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Clinton campaign did not start birther moment, says Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager

The story belongs to CNN, I won’t take their thunder. The article is an interview of former Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle by Wolf Blitzer. She said:

The campaign, nor Hillary, did not start the birther movement.

The issue is covered in some depth, and the reader can get some solid background to understand the basis of Trump’s claims.

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77 Responses to Clinton campaign did not start birther moment, says Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager

  1. avatar
    gorefan September 17, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    “…they did forward an email that promoted the conspiracy.”

    “The birther conspiracy?” Blitzer asked.

    “Yeah. Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. …”

    This is the wrong conspiracy. The volunteer forwarded an e-mail about President Obama being a Muslim. Nothing about his place of birth.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/ben-smith/2007/12/clinton-staffer-on-anti-obama-email-chain-updated-004503

    More on the Muslim smear

    http://www.politico.com/story/2007/10/untraceable-e-mails-spread-obama-rumor-006314

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 17, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    At this point in time, “Obama is a Muslim” has been subsumed into the birther movement, along with any other statement implying that Obama is “different” than whatever they think Americans are.

    gorefan: This is the wrong conspiracy.

  3. avatar
    gorefan September 17, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    At this point in time, “Obama is a Muslim” has been subsumed into the birther movement, along with any other statement implying that Obama is “different” than whatever they think Americans are.

    I agree but in December 2007 the Muslim smear was a stand alone conspiracy. In fact the foreign birth conspiracy was not even born yet.

    Clinton certainly did not start the Muslim conspiracy as that has been traced to Andy Martin in 2004. And as the second Politico article indicates the Muslim conspiracy for the 2008 election began in early 2007 after a FOX News program.

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 17, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    We have here another example of Doc’s Law in practice.

    gorefan: This is the wrong conspiracy.

  5. avatar
    john September 17, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    SEEK OUT Bettina Viviano!!! She knows the truth!!! Blumenthal and others are Lying!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWGCuxQIZjs

  6. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater September 17, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    john:
    SEEK OUT Bettina Viviano!!! She knows the truth!!! Blumenthal and others are Lying!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWGCuxQIZjs

    Maybe she can get Adam Sandler to star in the movie?

  7. avatar
    Dave B. September 17, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

    And naturally birthers are spinning this into its exact opposite.

  8. avatar
    john September 17, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

    Here is proof Hillary started the birther movement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgSzm4_beH4

    Apparently, Hillary had started to birther movement on the premise that Obama was born in INDONESIA. It appears highly liberal Chris Mathews knew about it. At some point the narrative changed that Obama was supposely born in Kenya but it was never really advanced by the Clinton Campaign. Perhaps in October, WikiLeaks may provide leaked emails that might give more concrete evidence of the Clinton birther conspericy that every one is now denying.

  9. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG. September 18, 2016 at 2:18 am #

    john:
    Here is proof Hillary started the birther movement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgSzm4_beH4

    Apparently, Hillary had started to birther movement on the premise that Obama was born in INDONESIA. It appears highly liberal Chris Mathews knew about it. At some point the narrative changed that Obama was supposely born in Kenya but it was never really advanced by the Clinton Campaign. Perhaps in October, WikiLeaks may provide leaked emails that might give more concrete evidence of the Clinton birther conspericy that every one is now denying.

    How can you tell when john is lying? He posts something. You’ve still yet to prove a single other lie you’ve spouted, since you slithered here. Why would anyone start believing you now?

  10. avatar
    Dave B. September 18, 2016 at 3:14 am #

    Okay, this Snopes article was just brought to my attention–
    http://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-started-birther-movement/
    Loren gets some pretty shabby treatment from them. Who did all the heavy lifting there? Who gets named in the article? Only the ones who didn’t.
    And who gets their freakin’ name misspelled?

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2016 at 7:20 am #

    I have to give credit to Trump for a masterful PR victory. In a couple of sentences, he has completely shifted the discussion from his birtherism to a controversy over whether Clinton started the birther movement.

    And with every controversy, some will be on one side and some the other, regardless of the merits.

  12. avatar
    Sam the Centipede September 18, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    john:
    Here is proof Hillary started the birther movement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgSzm4_beH4

    Apparently, Hillary had started to birther movement on the premise that Obama was born in INDONESIA. It appears highly liberal Chris Mathews knew about it. At some point the narrative changed that Obama was supposely born in Kenya but it was never really advanced by the Clinton Campaign. Perhaps in October, WikiLeaks may provide leaked emails that might give more concrete evidence of the Clinton birther conspericy that every one is now denying.

    If you doubled your IQ you could hold a debate on level terms with a cactus. But it would still be a semi-literate, racist crapheap of a debate from your side. Why do you post this idiotic multiply refuted nonsense?

    It’s no surprise that you like Donald Trump. Why wouldn’t one lying piece of racist filth like another lying piece of racist filth? You belong in the same sewer.

  13. avatar
    Curious George September 18, 2016 at 9:24 am #

    Snopes:

    CLAIM: Hillary Clinton and/or members of her 2008 presidential campaign started the “birther” movement questioning whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S.

