MSNBC, Politico, Bloomberg, CNN, McClatchy and More Confirm: Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Campaign Spread ‘Birtherism’ About Barack Obama

NOTE FROM SENIOR MANAGEMENT: Andrew Breitbart was never a “Birther,” and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of “Birtherism.” In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.

NEW YORK CITY, New York — The mainstream media, from Bloomberg News to MSNBC to Politico to the Washington Post and more, have all confirmed: Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 campaign for president did substantially further the birther movement.

Sean Hannity, the nationally syndicated radio host and Fox News anchor, said on his radio program during an appearance this reporter made on Friday evening:

The only time I ever, in my life, had any contact with Hillary Clinton supporters—you know what message I was getting, in 2007 and 2008, I was kind of a lone voice out here in talking about the radical roots of Obama and Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright and Frank Marshall Davis and Black Liberation theology and [Bill] Ayers and [Bernardine] Dohrn and I was trying to warn the country that it was going to be a disaster, I wish I turned out to be wrong but it’s probably even worse a disaster than I ever thought—well, guess which campaign was encouraging me back in the day to do all of this?

“The Hillary Clinton campaign,” Hannity replied, answering his own question just after this reporter answered it the same way.

“Word was getting back to me [that they were saying] ‘you’re the only one, we really admire your work,’” Hannity said. “Pretty interesting, right?”


It’s not just Hannity, who’s opposed to Clinton’s election and is a supporter of GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who has confirmed that Clinton’s 2008 campaign and its allies pushed this.

In fact, Politico, in 2011, published a piece from two of its top reporters at the time—Ben Smith and Byron Tau, who have gone on respectively to BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal—specifically detailing how the Clinton campaign was behind birther rumors spreading.

Smith and Tau wrote in the Politico piece:

Just when it appeared that public interest was fading, celebrity developer Donald Trump has revived the theory that President Barack Obama was born overseas and helped expose the depth to which the notion has taken root—a New York Times poll Thursday found that a plurality of Republicans believe it. If you haven’t been trolling the fever swamps of online conspiracy sites or opening those emails from Uncle Larry, you may well wonder: Where did this idea come from? Who started it? And is there a grain of truth there?The answer lies in Democratic, not Republican politics, and in the bitter, exhausting spring of 2008. At the time, the Democratic presidential primary was slipping away from Hillary Clinton and some of her most passionate supporters grasped for something, anything that would deal a final reversal to Barack Obama.

Tau and Smith detailed in a lengthy four-page-long investigation how in April 2008, when Clinton was slipping in her battle against Obama for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, “Clinton supporters”—as they say—circulated an anonymous email chain that pushed the theory.

“Barack Obama’s mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth,” the email that Clinton supporters circulated read.

Those anonymous people were hardly the only ones. In fact, as Joshua Green reported in The Atlantic in August 2008, a March, 19, 2007 strategy memo from longtime Clinton adviser Mark Penn proves that the Clinton campaign itself was pushing the conspiracy theory. Penn, in the memo, advocated that Clinton target Obama’s “lack of American roots.”

In fact, Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle confirmed that Penn wrote the memo via Twitter on Friday of this week—and also appeared on CNN to confirm that he did while working for the campaign and that he was fired for it.

During her CNN appearance with Wolf Blitzer, Doyle made it clear that Penn was a staffer and was fired by Clinton herself for spreading the rumor:

BLITZER: Someone supporting Hillary Clinton was trying to promote this so-called Birther issue? What happened?

DOYLE: So we — absolutely, the campaign nor Hillary did not start the Birther movement, period, end of story there. There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe, in late 2007, I believe, in December, one of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa — I don’t recall whether they were an actual paid staffer, but they did forward an email that promoted the conspiracy.

BLITZER: The Birther conspiracy?

DOYLE: Yeah, Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. We let that person go. And it was so, beyond the pale, Wolf, and so not worthy of the kind of campaign that certainly Hillary wanted to run.

That’s not all. In fact, former Washington, D.C., McClatchy newspapers bureau chief James Asher on Twitter directly confronted Clinton questioning why her close friend and adviser Sidney Blumenthal was personally pitching him the story on Obama’s birthplace back in the 2008 election.

NBC News’ Mark Murray seemed to confirm that detail as well.

