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Is Rick Perry Doubling Down on His Obama Birther Comments?

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"It's a good issue to keep alive."

Over the weekend, we learned that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry still has some reservations about President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Now, some say that the GOP contender is doubling down on his view that the president's birth certificate may, indeed, be forged.

To begin, there was the doubt he expressed in an interview with Parade Magazine over the weekend. But now, in a new interview with CNBC's John Harwood, some say that Perry has, once again, tinkered around with, and pseudo-endorsed, Birtherism.

This morning, Harwood sent the following tweet:

Watch Perry's statements, below:

In covering this statement, the USA Today's David Jackson writes, "Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry appears to be doubling down on the President Obama birth certificate issue." Jackson continues:

Perry's apparent flirtation with the so-called "birther" issue drew criticism from some fellow Republicans who called it an unnecessary distraction from other issues (such as Perry's flat tax plan, the subject of the CNBC interview).

Now, while some outlets will push full-throttle against Perry, claiming that he is definitively a Birther, it does seem as though he was making light of the president's birth certificate. After all, he's smiling while discussing how he enjoys poking fun at Obama and he even says, “I’m really not worried about the President’s birth certificate."

That being said, Parade’s transcript of the original discussion that sparked debate over Perry's take on Obama's citizenship, does raise some questions. Here's the text:

Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?

I have no reason to think otherwise.

That’s not a definitive, “Yes, I believe he”—

Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate.

But you’ve seen his.

I don’t know. Have I?

You don’t believe what’s been released?

I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.

And?

That came up.

And he said?

He doesn’t think it’s real.

And you said?

I don’t have any idea. It doesn’t matter. He’s the President of the United States. He’s elected. It’s a distractive issue.

Interesting that he called it "a distractive issue" before telling Harwood that it's "a good issue to keep alive."

On Monday, MSNBC's "Morning Joe," the on-air team -- led by Joe Scarborough -- lamented these comments:

Interestingly, back in September, Orly Taitz, who has become the nation's most talked about Birther, met Rick Perry and claims that she spoke with him about Social Security fraud. Of course, this means absolutely nothing in terms of what the presidential contender believes about the issue. Still, the encounter is worth noting.

Watch the exchange, then an interview with Taitz, below:

This story has been updated.

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