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August 20, 2009 03:42 PM UTC

Cory Gardner struggles with Obama birth question

  • by: BobMoore

(Oh no, Gardner’s a “birther” too? We had such high hopes for him. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE 1: The audio from the Wednesday night meeting can be heard here:… 1221097202

UPDATE 2: Campaign manager says Gardner believes Obama “most likely” a citizen.…

Cory Gardner, the frontrunner for the 4th Congressional District Republican nomination, answered a question about President Obama’s birthplace Wednesday night by saying “the administration is trying to say he was born in this country.”

Gardner struggled as he responded to this question at a town-hall meeting in Fort Collins: “Do you know for a fact if Barack Obama was born in the United States?”

After initially trying to parry the question with a joke — “I don’t know if you were born in this country” — Gardner waded in. Deep.

“Based on what they’ve shown, what they’ve tried to say, I think the administration is trying to say he was born in this country. I know what everybody else knows.”

By this time it became clear the questioner was a Democrat. The man, who didn’t give his name, followed up: “My question is, my question is then why do so many Republicans refuse to believe that he was born in this country?”

That led to calls from the audience of “Show me the birth certificate.”

For a transcript of the exchange (and hopefully soon an audio file) see my Coloradoan blog here:  


69 thoughts on “Cory Gardner struggles with Obama birth question

  1. and moreover, to the hardworking folks in the party that are doing the heavy lifting (phonebanking, fundraising, knocking on doors–the folks that deserve 90% of the credit for keeping their party afloat with their dedication, time and dime)–find someone, anyone–the higher ranking in the party, the better–and have them denounce this shit once and for all. This crazy talk that our president isn’t a US citizen is what makes your party look like the lunatic fringe. It’s what prevents folks from even considering putting your people in office.

    Come out hard. Come out strong. But for God’s sake, come out publicly, loud and clear, and remind folks that the policy differences you have with this President are more than enough to differentiate yourself from Obama and the Democratic Party. You don’t need to detract from your ideals and your message with this crazy talk which only serves to undermine your entire platform and purpose.

      1. I really do but I have a feeling you may be right.

        But I can’t help but think that there are more than a few Republicans out there who think this birther crap is just batshit crazy. And if they do, they need to speak up because the voices of the sane in the Republican Party are being drowned out, more and more, year after year, by the crazies.

        Susan Collins from Maine said it better than I ever could, when Specter left the Republican Party. Sadly, it appears the Republican Party has largely ignored or marginalized the sane within their own party.

                1. Seriously?

                  I respectfully think you guys are really missing your focus here.  Concentrating on this idiotic birther and racist stuff almost as a ruse to ignore what’s really going on with a majority of Republicans that are neither birthers or racists.  

                  McArdle had a great take on it:

                  Talk of death panels and crazy signs is, if polls are to be believed, a tiny fringe of the many Americans who do not like this health care plan much.  It’s even, as far as I can tell, a small minority of the many Americans attending town hall meetings to harangue their congressmen.  Democrats appear to think that blowing those people up into the totality of the movement will help them win the PR battle on healthcare.  I suspect this will do more harm to the Democrats, and their ability to effectively deliver their message, than it will to the conservatives.

                  I think the miscalculation is on the fact that this ‘problem’ a supermajority seems to be having with passing a bill is much more related to divisions within their own party, not some crazy, powerful new version of the VRWC that is somehow able to dictate policy while being completely out of power:

                  That is your problem.  A majority of Americans do not want what the “progressive” wing (20%?) of the Democratic Party is saying they will rebel over if Obama leaves it out.  Most Americans like their healthcare, and a majority do not want the government to run it, which is the end result of the public option.

                  So, casting most Republicans as racist or insane…

                  …is only going to work as a canard for so long.  

                  Zogby, not generally a Republican favorite, comes out tomorrow with a poll that puts Obama’s approval at 45.3% and his disapproval at 50%.

                  And, et tu, WaPo/ABC News poll?

                  It almost seems like the harder he’s worked to sell his healthcare reform program all summer, the more they’ve seen him speaking earnestly and well in town hall after town hall, the less confidence Americans have developed in the president.

