Rep. Mike Castle Fends Off the Birthers

Created: July 20, 2009 08:57 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

I got a little friendly fire from my friend and colleague Matt Welch over last week’s article on the Obama birth certificate conspiracy. He took issue with my “contention that the movement ‘dogs Republicans’ (there being so very many other issues that have more bite than a few barkers).”

A little evidence that this conspiracy theory is showing up in uncomfortable situations for Republicans: Here’s Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), a moderate Republican who hasn’t announced whether he’s running for re-election or for the U.S. Senate next year, at a town hall meeting earlier this month.

A woman gets up, holding a baggie containing her birth certificate, and unleashes a rambling, minute-long tirade about how the president is a “citizen of Kenya.” The crowd hoots and cheers when she’s done. Castle responds, diplomatically: “Well I don’t know what comment that invites. If you’re referring to the president, then he is a citizen of the United States.” That elicits roars and boos from the crowd, so Castle presses on. “You can boo, but he is a citizen of the United States.”

So here’s one of the least conservative members of the House GOP conference, in a state that gave the Obama-Biden ticket 62 percent of the vote, and he has to deal with the angry howling of birthers.

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