    XFALSE

    Hillary’s 2008 campaign may not have “started the ‘birther’ movement” but it appears that her campaign was involved in utilizing “birther”information to undermine Barack Obama in 2008.

    To quote Hillary, “What difference does it make?” That was 2008, this is 2016 and Donald Trump masterfully informed us that Barack Obama was born in the United States.

    In 2008, who would have benefited the most from the “birther” nonsense about Barack Obama? In my view, only Hillary Clinton and her campaign to become the Democratic nominee for president.

  14. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    You posted this on the other thread, *after* I already posted a link to it as being typical birther lie/deception/distortion.

    And I posted the transcript of that section with Chris Matthews, which clearly shows he knew no such thing.

    If you have any interest in truth, go back and look at that on the Breaking News Trump Disavows Birtherism post:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2016/09/breaking-news-trump-disavows-birtherism/#comment-378148

    ——————————-

    john:
    Here is proof Hillary started the birther movement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgSzm4_beH4

    Apparently, Hillary had started to birther movement on the premise that Obama was born in INDONESIA. It appears highly liberal Chris Mathews knew about it. At some point the narrative changed that Obama was supposely born in Kenya but it was never really advanced by the Clinton Campaign. Perhaps in October, WikiLeaks may provide leaked emails that might give more concrete evidence of the Clinton birther conspericy that every one is now denying.

  15. avatar
    bob September 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    john:
    Here is proof Hillary started the birther movement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgSzm4_beH4

    Since Gallups refuses to explain it, perhaps john can explain how Matthews is speaking for Clinton.

  16. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

    That seems like a good explanation for why birtherism didn’t amount to anything until after Obama beat Hillary Clinton. She wasn’t doing it, and then after she lost and Obama became the nominee/target, the birthers took off like a rocket with their hogwash.

    Good catch, Curious George. Keep up the good work proving Trump’s lies!

    Curious George:

    In 2008, who would have benefited the most from the “birther” nonsense about Barack Obama? In my view, only Hillary Clinton and her campaign to become the Democratic nominee for president.

  17. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    It proves the exact opposite of what he says it does. It’s like watching a real life Sith using the Force to deceive viewers. Fictional Sith Lord: “This is the lie you will believe.” Pointing right at the text and saying it means what it does not.

    john:
    Here is proof Hillary started the birther movement.

  18. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    Well, no doubt about who started or has mainstreamed the New Birther movement. Donald Trump going meta, lying about the lie.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I have to give credit to Trump for a masterful PR victory. In a couple of sentences, he has completely shifted the discussion from his birtherism to a controversy over whether Clinton started the birther movement.

    And with every controversy, some will be on one side and some the other, regardless of the merits.

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    McClatchy joins the sloppy coverage with: 2 Clinton supporters in ’08 reportedly shared Obama ‘birther’ story:

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article102354777.html

    1) One of them was 2007
    2) And it wasn’t birther

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    It is informative that this June 2008 article in Slate magazine about the PUMAs says nothing about Obamas’ birthplace.

    Why Clinton voters say they won’t support Obama

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    I remember seeing an interview with Hillary Clinton where she said Obama was born in the US. I “think” it was from 2008. Does anyone recall enough detail to find it?

  22. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Early article on birthers from David Weigel in Slate.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2008/12/change_they_can_litigate.html

  23. avatar
    RanTalbott September 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: McClatchy joins the sloppy coverage

    Something everyone citing that article as “proof” that Clinton started it leaves out:

    At the time of Mr. Blumenthal’s conversation with me, there had been a few news articles published in various outlets reporting on rumors about Obama’s birthplace. While Mr. Blumenthal offered no concrete proof of Obama’s Kenyan birth, I felt that, as journalists, we had a responsibility to determine whether or not those rumors were true. They were not.

    Blumenthal went to them after the story was on sites like WorldNutDaily, and McClatchy didn’t publish anything about it, so that couldn’t possibly have been a trigger for anything.

  24. avatar
    Dave B. September 18, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    Something else about this Asher story– he says McClatchy sent a reporter to Kenya. Who was the reporter? Where’s any report of what he or she found– whatever that could’ve been? Where’s the McClatchy story from that time period saying the birther rumors were unfounded?

  25. avatar
    Rickey September 18, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    Dave B.:
    Something else about this Asher story– he says McClatchy sent a reporter to Kenya.Who was the reporter?Where’s any report of what he or she found– whatever that could’ve been?Where’s the McClatchy story from that time period saying the birther rumors were unfounded?

    I e-mailed the McClatchy reporter yesterday and asked those exact questions. No response from him yet.

    Surely someone at McClatchy knows if they sent a reporter to Kenya to investigate. And if the reporter confirmed that the rumors of a Kenyan birth were unfounded, why was no story about it published? The Asher story doesn’t pass the smell test.

  26. avatar
    Dave B. September 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    I could certainly be wrong, but I somehow get the feeling “sending a reporter to Kenya” may not mean exactly what it sounds like.

    Rickey: I e-mailed the McClatchy reporter yesterday and asked those exact questions. No response from him yet.