                  There’s a reason for that, and it ain’t birthers and idiots with swastikas.

                  1. … that many Democrats and lefties are fed up with the way Obama is handling this situation. Here he is, still talking bipartisanship and giving up crucial ground on health care reform when he ought to be leading, rallying the troops, and getting this thing through Congress by hook or by crook. If he did that, his numbers would be a lot better because only hardcore ‘pubs, libertarians and Larouchies would disapprove.

                    Now, as far as the birther and swastika dopes packing loaded rifles are concerned, they’re the ones showing up to town hall meetings and getting press coverage because they’re more interesting and newsworthy than anyone who is conservatively dressed, polite, and can ask a lucid question. That’s nothing new; if you want someone to watch your news program, read your paper or your blog, you better deliver something that will catch the public’s attention.

                    Now, back to your point. Are they really just a “small number” or are they representative of a much larger segment of the population at large? That’s hard to say. But the various polling outfits do consistently show that large numbers of self-identified Republicans think there’s something fishy about Obama’s origins, and that’s scary because you can only think that if you’re gullible. I don’t know what GOP circles you run in, LB, but they seem to always be in a decidedly small minority in these polls.

                  2. the majority of Republicans are not birthers? Every poll I’ve seen puts a healthy majority of Republicans who think Obama probably wasn’t born in America.

                    As for racism, it’s kind of hard to poll it, but I’d like to see some kind of proof before I start thinking more than a handful of Republicans aren’t serious hardcore swastika-tattooing sheet-wearing racists.

                    1. As for racism, it’s kind of hard to poll it, but I’d like to see some kind of proof before I start thinking more than a handful of Republicans aren’t serious hardcore swastika-tattooing sheet-wearing racists.

                    2. But seriously, have you seen any polls where they ask people about their views on race, then break it down by party? There was a famous poll where they found that some white Democrats agreed with at least one negative stereotype about black people, but they never said anything about how Republicans responded. I’ll retract the comment if I see a real poll that says most Republicans don’t have racist views.

                      I think one reason people haven’t done such a poll is that the results might make some people uncomfortable.

                      This is an interesting result, for example.

                      You made a statement that the majority of Republicans were not birthers, and a majority were not racist. (Actually you said a majority were neither one, which is a more demanding statement that I won’t hold you to.) I’d like to see some evidence of that.

                    3. LB, I don’t think you’re racist.

                      I do however think that you, as a rational, reasonable Republican, are getting held hostage on this issue by the same people you are firmly behind on the health care debate.

                    4. I’m pretty connected, in terms of being at least around some of the Republicans that get denigrated often on this site, and I’ve never heard a racist or just wacky comment (birthers) come out.

                      The racist stuff doesn’t fly with me (as both of you and some others on the site can probably vouch for, in terms of who I am and what I do) and I just don’t see it in the party here.

                      I know it’s anecdotal, but I really believe it’s being used as a panacea by some folks for why people don’t want this ‘reform’ at this time.

                      SXP, you really can’t believe that only a handful of R’s aren’t racist, do you?

                    5. So your premise is that unless someone proves to you that they are not racist, then they are?

                      And what proof would you like, a note from mommy, a letter from a friend who happens to be a minority, a donation receipt to the Obama campaign?

                      That has got to be one of the most asinine comments that I have ever seen on this site and is a pretty good explanation of why I, as well as many others, stopped posting here.

                      A statement like that is probably the most bigoted thing that I have seen in a while.

                      Denver Broncos… Still Suck!

                    6. Thanks so much for your valuable contribution.

                      As I said several times, I want to see polling data, not letters from mommies or token minority friends. I want to know what Republicans think on average through statistical measurements. Do you have a lot of trouble with reading comprehension?

                      You probably drive like a white guy too.

                    7. You probably drive like a white guy too.

                      Sounds like you a making a racial comment there.  Can you prove you are not a racist?

                      Denver Broncos… Still Suck!

                    8. Party of tolerance, my ass.

                      If anyone here is a bigot, it is you.

                      Denver Broncos… Still Suck!

                    9. Of course, the real racists are the ones who still think racism exists, and that white people are the primary practitioners.

