After what must have been a riveting presentation by Donald Trump, Rick Perry hints he's no longer sure President Obama was born in the United States. Perry's campaign is struggling after a poor showing in the Republican primary debates, and now he's trying to tap the energy that fueled the other candidates who briefly challenged Mitt Romney for frontrunner status. Each contender -- Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain -- brought something unique to the table. Perry is already elbowing in on Cain's signature issue, a more regressive tax code. Now he's cribbing from Trump, leaving open the possibility that Obama isn't a citizen and therefore is an illegitimate president.
From Perry's interview with Parade magazine:
Parade: Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?
Perry: I have no reason to think otherwise.
Parade: That's not a definitive, "Yes, I believe he"—
Perry: Well, I don't have a definitive answer, because he's never seen my birth certificate.
Parade: But you've seen his.
Perry: I don't know. Have I?
Parade: You don't believe what's been released?
Perry: I don't know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.
Perry: That came up.
Parade: And he said?
Perry: He doesn't think it's real.
Parade: And you said?
Perry: 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.
Parade: Do you think Donald Trump going to support your candidacy?
Perry: You'll have to ask him, but I’d certainly like to have the Donald’s support. He is a job-creating machine, and that’s what I’m all about.
It's true: by putting her on The Apprentice, Trump did help Joan Rivers get more gigs. As The Hill's Christian Heinze notes, Karl Rove says Perry shouldn't be playing with "this nutty fringe group." But you could argue that Perry's just responding to his supporters -- an August poll showed he led among people who think Obama's not a citizen.
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