    Surely someone at McClatchy knows if they sent a reporter to Kenya to investigate. And if the reporter confirmed that the rumors of a Kenyan birth were unfounded, why was no story about it published? The Asher story doesn’t pass the smell test.

  27. avatar
    Dave B. September 18, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    Okay, looking more carefully at what Asher said, he DIDN’T say anybody went to Kenya. Only that “We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false.”
    So maybe they told some reporter to go to Kenya, and he or she responded “This is bullshit. I’m not going to Kenya!”
    That fits, don’t it?

    Rickey: I e-mailed the McClatchy reporter yesterday and asked those exact questions. No response from him yet.

    Surely someone at McClatchy knows if they sent a reporter to Kenya to investigate. And if the reporter confirmed that the rumors of a Kenyan birth were unfounded, why was no story about it published? The Asher story doesn’t pass the smell test.

  28. avatar
    Rickey September 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Dave B.:
    I could certainly be wrong, but I somehow get the feeling “sending a reporter to Kenya” may not mean exactly what it sounds like.

    Asher’s exact words are “We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false.”

    Perhaps the reporter was “assigned” but never went. But if that’s the case, I’d like to know how the reporter was able to determine that the allegation was false. And, of course, why McClatchy apparently never ran a story about it.

  29. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Well, I found this from Bill Clinton in 2010.

    Clinton Rips Birthers

    http://www.politico.com/story/2010/05/clinton-rips-birthers-037693

    “Hawaii, the state where President Obama was born, has done everything they can to debunk this myth that he wasn’t born in America,” Clinton said. “They’ve done everything but blow up his birth certificate, put it in neon lights and hang it on the dome in the Capitol.”

    “But 45 percent of registered Republicans still believe that he is serving unconstitutionally,” Clinton insisted, though he did not identify the poll.

    “Why?” he asked. “Because they’ve been told that by the only place they go to get information.”

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I remember seeing an interview with Hillary Clinton where she said Obama was born in the US. I “think” it was from 2008. Does anyone recall enough detail to find it?

  30. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

    And of course JF of WND rips Bill Clinton for saying that.

    See: http://wnd.com/2010/05/158293/

    And JF now has an article up saying the first birther was not anyone other than Barack Obama himself. Via the 1991 literary bio mistake.

    http://wnd.com/2016/09/who-was-the-first-birther/

    If anyone needs a refresher on the bio mistake, see:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/booklet.asp

  31. avatar
    gorefan September 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    Andy Martin press release from 2015

    http://andyforpresident.blogspot.com/2015/09/honolulu-news-conference-today-2015.html

  32. avatar
    gorefan September 18, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

    Rickey: Asher’s exact words are “We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false.”

    Dave B.: Okay, looking more carefully at what Asher said, he DIDN’T say anybody went to Kenya.

    Asher has tweeted the following link to a McClatchy story about Corsi going to Kenya

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24503923.html

    Maybe that is what he misremembered. Nothing in story about birth in Kenya.

  33. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    Also this (finding Bill Cinton comments):

    http://www.politico.com/story/2011/04/clinton-birther-claims-ludicrous-052468

    “If I were them, I’d be really careful riding that birther horse too much. Everyone knows it’s ludicrous,” the former president said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that aired Monday.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I remember seeing an interview with Hillary Clinton where she said Obama was born in the US. I “think” it was from 2008. Does anyone recall enough detail to find it?

  34. avatar
    Dave September 18, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    Today, the chairman of the GOP on Face the Nation repeated the false story that Clinton started birtherism. I guess that makes this conspiracy theory official GOP doctrine.

  35. avatar
    Phoenix September 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

    You may be remembering this March 2008 interview on 60 Minutes about his not being Muslim?

    —————-

    CLINTON: Of course not. I mean, that’s–you know, there is not basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn’t any reason to doubt that.

    KROFT: And you said you’d take Senator Obama at his word that he’s not a Muslim.

    CLINTON: Right. Right.

    KROFT: You don’t believe that he’s a Muslim or implying? Right.

    CLINTON: No. No. Why would I? No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know.

    KROFT: It’s just scurrilous —

    CLINTON: Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time.

    —————-

    See Eric Boehlert’s scathing critique on Mediamatters of the media’s parsing of this interview. It provides a useful tonic in regard to a variety of parsings by the media even today.

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2008/03/11/hillary-clinton-60-minutes-and-the-muslim-quest/142844

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I remember seeing an interview with Hillary Clinton where she said Obama was born in the US. I “think” it was from 2008. Does anyone recall enough detail to find it?

  36. avatar
    Loren September 18, 2016 at 10:58 pm #

    Dave B.:
    Something else about this Asher story– he says McClatchy sent a reporter to Kenya.Who was the reporter?Where’s any report of what he or she found– whatever that could’ve been?Where’s the McClatchy story from that time period saying the birther rumors were unfounded?

    The notion that a competent news agency would immediately jump to physically deploying a reporter to Kenya doesn’t quite ring true for me. Unless this supposedly occurred practically on the eve of the election, there wasn’t even enough information in the rumor mill to narrow down locations worth visiting, much less people worth interviewing.

