Liz Cheney Defends Birthers on Larry King


The setup: Larry King had Liz Cheney and James Carville on last night, and showed them video of a woman, in the audience at a townhall being conducted by Rep. Mike Castle,  screaming a deranged rant about Pres. Obama not being a U.S. citizen. Then he asked them to comment. Here is what Cheney said:

“People are fundamentally uncomfortable, and they’re fundamentally increasingly uncomfortable with an American president who seems to be afraid to defend America,” she said  “The kind of thing you saw on this video is indicative of sort of a general feeling of discomfort.”

Ben Smith at Politico emailed Cheney about the comment, but she refused to take the opportunity to redeem herself:

I don’t have any question about Barack Obama’s right to be President of the United States.

My concern is with his policies. I am deeply troubled about the path he is taking this country down — massively expanding the size of government, weakening our national defenses, increasing taxes on all Americans and nationalizing health care. These are dangerous policies for the nation.

Eric Kleefeld at TPMDC notes the “artful phrasing“:

She says that she does not question Obama’s “right to be President of the United States,” which would logically imply that she accepts his citizenship. But she doesn’t use the actual word “citizen,” or otherwise include a more direct denunciation of Birther conspiracy theories.

Of course not. As Carville put it, “She refuses to say, ‘This is ludicrous,’ because she actually wants to encourage these people to believe this.”

And thus she gets to have her cake and eat it, too:

By refusing to denounce the Birthers on CNN, then issuing a mealy-mouthed statement that she doesn’t question Obama’s right to be president, Cheney has it both ways: She curries favor with the Birthers […] but affirms her basic sanity (if not integrity) to the Beltway media.

More commentary at Memeorandum.

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