Earlier today, in an attempt to silence critics, Republican Presidential contender Donald Trump announced that he does in fact believe President Obama was born in the U.S. The remark comes on the heels of a long and sordid affair with the birther movement on the part of Trump; one that he has taken quite a bit of heat for in recent days. However, that statement itself wasn’t nearly as interesting as the other one he brought along for the ride. Observe.
Hillary Clinton, and her campaign of 2008, started the birther controversy. I finished it. President Obama was born in the United States period.
Hillary started the birther movement? Quite a statement. Could it possibly be true? “No way” right? Actually … it might be. There does at least appear to be some evidence pointing toward the Clinton campaign’s meddling presence near the epicenter of this back in her first presidential attempt during the 2008 election. Let’s take a look.
The Campaign Memo
In a strategic memo sent by Clinton chief strategist Mark Penn back in 2007, attention was given toward what campaign leadership identified as Obama’s “lack of American roots;” claiming that his connection to American culture was “at best limited,” that Obama was “not at his center fundamentally American,” and that these weaknesses should be exploited. Here are a few excerpts from that memo.
The Campaign Picture
In 2008, just before the critical Iowa Caucuses, the following picture was released (reportedly by a member of Clinton’s campaign) ; depicting president Obama dressed in what appears to be Muslim attire.
Left-wing news outlet The Guardian reported this back in 2008, just after the photo’s release:
Barack Obama’s campaign team today accused Hillary Clinton’s beleaguered staff of mounting a desperate dirty tricks operation by circulating a picture of him in African dress, feeding into false claims on US websites that he is a Muslim.
Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, described it as “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election”. Obama has had to spend much of the campaign stressing he is a Christian not a Muslim and did not study at a madrassa.
The implication here seems to be a direct extension of the strategy outlined in the 2007 memo; attempting to demonstrate that Obama is “not at his center fundamentally American.”
MSNBC Pundits Agree (a year ago)
In 2015, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough reminded panelists that while he believed that Republicans were wrong for continuing to spread this rumor, Hillary Clinton started it.
“It all started with her and her campaign passing things around in the Democratic primary; rich … Now, the Republicans are wrong for doing what they’re doing. This started with Hillary Clinton, and it was spread by the Clinton team in 2008.”
In the same segment, John Heilemann, a managing editor at Bloomberg Politics and author of Game Change (an inside account of the 2008 presidential race), agreed with Joe and strongly affirmed his belief.
It was the case,” he said. “I’m affirming the Scarborough-Brzezinski assertion.”
What do you think? Is Donald right? Did Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency in 2008 start the birther controversy? Is the evidence inconclusive? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.