    Simply sending a reporter “to Kenya” with no specifics to research would be a ridiculous wild goose chase.

  37. avatar
    Loren September 18, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    gorefan:
    Asher has tweeted the following link to a McClatchy story about Corsi going to Kenya

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24503923.html

    Maybe that is what he misremembered.Nothing in story about birth in Kenya.

    And, of course, THAT visit wasn’t until October 2008. Well after the Democratic Convention, and thus an odd time for Clinton’s campaign to be attempting to sabotage Obama.

    Fun fact about that Corsi trip: if you go back and look carefully at the WND stories that preceded Corsi’s trip, and which WND ran while he was there and immediately thereafter, they’re noticeably silent on Birther topics. Lots of talk about Obama’s connections to Odinga, but pretty much NOTHING about Obama supposedly being born there.

    It wasn’t until after the McRae/Sarah Obama interview, a week or so after Corsi’s return, that WND, Farah, and Corsi started retconning Corsi’s trip into being Birther-related. That quickly led to Farah (and occasionally Corsi himself) claiming that Corsi interviewed Obama’s relatives when he was there, and brought back copies of the McRae affidavits, even though Corsi spoke to ZERO Obama relatives while in Kenya and the McRae interview hadn’t even HAPPENED when he returned to the US.

  38. avatar
    gorefan September 18, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    Loren: And

    Clinton staffer fired for Muslim email

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/ben-smith/2007/12/clinton-staffer-on-anti-obama-email-chain-updated-004503

  39. avatar
    Rickey September 19, 2016 at 12:05 am #

    gorefan:
    Asher has tweeted the following link to a McClatchy story about Corsi going to Kenya

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24503923.html

    Maybe that is what he misremembered.Nothing in story about birth in Kenya.

    And let’s not forget that there is nothing in Corsi’s book about a birth in Kenya, either. I don’t remember when Corsi first went birther, but nowhere in “The Obama Nation” does he argue that Obama wasn’t eligible to be president.

  40. avatar
    charo September 19, 2016 at 1:23 am #

    Let’s let her get away with weaselly language because well, because.

    KROFT: “You don’t believe that Senator Obama’s a Muslim?”

    CLINTON: “Of course not. I mean that’s, you know, that, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says, and, you know, there isn’t any reason to doubt that.”

    KROFT: “You said you take Sen. Obama at his word that he’s not a Muslim.”

    CLINTON: “Right, right.”

    KROFT: “—You don’t believe that he’s a Muslim.”

    CLINTON: “No! No! Why would I? There’s nothing to base that on. As far as I know.”

    HAHA As far as she knows…

    stuff here: http://www.dailywire.com/news/9200/hillary-invented-birtherism-11-things-media-wont-john-nolte#

    They kissed and made up later.

  41. avatar
    bob September 19, 2016 at 2:53 am #

    Loren: The notion that a competent news agency would immediately jump to physically deploying a reporter to Kenya doesn’t quite ring true for me.

    There may be some wordplay going on: Asher said a reporter was “assigned” to go to Kenya. That the “assignment” happened could be different from a reporter actually going.

  42. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 3:41 am #

    So that detail about sending a reporter to Kenya would have to be verifiable through others people (including the reporter) and would have had to leave a paper trail.

    The story about Corsi being kicked out of Kenya was written by Shashank Bengali, currently with the LA Times where his bio lists his stint at McClatchy as including time as the bureau chief in Nairobi, Kenya. Reviewing his international articles, it seems like something he would write as a natural part of his beat, though not the most substantial of his many serious articles.

    It seems more likely Bengali wasn’t sent, but that he already was stationed there. Unless sent is being used very loosely.

    You can look through this list of all his fairly serious articles on international topics.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/search/?facet=news&order=DESC&page=27&q=Shashank+Bengali&sort=publishdate

    In 2008, there are a number from Nairobi (one on July 8, and others), thenat least a few from Chad in July/August. On August 29 he was reporting from Poti, Georgia. The next article listed is September 15 from Nairobi about Zimbabwe. The Corsi article was Oct. 7. Bengali was still in Kenya (Kogelo) to write about Kenya’s and Obama’s extended family celebrating his election, then off to the Congo, and here and there and back to Kenya, etc.

    ——

    Here is his LA Times bio:

    Shashank Bengali is the Los Angeles Times’ South Asia correspondent, covering India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and surrounding countries. Previously he was a national security reporter based in Washington, D.C. He came to The Times in 2012 from McClatchy Newspapers, where he served as bureau chief in Nairobi, Kenya; correspondent in Cairo and Baghdad; and national security editor in Washington. Over the past decade, he has reported from more than 40 countries and introduced readers to Somali pirates, Afghan warlords, Chinese race-car drivers, Nigerian film stars, Arab revolutionaries and other larger-than-life characters. He’s also written from overseas for Playboy magazine. Originally from Cerritos, he studied journalism at USC and earned a master’s in public policy from Harvard University.

    http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-shashank-bengali-staff.html

    ——

    Bengali has a twitter handle:

    https://twitter.com/SBengali?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    and the one tweet closet to this topic is from this last Thursday, Sept. 15.

