Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) explicitly distanced himself from "birthers" during a highly anticipated speech before conservatives on Friday.
After one lawmaker made a "birther" joke, alluding to suspicions that President Obama wasn't born in the United States, Pawlenty, at the top of his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) made clear that he doesn't question Obama's birthplace.
The former Minnesota governor and possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate used that line as a set-up, though, to a larger jab at Obama.
"But when you listen to his policies, don’t you at least wonder what planet he’s from? On what planet do they create jobs by taxing the daylight out of people trying to grow jobs? On what planet do they try to reduce the deficit by spending even more? On what planet do they make healthcare better by putting bureaucrats in charge?" he said, according to prepared remarks.
Still, Pawlenty's remark is notable for the fact that it was delivered before a group of conservatives.
"I am fortunate to be born American, and I have the birth certificate to prove it," Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) told conference attendees on Thursday.
Birthers believe Obama wasn't actually born in the United States, and thus, under the Constitution is not legally eligible to be president. Obama has produced a copy of his birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii.