Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t: GOP presidential hopefuls weigh in on Obama’s birth certificate release

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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President Obama just can’t win when it comes to his birth certificate: before he released it, he was accused of not being a US citizen. But after the White House released the document this morning, the president drew criticism for focusing on a largely irrelevant issue. Republican presidential hopefuls voiced their discontent, calling it a distraction, or questioning why he waited so long.

“What President Obama should really be releasing is a jobs plan,” tweeted Mitt Romney.

“Media: admit it, Trump forced the issue. Now, don’t let the WH distract you w/the birth crt from what Bernanke says today. Stay focused, eh?” tweeted Sarah Palin.

Donald Trump, in a press conference, which the networks only interrupted to switch to the President’s own press conference, took credit for forcing Obama’s hand on the issue, and said he would wait to verify the document before dropping the issue.

Newt Gingrich took a Trump-ian tack, telling a Talking Points Memo reporter, “All I would say is, why did it take so long? The whole thing is strange.”

Gary Johnson said he had not paid attention to the issue today, or ever.

“No, I don’t have any comment at all,” he told The Daily Caller. “It’s never been issue for me ever. I never even thought of it.”

Herman Cain had a similarly dismissive response. Asked at an Americans for Tax Reform press event if he believed Obama’s long-form birth certificate was the real one, Cain responded: “I have no idea and to be honest with you, I don’t care.”

The President himself seems to be on the same page as Romney and Palin.

“We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” he said. “We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve. And I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them — not on this.”

Amanda Carey and Matthew Boyle contributed to the reporting in this article.