Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is focusing on a new adversary when it comes to the birther movement — Hillary Clinton. Trump has insinuated Clinton was the person who started the entire movement that accuses President Obama of not being a U.S. citizen during her failed 2008 presidential campaign against the then-Illinois senator. Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has followed suit and echoed the Donald's claim. There's only one problem, however: it's completely false and Hillary Clinton is not a birther.
On a recent Fox News appearance, Trump was asked yet again about whether or not he thought Obama was born in the United States. A prominent and vocal force during the original birther debacle in 2008, the current GOP frontrunner has been oddly quiet about the issue for the most part as of late. When asked in recent interviews such as with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, Trump said he's moved past questioning Obama's citizenship.
Following his Fox News appearance, however, Trump tweeted out a claim that Clinton was "all in" when the birther movement first gained steam nearly eight years ago. In an interview with Yahoo News, Cruz faced the issue head on. The Texas senator told anchor Katie Couric "the whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama."
According to The Washington Post, the closest Clinton ever got to the question of Obama's citizenship actually didn't come from her. It came from her staff. During the 2008 presidential election, Clinton pollster Mark Penn zeroed in on Obama's diverse upbringing and sent out a memo in 2007 that proclaimed it a liability in that people could perceive it as disjointed with American values. The release of the memo following Clinton dropping out of the presidential was seen as ultimately embarrassing. Penn said:
All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared toward showing his background is diverse, multicultural, and putting that in a new light. Save it for 2050. It also exposes a very strong weakness for him — his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited.
Shockingly, Trump's and Cruz's claims has gained enough steam that Clinton felt the need to address the controversy in a radio interview on The Tom Joyner Morning Show on Wednesday. "That first of all, it’s totally untrue. And secondly, the president and I have never had any kind of confrontation like that," Clinton told Joyner.
Perhaps Trump and Cruz should focus their efforts on a different kind of issue, namely their standings compared to other GOP candidates. Following the latest GOP debate, Trump's poll numbers have fallen, as have Cruz's, according to a recent poll released by Fox News on Tuesday. Trump still leads the pack, albeit at 26 percent, while Cruz's numbers have fallen from 10 percent to 8 percent.