    Shashank Bengali
    @SBengali

    Shashank Bengali Retweeted Cathleen Decker

    This.

    Shashank Bengali added,
    Cathleen Decker @cathleendecker

    The thing Trump campaign calls “ugly incident” is what Trump himself fanned for years to de-legitimize the nation’s first black President.
    RETWEET

    10:41 PM – 15 Sep 2016

    Loren: The notion that a competent news agency would immediately jump to physically deploying a reporter to Kenya doesn’t quite ring true for me. Unless this supposedly occurred practically on the eve of the election, there wasn’t even enough information in the rumor mill to narrow down locations worth visiting, much less people worth interviewing.

    Simply sending a reporter “to Kenya” with no specifics to research would be a ridiculous wild goose chase.

  43. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 4:03 am #

    Pertinent point, that. There was nothing for Clinton or Blumenthal as a Clinton supporter to gain in October 2008.

    ——

    On July 8 from Nairobi, Kenya, Shashank Bengali wrote an article: Kenya’s president lost disputed election, poll shows.

    May 21, 2008 from Nairobi: After Kenya’s violence abates, victims wait for justice

    Before that date, at a glance (May back to March) I see him in Baghdad, Somalia, Zimbabwe.

    But on March 17, 2008, he was in Nairobi writing: Kenyan officials plotted attacks that killed hundreds

    Continuing backwards through time from then, many from Kenya, with some hopping around.

    Without any other articles about then presidential nominee Barack Obama.

    ——

    So, whether or not Asher put Bengali onto the birther angle, it would seem at best to be something like: “look into that while you’re at it.”

    But nothing in that Corsi article Asher tweeted (by Bengali) mentions birtherism or questions of Obama being born in Kenya.

    The article is about Kenya not wanting to be involved in broader smear campaigns from Corsi.

    A lot is wanting there when it comes to connecting dots to birtherism.

    Loren: And, of course, THAT visit wasn’t until October 2008. Well after the Democratic Convention, and thus an odd time for Clinton’s campaign to be attempting to sabotage Obama.

  44. avatar
    RanTalbott September 19, 2016 at 4:14 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: In a couple of sentences, he has completely shifted the discussion from his birtherism to a controversy over whether Clinton started the birther movement.

    And, unfortunately, it’s working: Trump’s minions are pushing hard to distract the taking heads with it, and using it to deflect the important questions.

    Priebus and Conway have discarded their last shreds of integrity, and joined Trump in flat-out lying. And the interviewers seem to be mostly letting them get away with it. Chuck Todd made an attempt to nail Conway, but he folded quickly.

  45. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 4:16 am #

    Speculatively, it may be that Asher in his memory is conflating smears about Obama being Muslim with birtherism, as so many others are doing, and that perhaps Blumenthal said something about Obama’s “heritage,” akin to the Mark Penn memo, but not about Obama’s birth. That might make sense. The Shashank Bengali article Asher tweeted could at least be seen as more smoothly following from such starting point.

    Maybe Blumenthal was saying something like, you know he’s from Kenya, you should look into that, write something about that. And Asher took “from” to mean “born.” As seems a popular mistake, whether accidental or on purpose in any given case.

    At any rate, speculation aside, it is hard to connect the dots when Asher’s stance is “his word against mine.”

  46. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 4:17 am #

    But someone could ask Shashank Bengali (see his twitter handle above) his take on what he was asked to write or research.

  47. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 4:30 am #

    I disagree that Chuck Todd folded. I thought he kept pushing it. He said not true, very clearly. Kellyanne Conway, though, is dangerously good at her job. And time keeps ticking in these conversations.

    I see almost every single reporter pushing back hard/directly on all the surrogates, not letting this lie about HRC slide (and the lie that Trump finished it). They may not shame Conway or others into shutting up and slinking away. They’re never going to do that.

    Burt people can hear the direct challenge and confrontation of the lie. Headlines clearly calling it out as a lie. That is important. And, I see FB friends (who never discuss politics and make a point of saying they never do, but now they must) coming out this weekend and taking on Trump.

    If you want some catharsis on this front, though, watch Joy Reid handle a surrogate.

    RanTalbott: And, unfortunately, it’s working: Trump’s minions are pushing hard to distract the taking heads with it, and using it to deflect the important questions.

    Priebus and Conway have discarded their last shreds of integrity, and joined Trump in flat-out lying. And the interviewers seem to be mostly letting them get away with it. Chuck Todd made an attempt to nail Conway, but he folded quickly.

  48. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 19, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    In fact, Corsi’s book, “Obama Nation,” has evidence that Obama was NOT born in Kenya:

    “Obama has been in Africa three times,” Sayid [Obama, the President’s uncle in Kenya] insisted. “The first time was in 1986. Then he came back again in 1992, when he was collecting material for his autobiography…”

    Rickey: And let’s not forget that there is nothing in Corsi’s book about a birth in Kenya, either.

  49. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    Shashank Bengali

    not Shashanka

    (I started spelling his name incorrectly.)

  50. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    The part of Morning Joe I caught this morning had them excoriating Trump and Christie and Priebus and Conway about DT having “finished it.”

