Ken Bennett, Arizona Secretary of State: "I Am Not a 'Birther'"
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett just found out the reason why you're putting yourself in a difficult position when you appeal to "birthers" -- people are going to think you're a "birther."
After people caught on to the fact that Bennett told the "birthers" that he was taking the "extra step" to verify President Barack Obama's birth certificate in order for him to appear on Arizona ballots this year, he seems to have received enough questions about it that he's released a public statement declaring his lack of "birther"-ism.
"...I have been on the record since 2009 that I believe the President was born in Hawaii," Bennett says. "I am not a 'birther.'"
Yesterday, Bennett's spokesman confirmed to New Times that Bennett did indeed take up the request for the state of Hawaii to verify Obama's birth certificate.
Since this news came from "WorldNetDaily" conspiracy-theorist Jerome Corsi, it can be safely assumed that supporters of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "investigation" into Obama's eligibility are behind that idea.
"At the request of a constituent, I asked the state of Hawaii for a for a verification in lieu of certified copy," Bennett says today. "We're merely asking them to officially confirm they have the President's birth certificate in their possession and are awaiting their response."
In Bennett's emails to an unnamed conspiracy theorist, posted by Corsi, Bennett didn't at all agree with the "birther" argument, but said he was taking this step "at the request of many constituents."
"I can tell from the tone and language of your letters that the only acceptable outcome for you is that his name not be on the ballot, period," the email posted by Corsi says. "That may be what happens, but under my watch, it won't happen based on opinions, petitions, probability or pledges to support or oppose me in the 2014 governor's race. My oath of office is to uphold the Constitution and laws of our state and country, and I'm going to do that by following the law."
Still, Bennett must've known what he was getting himself into, as a portion of the email posted by Corsi includes Bennett saying that Arpaio's investigation hasn't proven anything.
But, as Bennett says, "I am not a 'birther.'"
UPDATE: The Arizona Republic points out that Bennett's a co-chairman to Mitt Romney's campaign in Arizona.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.