On Wednesday, the Hillary Clinton campaign published a blog post suggesting that Breitbart News subscribed to the so-called “Birther” theory, which holds that President Barack Obama was born outside the U.S., not in Hawaii.
The post, “A real thing: Donald Trump just brought on the utterly extremist Breitbart News to run his campaign,” includes a link to Breitbart’s 2012 scoop that Obama’s personal literary agent promoted him for years as “born in Kenya, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”
The preamble to that article states (original emphasis):
Note from Senior Management:
Andrew Breitbart was never a “Birther,” and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of “Birtherism.” In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.
Yet Andrew also believed that the complicit mainstream media had refused to examine President Obama’s ideological past, or the carefully crafted persona he and his advisers had constructed for him.
It is for that reason that we launched “The Vetting,” an ongoing series in which we explore the ideological background of President Obama (and other presidential candidates)–not to re-litigate 2008, but because ideas and actions have consequences.
It is also in that spirit that we discovered, and now present, the booklet described below–one that includes a marketing pitch for a forthcoming book by a then-young, otherwise unknown former president of the Harvard Law Review.
It is evidence–not of the President’s foreign origin, but that Barack Obama’s public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times.
Obama’s agent claimed that the story of Kenyan birth was merely a fact-checking error. Alternatively, it could have been approved by Obama — notorious for “composite” characters in his memoirs — to make himself seem more interesting. In either case, the fact that such information was circulating in literary circles is a likely reason that the “Birther” rumor existed at all.
But it took the Clinton campaign, and its frustrated supporters, to elevate that rumor to a political cause.
The Clinton campaign discussed targeting Obama’s “lack of American roots,” which led to campaign staff circulating a photo of Obama in Muslim garb. (The Obama campaign was not above such tactics, with a campaign memo referring to Clinton as “(D-Punjab),” due to her family’s financial links to India.) Later, Clinton supporters (though not the candidate or campaign, according to available information) began circulating the rumor that Barack Obama was born abroad. One, Philip J. Burg, filed one of the more notable lawsuits challenging Obama’s Democratic Party nomination (dismissed for lack of standing).
The story has been affirmed by, of all networks, MSNBC. Birtherism began “with [Clinton] and her campaign” in 2008.
Now, the 2016 version of the Clinton campaign wants to use Birtherism against Trump — or, to be precise, against Breitbart, covering up her own role in the Birther theory. How fitting for a candidate that only 11% of Americans consider honest.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.