                    10. that Republicans and Democrats operate from vastly different worldviews. Being a fan of historic “conservative” political theorists, I think modern American conservatism is really an expression of a unique and self-referential set of cultural doctrines–not a philosophy and arguably not even a set of values. Every year it has less and less in common with historic conservatism (one reason why you see a fad among GOP operatives for radical Left resistance tracts). Modern “liberalism” is a total mess that’s even worse, because it lacks American conservatism’s really disciplined vocabulary that repetitively reinforces its worldview through members’ constant use.

                      However, I think we are seeing the this previously effective system of conservatism is under great pressure, because (a) it’s been thoroughly delegitimized to anyone not inside the ideological tent, and (b) the vocabulary and concepts are collapsing into ever smaller and more meaningless uses. That’s why right wing rhetoric increasingly resembles newspeak or some parodic random generator.  

                      This ties into racism because I don’t think there is anything inherently racist about conservatism or the Republican Party. However, racists can exist quite comfortably within this ideological framework. With a bank of code words and dog whistles, a racist can situate themselves quite comfortably into the Republican Party. If that seems unfair, blame Richard Nixon. It’s no accident Southern neoconfederates dominate today’s ‘mainstream’ GOP; they were a deliberate part of Nixon’s constituency building “Great Society” that led to decades of Republican dominance and ‘lost’ the South for the Democrats.

                      Nixon mobilized the cadres of resentment–and some times that resentment comes across as racially-motivated. Having trogs like Pat Buchanan (an architect of this policy) become a party statesman just increases the plausibility of this analysis. It’s up to Republicans to decide whether they can accommodate reactionary ideology and tactics as the core of their partisan identity. But to do that, the entire ideological framework of American conservatism needs to grow and develop–the discipline of decades past has led to incestuous and empty concepts that have been discredited to the public.  

                    11. The word conservative, the label they chose for themselves, says a lot.  They don’t like change.

                      Rights for outside groups, whether unlanded men, Catholics, women, minorities or gays, are something that conservatives have been fighting against since the founding of the Republic.

                      I don’t think Republicans are necessarily racist, but it is easy for a racist to find a home in conservatism since the entire struggle of America has been allowing more people to enjoy the full bloom of American liberty and opportunity, and when standing for conservatism you are in essence standing for the past and against the future: a future where all Americans enjoy the rights the founding white property owning protestant males enjoyed (not fully accurate since there were Maryland Catholics and closeted Jews [and perhaps gays] amongst the founders).

                      Its also important to note that the Republican’s used to be the party of liberals and the Democrats were the party of conservatives (some would still say the Democrats are the party of conservatives and the GOP is the party of something to the right of conservative).

                1. Which is the simplest solution?

                  1) Libertad is a liberal plan who has us all fooled into thinking he’s conservative.

                  2) Libertad is the Colorado Pols equivalent of a village idiot.

      2. No republican can win a primary in 6 or 4 without questioning the President’s nationality for the reasons Middle of the road so succinctly said.

        A poll released by Rassmussen of all people yesterday has Obama beating Palin 66-33 in a mythical 2012 head to head. That same poll had 73% of registered, admitted reds voting for Palin and the entire South as well. The vast majority of the country polled for Obama, but this demo is the republican base. And they aren’t listening to anything but limbaugh, levin, the party line. 6 and 4 are the similar to the south clusterfox fixated robots that a candidate has to throw the red meat to in order to move to a general election.

        Now that caplis has moved to birthering, signalling that it is the RNC’s official position, and Gardner has committed to this grift as well, no repub Congressional candidate can hope to survive a primary without doing the same.

        Ya can’t make this stuff up.

    1. Even Romney – the presumptive front runner* – finessed it last week while discussing his universal heal plan for MA.

      The problem is the party has run so divisive and wedgey for so long that they don’t know how to win without all the wedges motivated. And clearly the birther wedge is predominantly R.

      1. Sanford, Ensign, and one or two others- scandalized

        Palin is a quitter.

        Perry is a secessionist.

        Romney must surely be considered ahead of the remainder of the field from 08- Huckabee, McCain, etc.

        1. John Thune maybe? If Mitt Romney couldn’t win the nomination last year, why would he be able to in 2012?

          I do have to admit me must be considered the front-runner though.

