Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry told CNBC’s John Harwood that the 'birthers' claims about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate not being legitimate was "a good issue to keep alive" (video below).
Gov. Perry was being interviewed about his new flat rate tax plan, which critics say would be a massive tax cut for the wealthy.
He first raised questions about Obama’s birth certificate in an interview published in Parade magazine over the weekend.
When asked if he believed the Obama birth certificate was real in Parade, Gov. Perry said he “(didn't) know" and added: "I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night. He doesn’t think it’s real. I don’t have any idea. It doesn’t matter. He’s the President of the United States. He’s elected. It’s a distractive issue.”
Many of the so-called 'birthers' believe that Obama was born in Kenya in 1961 and that his birth certificate (and birth annoucement in Hawaii newspapers) was faked in order to make him eligible for the presidency.
Obama released his long-form birth certificate in late April. It confirmed what his short form birth certificate (released in 2008) states, that the president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961.
Perry said on CNBC on Monday: "Look I haven’t seen his, I haven’t seen his grades. My grades ended up on the front page of the newspaper, so let’s you know, if we’re going to show stuff, let’s show stuff, but look that’s all a distraction, I mean I get it. I’m really not worried about the president’s birth certificate. It’s fun to poke at him a little bit and say ‘Hey, how about let’s see your grades and your birth certificate.’”
However, Harwood stated on Tuesday that he couldn’t tell if Gov. Perry was joking about the issue or not: “It wasn’t clear entirely to what to what degree he was trying to be serious and joking at the same time, maybe play both sides of the fence."
As far as grades go, President Obama graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, while Gov. Perry earned a D in Principle of Economics from Texas A&M University.