    They played a series of clips that showed push-back on the weekend interviews. The clip they chose from Chuck Todd was him asking Conway if Trump shouldn’t apologize for his smears. They finished off with Jake Tapper pushing back against Christie.

    Then they came back to their roundtable, and they all excoriated the notion. Katy Kay started off saying, it’s just not true. They all elaborated on the falseness of it and how it is fact that DT had kept it up for years.

  51. avatar
    gorefan September 19, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    Phoenix: Shashank Bengali

    sbengali@latimes.com

  52. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    Right. I was thinking Twitter but email, right.

    The main upshot here, I think, is that despite Asher’s tweet to the contrary, it actually is not just Asher ‘s word against Blumentha’s word, not entirely.

    Questions Bengali, who seems a straightforward, professional journalist:

    How did you come to write the Corsi story? Did Asher speak with you about doing an Obama story viz. Kenya? Who, if anyone, communicated with you about the Corsi story, or any Obama/Kenya story? Or did you come up with the story on your own? How did it come to be written?

    What did Asher, or anyone, convey to you about what angle to pursue? Did Asher, or anyone, request you to look into rumors about Obama’s birth? Or just his heritage/religion or the like? Was that even a conversation? Or email?

    Asher may not have mentioned Blumenthal, probably not, but did he?

    Who else would have been in the loop, involved, have knowledge of the circumstances around this story and Asher’s claims about researching Obama rumors? And, again, exactly what kind of rumors were being discussed?

    gorefan: sbengali@latimes.com

  53. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    In the interests of reducing the error rate of the Internet, I have corrected your spelling in previous comments.

    Phoenix: Shashank Bengali

    not Shashanka

  54. avatar
    Phoenix September 19, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Thank you, Doc!

  55. avatar
    Rickey September 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

    Phoenix:
    Kellyanne Conway, though, is dangerously good at her job.

    Her ability to smile broadly while lying is disarming.

  56. avatar
    Rickey September 19, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    Phoenix:

    The story about Corsi being kicked out of Kenya was written by Shashank Bengali, currently with the LA Times where his bio lists his stint at McClatchy as including time as the bureau chief in Nairobi, Kenya. Reviewing his international articles, it seems like something he would write as a natural part of his beat, though not the most substantial of his many serious articles.

    It seems more likely Bengali wasn’t sent, but that he already was stationed there. Unless sent is being used very loosely.

    i believe that Asher was trying to cover his ass with a misdirect by tweeting the link to Bengali’s story about Corsi.The timeline makes no sense.

    Asher claims that the meeting with Blumenthal occurred during the Democratic primary race. Clinton conceded and endorsed Obama on June 7, so the meeting, if it ever happened, must have occurred during the spring of 2008. Bengali’s article about Corsi didn’t appear until October, so I don’t see any connection at all.

    The McClatchy reporter hasn’t responded to my e-mail.

  57. avatar
    donna September 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    David Frum responded to the McClatchy story on MSNBC on 9/18:

    McClatchy has a news bureau in Africa and they wrote that Obama’s mother, a heavily pregnant woman in 1961, got on a PROP plane in Hawaii and then spent a YEARS INCOME to fly to LA, then to NY, to Shannon, to Rome and from Rome to Nairobi to give her child the advantages of a KENYAN PASSPORT? and THEN she named her son Barack Hussein Obama so that he could be the President of the US? NONE of this MAKES ANY SENSE

  58. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater September 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    Rickey: i believe that Asher was trying to cover his ass with a misdirect by tweeting the link to Bengali’s story about Corsi.The timeline makes no sense.

    Asher claims that the meeting with Blumenthal occurred during the Democratic primary race. Clinton conceded and endorsed Obama on June 7, so the meeting, if it ever happened, must have occurred during the spring of 2008. Bengali’s article about Corsi didn’t appear until October, so I don’t see any connection at all.

    The McClatchy reporter hasn’t responded to my e-mail.

    The one email Asher released had nothing to do with birtherism. He also says he has no actual proof in writing.

  59. avatar
    Rickey September 21, 2016 at 2:51 am #

    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater: The one email Asher released had nothing to do with birtherism.He also says he has no actual proof in writing.

    The latest from McClatchy clarifies a few points, but leaves others unanswered. Bengali says “he did report on several tips as well as the false rumor that Obama was born there,” but what happened to his reporting? I haven’t been able to find any stories by Bengali in 2008 which relate to the birther issue, and McClatchy hasn’t provided links to any. We also don’t known when the supposed meeting between Asher and Blumenthal took place.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article102828747.html

  60. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 21, 2016 at 7:09 am #

    They linked to one in 2009.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24548944.html

    Rickey: I haven’t been able to find any stories by Bengali in 2008 which relate to the birther issue, and McClatchy hasn’t provided links to any.

  61. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater September 21, 2016 at 7:53 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    They linked to one in 2009.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24548944.html

    So almost a year later? Delayed reaction?

  62. avatar
    Rickey September 21, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    They linked to one in 2009.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24548944.html

    But it wasn’t written by Bengali, and it makes no mention of Bengali doing any investigation in Kenya.

