Candidates share views on Obama 'birther' movement

By KALEY CONNER

kconner@dailynews.net

There's been much in the news lately regarding the "birther movement," or more specifically, whether the Big First congressional candidates believe President Obama is a legitimate U.S. citizen.

The controversy began when the Hutchinson News withdrew their endorsement for Tracey Mann, following radio comments in which Mann said Obama "needs to come forth with his papers and show everyone that he is an American citizen."

The Hays Daily News asked all six Republican candidates to weigh in on the matter.

Here are their responses:

Jim Barnett: "First of all, there are many important issues facing our nation. When I see President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi come up with policies like cap and trade, and cram Obamacare through, I wonder what planet they're coming from. I've never seen any evidence to the contrary that he is not a United States citizen."

Sue Boldra: "I guess since it is an issue, and because much of what has happened in Congress has been behind closed doors... maybe, just to quell everyone's controversy, perhaps he ought to just show it... I think it's a non-issue. When I was teaching government, that was one of the roles of the political party, was to make sure the candidates presented are acceptable and eligible. I assume during the vetting process he would have assured the party of that. I know that is a concern, and I certainly understand that is a concern. But on the other hand, I always felt too, that if his mother is a Kansan then he would be (a citizen) by original birth."

Marck Cobb: "I feel confident that both the party elements and also the government verified the requirements of office before permitting anyone to be sworn into office. Therefore, I do not question that issue. You can always add the caveat that if you have

factual evidence that there is fraud committed, then certainly you're entitled to present that evidence and proceed with the legal routes, which would be impeachment, basically, if it can be confirmed. But I believe the government has done their duty to make sure they have met the requirements. I think the issue has been somewhat resolved. If I understand it, they've taken back their statement, which I think is an example of just being a little shallow and inexperienced. And you need to have the ability to have that strong voice with your background of experience if you're going to be able to convince others that you know what you're talking about."

Tim Huelskamp: "I believe Barack Obama is a citizen, and I oppose him on the basis of his liberal radical agenda. And we will take on his agenda and the agenda of Speaker Pelosi. I think it's a real non-issue and at this point that some candidates in this race want to focus on that instead of taking on his push on Obamacare and... another $10 trillion of debt the president is proposing, I think it's a distraction. I've heard them twice, both of them -- Tracey Mann and Sue Boldra -- both express concerns about the citizenship issue, and I think, again, that's a distraction... If they're going to focus on that, I think the bigger issues get lost."

Tracey Mann: "It's not an issue. We need to be focusing on Republicans taking control of the House so we can cut spending, create jobs, and get our country back on track. Those are the important issues we're facing right now."

Rob Wasinger: "I think, if you watch the video from the Elkhart forum, I was the only candidate that said that we need to keep our focus on fighting President Obama's socialized medicine, his cap and trade proposals, his new consumer financial protection reform bill that's the most sweeping financial reform legislation that has come before the Congress since the Great Depression. All of the other candidates, I think, thought that the birther question was a legitimate question. I do not think it is. We could spend two, three years fighting to see Obama's birth certificate, and be no further toward our goal. We've got to fight him on his agenda. I mean, I'm not happy about the fact that President Obama is the president, but he is. If he signs something, it becomes law and affects us. So we've got to fight him on the merits of his agenda and not waste our time on red herrings."