National Public Radio has been claiming that the story about Obama’s birth place was never started by the Clinton campaign and that Trump’s allegation to the contrary is utterly false. But, was it? Is anything in politics ever black and white? Let’s take a look at the best evidence and you tell me.
Politi-fact said: “There is no evidence that Clinton or her 2008 campaign ever floated the theory. While Clinton supporters circulated the allegations the last time she ran for president, they had no ties to either the candidate or her staff.
A damning memo?
The Sept. 15 Trump campaign statement linked to a 2007 strategy memo published in the Atlantic from former Clinton aide Mark Penn that advises pointing out Obama’s “lack of American roots.”
“Obama May Be Illegal to Be Elected President,” as Daily Beast editor John Avlon has documented.
According to Avlon, Linda Starr, a Clinton volunteer in Texas, was key to spreading the rumor. She connected with Philip Berger, an attorney and Clinton supporter, who sued to block Obama’s nomination. The suit was thrown out.
But this is not the same thing as Clinton or her campaign promoting the theory and therefore Hillary Clinton has plausible deniability or does she?
Now this from Breitbart: In fact, Politico, in 2011, published a piece from two of its top reporters at the time Ben Smith and Byron Tau, who have gone on respectively to BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal—specifically detailing how the Clinton campaign was behind birther rumors spreading.
Smith and Tau wrote in the Politico piece:
Just when it appeared that public interest was fading, celebrity developer Donald Trump has revived the theory that President Barack Obama was born overseas and helped expose the depth to which the notion has taken root—a New York Times poll Thursday found that a plurality of Republicans believe it. If you haven’t been trolling the fever swamps of online conspiracy sites or opening those emails from Uncle Larry, you may well wonder: Where did this idea come from? Who started it? And is there a grain of truth there?
The answer lies in Democratic, not Republican politics, and in the bitter, exhausting spring of 2008. At the time, the Democratic presidential primary was slipping away from Hillary Clinton and some of her most passionate supporters grasped for something, anything that would deal a final reversal to Barack Obama.
Tau and Smith detailed in a lengthy four-page-long investigation how in April 2008, when Clinton was slipping in her battle against Obama for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, “Clinton supporters”—as they say—circulated an anonymous email chain that pushed the theory.
“Barack Obama’s mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth,” the email that Clinton supporters circulated read.
Those anonymous people were hardly the only ones. In fact, as Joshua Green reported in The Atlantic in August 2008, a March, 19, 2007 strategy memo from longtime Clinton adviser Mark Penn proves that the Clinton campaign itself was pushing the conspiracy theory. Penn, in the memo, advocated that Clinton target Obama’s “lack of American roots.”
In fact, Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle confirmed that Penn wrote the memo via Twitter on Friday of this week—and also appeared on CNN to confirm that he did while working for the campaign and that he was fired for it.