    One would think that if Bengali had conducted an investigation about Obama’s birth, the results of that investigation would have been included in the 2009 article.

  63. avatar
    Phoenix September 21, 2016 at 8:54 am #

    I searched and looked through the McClatchy history of articles (which I linked above) that lists McClatchy articles by Shashank Bengali as the byline writer and articles on which he contributed reporting.

    Here is that link again for convenience: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/search/?facet=news&order=DESC&page=27&q=Shashank+Bengali&sort=publishdate

    I looked through to 2006 and forward to January 2010 (when Bengali left Africa and ended his beat there). There are no stories listed involving Bengali that include any discussion of the birther conspiracy.

    The story Asher linked by Bengali mentions Corsi’s visit and ejection, and it is the only story listed including anything even tangential to the issue but does not discuss birtherism.The only thing about that article related to birtherism is the name Corsi, and even that was still pre-birther Corsi. As Doc noted earlier, Corsi’s book mentioned in that article does not even any controversy or conspiracy about Obama’s birthplace.

    The one article Doc links from 2009 is not listed as being by or reported by Shashank Bengali.

    ——

    Rickey: The latest from McClatchy clarifies a few points, but leaves others unanswered. Bengali says “he did report on several tips as well as the false rumor that Obama was born there,” but what happened to his reporting? I haven’t been able to find any stories by Bengali in 2008 which relate to the birther issue, and McClatchy hasn’t provided links to any….

    ——

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    They linked to one in 2009.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24548944.html

  64. avatar
    Phoenix September 21, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    I want to stress that if you actually read through some of those stories, Shashank Bengali is clearly a serious reporter. Those are serious, important articles (covering the region, informing American readers).

  65. avatar
    Rickey September 21, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    Phoenix:
    I want to stress that if you actually read through some of those stories, Shashank Bengali is clearly a serious reporter. Those are serious, important articles (covering the region, informing American readers).

    Agreed. And it is possible that Bengali did report from Kenya about the birther issue, but if so it appears that McClatchy never published it.

    The bottom line is that there is no evidence to substantiate Asher’s story. He has nothing in writing from Blumenthal which mentions Obama’s birth, and McClatchy never published any articles about Bengali investigating whether Obama was born in Kenya.

  66. avatar
    Phoenix September 21, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    Here is the key quote from Shashank Bengali to Asher (at the end of the article…in contrast the early part of the article which is more ambiguously crafted):

    “[Asher] also cited an email Monday from Bengali, who wrote: ‘What I remember is that you told me to look into everything about Obama’s family in Kenya. I can’t recall if we specifically discussed the birther claim, but I’m sure that was part of what I researched.'”

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article102828747.html

    Notice: Bengali is sure that the birther claim is part of what he researched. Researched, not reported.

    In contrast to the claim in the lead of the article, Bengali here does not say he “report[ed] on the false rumor that Obama was born there.”

    Now, we could get into technical parsing of the definition of the word and practice of “reporting.” Is it reporting to just research, look into, and, assumingly, report back about that research without any publication or reporting to the public?

    Regardless of that slice-and-dice, the point is that the lead casts that quote in a more affirmative light than it deserves, especially given the quote at the end of the article from the email Bengali sent to Asher.

    That final quote makes it much clearer, especially when you read the actual article Bengali wrote and had published, which includes zero references to the “birther claim.”

    The take away is that birther claims barely registered at that time, at best an afterthought.

    Given how birtherism has become conflated with anti-muslim smears, I am more likely to think Asher is misremembering, misconstructing, barring any further, actual reporting.

    Rickey: The latest from McClatchy clarifies a few points, but leaves others unanswered. Bengali says “he did report on several tips as well as the false rumor that Obama was born there,” but what happened to his reporting? I haven’t been able to find any stories by Bengali in 2008 which relate to the birther issue, and McClatchy hasn’t provided links to any….

  67. avatar
    Phoenix September 21, 2016 at 9:45 am #

    I also wonder, did Asher keep contemporaneous notes?

    Let’s say it is true. Just professionally speaking, why did he drop his accusation into the twitter sphere so sloppily without first marshaling any possible resources? A victim of tweet-first/report-later culture?

    Rickey: The latest from McClatchy clarifies a few points, but leaves others unanswered.

  68. avatar
    Phoenix September 21, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    “We didn’t even publish a story.”

    ——

    Here we go:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/sid-blumenthal-birthers-clinton-obama-228388

    A better look at it than from McClatchy.

    Includes this statement from Shashank Bengali:

    Bengali interviewed Obama’s siblings and friends of his father, but came up empty. “There was nothing there. We didn’t even publish a story,” he said.

  69. avatar
    Phoenix September 21, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    Oh, and Asher says he doesn’t have anything in writing memorizing the conversation.

    Whatever the truth, I’m not overly keen about Asher’s journalistic skills.

    Bengali is coming out a winner, though. Journalist worthy of reading.