          1. Pawlenty – I like him, but I don’t think he can win the nomination.  

            –He got saddled with a raw deal in the Senate race- a real no win with the R’s.

            — MN is seen as overal “progressive” and RINO in the south and other Red states.

            — McCain passed him over

            — I can’t find it now but there was a great piece last summer about Pawlenty as perceived outside the region- esp in the South and plains states where any R nominee must be a lock and he’s not perceived to be

            In any event- no way is he the front runner.

            Colorado Rs went for Romney- and I think will again.

            Jindal is a nut.

            Sanford & Ensign – nuts and sex scandal.

            Palin- nut, but learning, but she’s a quitter.

            Paul, Huckabee, Cheney, Gingrich, Crist- can’t win. th e nomination.

            DeMint- nut.

            Eric Cantor, Mike Pence  Gary Daniels, Mitch Daniels.  – who ?

                  1. I had to do the math too.

                    What exactly is the specific age requirement? Is it that you have to be 35 on the day you’re inaugurated, the day you file, or the day you’re elected? I can’t find Penry’s specific DOB anywhere, but he would probably just barely be eligible in any of the three cases.

                    At any rate, I don’t think Penry is thinking White House… yet.

                    1. does seem to be a mystery. I saw it once somewhere, but it’s disappeared from his campaign site and his Wikipedia entry, which is in danger of being deleted because it’s too much like an advertisement. Maybe he’s afraid of identity thieves, in addition to barbecue thieves.

    1. Cory was a Democrat in College and only switched when he took the political temperature after law school.  He was suddenly an arch conservative.

      Since the pendulum has swung back he has kept quiet on many issues so he can reinvent himself as a more moderate Republican, but he can’t help himself when he has the opportunity to pander.

          1. I understand the poking of me, but to continue to degrade a segment of the population shows a clear pattern of hatred.

            You’re like a little kid who runs around at recess calling people faggots and giggling … except your an adult and you’re doing the same thing.


  2. With CD4 GOPers having to primary before going up against Betsy it’s going to be interesting to see how the pandering to the birther base goes. I’m thinking that going far enough right to win the primary will push them too far to win the general. Wishful thinking?

    1. there isn’t going to be a primary, Gardner’s clearing the field. That’s the point — he doesn’t have to throw in with the crazies, at least not on this.

      1. For some reason Pols thinks he is a super candidate, but the fact is he only has one campaign under his belt – an easy victory lap for a small and low-profile city council district. And on council he distinguished himself as a nice enough fellow, but not particularly bright and bored by the work. I don’t think he has the stomach for a CD-4 primary fight, it’s a lot of miles, a lot of phone calls, and a lot of crazy bullshit. But I guess we’ll see.  

        Having Andrew Boucher for a GC is another not-so-good sign. Going by Cory Gardner’s regular mentions in DC’s insider rags, and the not-so-subtle boosterism from the NRCC, Diggs needs someone who can play in DC. Boucher can hustle the dealership owners in Fort Collins, but I don’t think he draws much water in DC. Meanwhile, Gardner is locking it down.  

    2. These are the same people who were convinced CONVINCED that trying to keep Terri Shaivo on life support was an absolute master stroke of political providence.

      They really do believe that the general public also questions Obama’s legitimacy to be president.  The Dems. really can’t use this kind of sophomoric response in an ad but if it starts to peculate through the electorate that Gardner hangs with the crazies then he just cuts his own throat to feed this fantasy.

      1. But Marilyn Musgrave’s intervention on the House floor has always been a favorite:

        “When we talk about a permanent vegetative state, I am offended by that. Terri smiles and acknowledges the people that love her when they come to see her. She cries when they leave. How heartless are we to call somebody like Terri Schiavo a vegetable? What are we thinking?”

  3. Cory will “most likely” end up selling Bob Shaffer’s margarita mix after his primary implodes.

    And yes Cory, “I know what everybody else knows” about you and your “campaign manager.”  

    1. It’s not a mix — it’s a pre-blended margarita, using the finest resposado tequila. Not too sweet, this golden concoction hews to a traditional margarita recipe. Gardner would be lucky to get a distributorship next year!

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