AZ GOP Chair Goes Birther
Monday, Arizona’s 11 Republican electors officially cast their ballots for Mitt Romney. Monday’s action was purely a formality as the state’s 11 electoral votes must be cast for the candidate who received the most popular votes in the state during the November general election.
However, Monday’s vote was anything but normal as three of Arizona’s Republican electors expressed their doubts about Barack Obama’s citizenship status and whether he was born in this country.
One of those still in doubt is current Republican State GOP Chair Tom Morrissey who questioned the legitimacy of the president’s birth certificate:
“I’m not satisfied with what I’ve seen,” Morrissey said. “I think for somebody in the president’s position to not have produced a document that looks more legitimate, I have a problem with that.”
In his interview with KFYI’s Mike Broomhead, Morrissey clarified his concerns:
“My issue isn’t whether he was born here…I have questions [about Obama’s longform birth cerfiticate]. … You know, I have a law enforcement background. I come at this with a little different perspective. It just doesn’t ring right with me.”
Arizona Governor and fellow Republican Jan Brewer distanced herself from Morrissey’s comments:
“The bottom line is everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. And I happen to disagree.”
But Monday’s comments weren’t the first from Arizona Republicans questioning the president’s citizenship. During the 2011 legislative session Governor Brewer vetoed HB2177, which would have required presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship in order to get on the state’s ballot.
In May of this year Secretary of State Ken Bennett hinted that he would not allow President Obama to appear on Arizona’s ballot unless the State of Hawaii produced sufficient proof that the president was born in the Aloha state. Hawaii complied with the request and apparently provided sufficient proof in response to Mr. Bennett’s inquiry.
Undeterred by her 2011 veto, Republican Representatives Carl Seel and Judy Burges pushed a bill during the 2012 legislative session similar to the one vetoed by Governor Brewer the year before.
And of course, earlier this year Sheriff Joe Arpaio released the findings of his “Cold Case Posse” – an all volunteer investigative force that claimed President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was “probably” fraudulent.
But perhaps Arizona Republicans aren’t that far off from their constituencies. ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy released a poll in 2012 that showed 60 percent of Arizona voters backed the “birther bill” – or the idea that would require presidential candidates to sign an affidavit certifying that they were born in the United States.
Regardless, fellow elected Republicans were quick to condemn the Chair’s comments.
House Speaker pro-tem J.D. Mesnard called Morrisey’s comments “frustrating”, “politically stupid”, and worried that comments such as the birther remarks make Republicans look “extreme.”
Senator Jerry Lewis worries that the continued obsession with the birther issue “marginalizes the [Republican] party.”
Still, that didn’t stop some high profile Republicans from weighing in. Maricopa County GOP Chair Rob Haney defended Morrissey’s comments:
“The evidence is overwhelming against it, just as the evidence is overwhelming against humans-caused global warming. And now they call it climate change. It’s just indoctrination by the left-wing media that controls all of these.”
And just today on the heels of Morrissey’s most recent gaffe, rumors are circulating that the embattled GOP Chair will be stepping down from his post possibly within the week and hand-picking his successor.