The answer to the question in the headline is “maybe.”
The internet is buzzing with rumors that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), possible Tea Party presidential candidate, cracked a birther joke while on the campaign, fundraiser, I-love-America trail this weekend in New Hampshire. In an interview with Boston’s conservative radio host Jeff Katz on Friday, Bachmann remarked, “I think the first thing I would do in the first debate is offer my birth certificate so we can get that off the table.”
Taken by itself, that sounds pretty self-explanatory — it’s a birther shot at Barack Obama. But here’s the larger context: Bachmann’s comment was in response to a point that Katz was making about little league baseball.
Katz: “Just yesterday my boys brought home the sign-up sheets for little league, and I kid you not, I’m looking through them and I realize I have to provide more documentation for them to go play tee ball and little league than the president ever had to provide. I mean, I’m amazed by this.”
Bachmann: “You’re kidding. Little league?”
Katz: “Little league. I got a packet of paper work and I know I’m going to get called on this, but it starts with their birth certificate and goes form there.”
Bachmann: “Oh my word. Well, I tell you one thing, if I was ever to run for president of the United States, I think the first thing I would do in the first debate is offer my birth certificate so we can get that off the table.”
When you look at the entire transcript, isn’t at least plausible Bachmann was poking fun at Katz’s local little league instead of the president? Sure, maybe it still wasn’t the smartest comment to make — especially since many want to push Bachmann into the birther camp — but it might not be the smoking gun the left is looking for.
Listen for yourself:
Readers may remember that ABC’s George Stephanopoulis asked Bachmann point-blank last month what she thought about Obama’s citizenship. She responded, “When the president makes his statements, I think they need to stand for their own.”
We reached out to Bachmann’s office for clarification regarding her latest comment and have not heard back.