Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.
Rick Perry said Wednesday that he has "no doubt" that President Obama is an American citizen, comments that follow several suggestions from the GOP hopeful that he wasn’t so sure that the man he hopes to face in the general election was born in the United States.
In an interview with a local television news station in Florida, Perry downplayed his previous Birther applause lines, and said that people need to "lighten up a little bit."
"I don’t think I was expressing doubts," he said. "I was having some fun with Donald Trump."
Perry caused a bit of a stir this past weekend when Parade magazine published an interview with him in which the Texas governor said that he had "no reason to believe" that Obama was born elsewhere and that he still wasn’t positive that Obama’s birth certificate is legitimate. "I don’t have a definitive answer," he said then.
The full interview with TV station Bay News 9 is set to air on Sunday. But judging from a clip that was released ahead of time, Perry seems to have found a new way to channel The Donald, who quickly pivoted after Obama released his birth certificate earlier this year to demand to see the president’s college transcripts.
"Here’s the more interesting thing," Perry said in the interview, "you know, let’s lay out our income taxes, let’s lay out our college transcripts. Mine’s been on the front page of the paper. If we’re going to lay out all these things, let’s lay them out."
As the Washington Post notes, Perry's brief foray into Birther country likely will have mixed results for the GOP hopeful. On the one hand it sends a signal to the conservative base that he's not afraid to stand up to the president, but on the other it will only exacerbate the GOP establishment's concerns about him and further muddle his effort to refocus his campaign on policy issues like his flat-tax proposal.