the U.S. House for 18 years representing a district stretching up the east coast of Lake Michigan before running unsuccessfully for Michigan governor in 2010. He now is a Washington lobbyist and was expected to be an early favorite for the GOP Senate nomination.

But he has had some campaign missteps, including a Super Bowl campaign ad featuring a young Asian-American woman speaking in broken English about China taking away American jobs. The ad was panned by minority groups and even some Republicans as racially insensitive. Hoekstra's campaign eventually substituted a different ad on television and took the first ad off its YouTube video page.

Stabenow said donors poured more than $150,000 into her campaign in response to the ad. At the end of March she had $7 million on hand, compared to $1.5 million each for Hoekstra and GOP rival Clark Durant.

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OldDiver wrote:
Pete Hoekstra is the character who ran a racist political ad a few months. It's no wonder he is concerened that there is a Black man in the White House.
on May 31,2012 | 06:51AM
kainalu wrote:
Check his first. "Hoekstra" sounds pretty foreign to me.
on May 31,2012 | 06:53AM
jomama wrote:
waste of taxpayer money
on May 31,2012 | 07:40AM
bender wrote:
That was my first thought.
on May 31,2012 | 10:48AM
gth wrote:
on May 31,2012 | 11:06AM
808Cindy wrote:
I'm Surprised at the shallowness of people who are in leadership roles that talk this way. I notice their common thread of being arrogant and boastfull. I will always disagree wtih their views, they can't be trusted!
on May 31,2012 | 08:06AM
GorillaSmith wrote:
Wow. How emotional and irrational the Obamatons get when anyone brings up the President's highly questinable birth circumstances. To lie, obfuscate or change the subject is fine but to raise the question automatically makes the questioner a "birther", racist or other type of kook. This is exactly what people mean when they speak of liberal intolerance. In any case, let's get off this point and focus on the real issue: the fact that Obama is the worst president in US history. Here's hoping we , as a nation, can endure the final 7 months of this failed experiment.
on May 31,2012 | 08:15AM
bender wrote:
You are wrong on so many counts. First, Bush was the worst president ever. Second there is no question about the place of President's birth except in the minds of the racists and kooks among us.
on May 31,2012 | 10:51AM
ghstar wrote:
This stupid idea from the party that says government is already too big. So lets establish another 'office' to perform a totally unneeded, racist-inspired function. Some people just need to get over the fact that a black man is President.
on May 31,2012 | 08:22AM
suckseed wrote:
How many people do you need to check? If its a hundred I agree with you, if its one then what's the big deal? Hmmmm, maybe I'll apply....$200,000.00 annual salary with a budget of$5,000,000.00 Hahhhhhh
on May 31,2012 | 09:20AM
hawaiikone wrote:
including you
on May 31,2012 | 10:10PM
Its all about pandering to the racists and bigots in the republican party. George Romney was born in Mexico but its okay to run for president. John McCain was born in Panama but its okay to run for president. Obama is born in the US in the State of Hawaii but the bigots and racists still want proof of US birth. Whats the differenrce between Obama and the other two? they are white and he is black. They should get over it. (by the way, I have heard all the BS rationalization from the right wing trying to justify all of that BS about McCain and Romney and why Obama is different.) Its all cr#p.
on May 31,2012 | 11:12AM
64hoo wrote:
mitt romney was born in the US john mcCain was born on a U.S. military base in panama at the military hospital so he is a US citizen. so it has nothing to do with racial issue. as for obama some people feel he should have showed his birth certificate before he ran for president so there will always be that suspicion about obamas place of birth. he should show his hospital birth certificate like i have where they make feet print on your hospital birth certifacate. that way people would find out if he was born at kapiolani hospital. it has nothing to do with racil issues that you bring up. it sounds like you are racial.
on May 31,2012 | 07:46PM
primowarrior wrote:
The birther issue has everything to do with racism. If this President was white and his middle name was not Hussein, do you think the birthers would continue this ridiculous assault on his citizenship?
on May 31,2012 | 10:34PM
64hoo wrote:
no it does not have nothing to do with racism like all you liberals think it has to do with if you were born in the USA or born in another country. to be president you have to be born in this country its the law not racism so you liberals like to use that race card as an excuse because thats all you can think of.
on June 1,2012 | 12:39AM
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