  70. avatar
    Rickey September 21, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Going back in time, factcheck.org first addressed the birther issue on June 16, 2008. The story says that questions about Obama’s birth were being raised by unnamed bloggers and references a WND story dated June 10, 2008. That appears to be the first time that WND brought it up, but if anyone is aware of an earlier story I would appreciate the details.The story also notes that Tommy Vietor of the Obama campaign e-mailed a digital image of the COLB to news reporters

    The link to the WND story is not working, but I found it reproduced on a blog. WND also refers to unnamed bloggers, and also to Jim Geraghty. It is widely believed that the Obama campaign released the COLB in response to a piece written by Geraghty. In one of the worst political predictions made in recent times, “Geraghty said the Obama campaign could ‘debunk’ the rumors about his birth simply by releasing a copy of his birth certificate.”

    http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=44151.0;wap

    As far as I can determine, none of the news stories about the birther rumors in 2008 attributed them to Clinton or to her campaign. That includes Geraghty’s piece at National Review Online on June 9, 2008.

    http://c9.nrostatic.com/campaign-spot/9490/obama-could-debunk-some-rumors-releasing-his-birth-certificate-jim-geraghty?target=author&tid=814

  71. avatar
    Dave B. September 21, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    Smiling faces, sometimes they don’t tell the truth.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV69WBvFGBA

    Rickey: Her ability to smile broadly while lying is disarming.

  72. avatar
    Steve September 28, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

    Is it intellectually dishonest to say Trump is racist for promoting birtherism, but not saying Hillary is racist for promoting claims about being a Muslim, etc.?
    One guy I was arguing with said it is.

  73. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 29, 2016 at 12:03 am #

    Hillary Clinton never promoted claims that Obama was a Muslim. Andy Martin invented the Obama is a Muslim smear–I think it was in 2004.

    Consider this interview Clinton gave to 60 Minutes in 2008:

    Q. You don’t believe Senator Obama’s a Muslim.

    Clinton: Of course not. That’s, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says and there isn’t any reason to doubt that.

    Q. You take Senator Obama’s word that he’s not a Muslim. You don’t believe that he’s a Muslim?

    Clinton: No, No. There’s nothing to base that on. So far as I know.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHFREDHB-nQ

    Some people make a big deal about Clinton’s words at the end, “as far as I know.” but I think this is just the lawyer in her making a precise statement about her knowledge. After all, Clinton is not an authority on Obama’s religion, and can only give her own opinion based on knowledge and belief.

    Steve: Is it intellectually dishonest to say Trump is racist for promoting birtherism, but not saying Hillary is racist for promoting claims about being a Muslim, etc.?

  74. avatar
    Steve September 29, 2016 at 12:38 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Hillary Clinton never promoted claims that Obama was a Muslim. Andy Martin invented the Obama is a Muslim smear–I think it was in 2004.

    Consider this interview Clinton gave to 60 Minutes in 2008:

    Q. You don’t believe Senator Obama’s a Muslim.

    Clinton: Of course not. That’s, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says and there isn’t any reason to doubt that.

    Q. You take Senator Obama’s word that he’s not a Muslim. You don’t believe that he’s a Muslim?

    Clinton: No, No. There’s nothing to base that on. So far as I know.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHFREDHB-nQ

    Some people make a big deal about Clinton’s words at the end, “as far as I know.” but I think this is just the lawyer in her making a precise statement about her knowledge. After all, Clinton is not an authority on Obama’s religion, and can only give her own opinion based on knowledge and belief.

    That makes sense.
    The brought up the Washington Times piece you discussed and one that was “seven things that prove Clinton started the birther movement” or something like that.
    One of the things that frustrates me is how Trump supporters can always find something that “proves” Hillary did what Trump did and that if you’re going to criticize him you have to criticize her.
    I would really prefer to tie that hand behind their backs because I don’t think it’s a legitimate debate tactic.

  75. avatar
    Dave B. September 29, 2016 at 5:04 am #

    People also tend to turn that into “He’s not a Muslim, as far as I know.” That’s not what she said. She said “There’s nothing to base that on. So far as I know.” That’s quite a bit different. One could acknowledge the existence of something on which to base the claim, and dismiss it as unpersuasive. She’s not even going that far. I don’t think there’s anything the least bit coy about her adding the qualification.

    Dr. Conspiracy: Some people make a big deal about Clinton’s words at the end, “as far as I know.” but I think this is just the lawyer in her making a precise statement about her knowledge. After all, Clinton is not an authority on Obama’s religion, and can only give her own opinion based on knowledge and belief.

  76. avatar
    RanTalbott September 29, 2016 at 7:22 am #

    Steve: One of the things that frustrates me is how Trump supporters can always find something that “proves” Hillary did what Trump did

    If they can’t find it, they just manufacture it.

    Trump lied about Blumenthal in the debate, repeating a claim that birthers have been creaming in their jeans over. But the fact is that he went to McClatchy after the birthers started spreading the lies online.

    At the time of Mr. Blumenthal’s conversation with me, there had been a few news articles published in various outlets reporting on rumors about Obama’s birthplace.

  77. avatar
    bob September 29, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    Steve: I would really prefer to tie that hand behind their backs because I don’t think it’s a legitimate debate tactic.

    Your mistake is in thinking that birthers are interested in a legitimate debate.