White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was surprised today by an out-of-left-field birther question from a Fox News reporter. Despite what this sounds like, Fox News’ Wendell Goler was following up a question about the White House’s take on racial profiling with an interesting notion: have the birthers made Muslim-American outreach awkward for President Obama?
He answered the question with a straight “no,” commenting that the birther issue isn’t new and has not had any impact on Muslim outreach. He concluded by confirming emphatically that neither he nor anyone in the White House remotely cares about the birthers:
“Again, I’ve said this many times, Wendell. If you’re — if after I asked that the President’s birth certificate be put on the Internet hasn’t dissuaded you from where he was being born, I’m almost positive that no argument is somehow going to dissuade you from that. I don’t — I got to tell you, I don’t — we don’t spend a lot of time here worrying about what to do about people that don’t think the President was born here. I don’t — again, I’m the guy who said “put the birth certificate on the Internet.” It has apparently, among those people, dissuaded virtually none of them.”
Sam Stein at The Huffington Post (who first posted a transcript of the exchange) finds it “hard to see how this helps” the relationship between Fox and the Obama administration, but, actually, Goler’s question gave Gibbs a chance to confirm that the White House follows through on its goals no matter how loud the opposition if the latter is not debating fact.
It didn’t seem that Goler was attempting to legitimize the birthers, just to point them out as a possible nuisance for the administration with that specific policy issue. Gibbs then got the chance to note that, no, it takes a lot more than that to shake the White House’s resolve. Of course, the rigidity Gibbs demonstrated against the birthers is precisely the kind of thing one could find any number of Fox News commentators complaining about around the clock, but a sense that the administration is being affected by a fringe now nearly universally discredited by mainstream Obama detractors would demonstrate a wavering that would be detrimental to the Democrats in this election year.
Video clip below:
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com