The Denver Post’s Michael Riley caught up with CD-4 candidate Cory Gardner yesterday, and asked him about his odd statement from a campaign stop this week that seemed to imply doubts about the citizenship of President Barack Obama. A popular (according to some polls, crazily popular) discussion item among the “Tea Party” set, the claim has been debunked so many times–including by the U.S. Supreme Court–that it is usually associated with, if you’ll excuse our coarseness, unserious whackjobs: not credible candidates for federal office.
That is to say Riley sort of asked Gardner about his comments, proceeding to transcribe Gardner’s backpedaling with absolutely no fact-checking whatsoever.
State Rep. Cory Gardner indicated Thursday that he does think President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, despite his ambiguous comments at a public meeting this week.
“If Barack Obama weren’t a U.S. citizen, I’m sure Bill and Hillary Clinton would have figured that out by now,” said Gardner, R-Yuma, referring to the president’s former Democratic opponent and her husband.
Asked by a questioner Wednesday whether he thought Obama is a natural-born citizen – a constitutional requirement for any U.S. president – the 4th Congressional District candidate said only that “the administration is trying to say he was born in this country,” according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Pressed to denounce the widely discredited claim that the president was not born on U.S. soil, Gardner responded that “we can’t disrespect people for having a different opinion,” the paper reported.
Gardner said Thursday that those comments were taken out of context in the sense that “I just wasn’t able to finish my thought” because of a contentious crowd…
Um, what? We’re amazed that Riley accepted this bogus explanation at face value. Did he just not bother to read Gardner’s campaign manager contradicting everything Gardner says above in the Fort Collins Coloradoan? Not the same Coloradoan article Riley cites, but it was published online before Riley wrote his story for the Post.
“Cory believes there’s probably, from the little bit that he has read on it, Obama is most likely a citizen,” campaign manager Mike Ciletti said. “But he finds it very curious that this could all be ended if he just released the long-form birth certificate and put it to bed.” [Pols emphasis]
The statement will likely do little to satisfy critics who were upset by Gardner’s statements on Obama’s citizenship at a Wednesday night town-hall meeting in Fort Collins…
Ciletti said Gardner’s doubts about Obama’s citizenship status [Pols emphasis] are due to his limited knowledge of the issue.
“Conspiracy theories, whether they’re from the left or the right, they all have facts in them, and then they go askew. And in all honesty, Cory has not spent a lot of time reading and studying and trying to get to the bottom of Obama and his citizenship,” he said. [Pols emphasis]
Ciletti said the citizenship debate is irrelevant but included a question about Obama’s status: “Whether or not he is a citizen, he is the president right now.”
So who are we to believe? The candidate who says he was taken “out of context,” or the candidate’s campaign manager who says…he wasn’t? This is the sort of duplicitous predicament that good reporters live for the chance to tear apart–but not Riley, apparently! We find it increasingly hard to believe that this is the same guy who delivered such stellar political coverage last year.
As for Cory Gardner? God help him if both his “birther” and “I’m not a birther” split personalities make it into, you know, the same newspaper.