As of Friday evening, Clinton’s campaign has not responded to a request for comment from Breitbart News. CNN’s Dan Merica says that Blumenthal has denied the accusation.

Not only that, though, but as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews detailed back in 2008, Hillary Clinton herself refused to put the rumors to bed.

“Hillary Clinton seemed to pass up an opportunity to once and for all put to rest the false rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim,” Matthews said on his show on March 3, 2008.

Matthews said that Clinton was “going after him [Obama] on this Muslim issue” and that it was clear she had given up on “a clear chance to dismiss these bad stories being pushed by bad people that he‘s not the religion he clearly [is] to try to disturb people. She had a clear opportunity on ’60 Minutes’ to clear that up and she didn‘t take it.”

Specifically, Matthews was referring to how Hillary Clinton said on 60 Minutes with Steve Kroft regarding Obama, the transcript a courtesy of now BuzzFeed editor then Politico reporter Ben Smith:

KROFT: “You don’t believe that Senator Obama’s a Muslim?”

CLINTON: “Of course not. I mean, that, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn’t any reason to doubt that.”

KROFT: “You said you’d take Senator Obama at his word that he’s not…a Muslim. You don’t believe that he’s…”

CLINTON: “No. No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know.”

KROFT: “It’s just scurrilous…?”

CLINTON: “Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors, that I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time.”

Smith, writing in Politico, noted that Clinton’s “denial seems something other than ironclad, and the interviewer goes back at her on the question.” He also calls it a “weird moment of TV.”

In fact, Smith’s then-Politico colleague Roger Simon then appeared on Matthews’ program on March 3 to discuss it—saying he thought what Clinton said was a “bad way to put it.” Simon said:

I think it was exceptional what she said. I think it was a bad way to put it. You can say things on television that we all regret, as we all know, but this was the last thing she said. She could have made her answer more clear and less divisive, but instead she went the other way. He‘s not a Muslim, as far as I know. I don‘t think that was a good thing to say. Maybe she didn‘t want to make it that way. But when she was asked today to explain it, she went back to her victimhood thing. Look, I‘ve been the subject of unfair attacks. Let’s talk about me. I don‘t think that cleared the air.

Simon still works at Politico.

Margaret Carlson, a Bloomberg News journalist, said on that MSNBC Hardball episode with Matthews and Simon that Clinton did not have “enough sympathy” to once and for all put an end to the birther issue.

“She did say, I am the victim of scurrilous rumors, and so, I have sympathy,” Carlson said. “But she doesn‘t have enough sympathy to say, of course he‘s not a Muslim. This is rumors. This is Internet stuff that‘s been spread.”

Bloomberg’s John Heilemann—the co-author of the 2008 campaign book Game Change—and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also confirmed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind mainstreaming the birther theories.

“For Hillary Clinton to come out and criticize anybody for spreading the rumors about Barack Obama when it all started with her and her campaign passing things around in the Democratic primary,” Scarborough said. “Now, listen, the Republicans are wrong for doing what they’re doing. But it started with Hillary Clinton. And it was spread by the Clinton team.”

After some debate when others on the program challenged Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski—who agreed with Scarborough and pointed back to the 2008 60 Minutes interview that Clinton did—Heilemann was consulted and confirmed “it was the case” that Hillary Clinton’s campaign spread the rumors around.

There are countless more examples, but everyone in the media now saying that Donald Trump is wrong for stating truthfully that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind furthering these rumors is factually inaccurate. And since Solis Doyle let the cat out of the bag on CNN, Trump campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller blasted everyone.

“With Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager admitting on national television and on Twitter that they promoted the rumors surrounding now-President Obama’s heritage, Mr. Trump has been fully vindicated,” Miller said. “Not only was a Clinton campaign worker blamed and fired over the activity, we have now been informed that Secretary Clinton was aware of what was going on, with Clinton’s campaign manager even apologizing to Obama’s campaign manager. This still does not explain why Hillary Clinton failed to fire her chief strategist Mark Penn on the spot over the memo he sent her advocating she portray Obama as ‘fundamentally’ foreign. Hillary Clinton didn’t tell the truth about her emails and she didn’t tell the truth about her campaign’s role in pushing these rumors in 2008. This pattern is never going to change, and it’s why nobody trusts Hillary Clinton.”

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