From THINK PROGRESS:
Three weeks ago, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) — the second-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives — repeatedly refused to call theories that President Obama was not born in America “crazy.” He told Meet the Press’s David Gregory that “I don’t think it’s nice to call anyone crazy,” and refused to rebuke the wild conspiracy theories. Today on the same program, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) also refused to repudiate such theories under a similar line of questioning from Gregory, who showed Boehner a Fox News clip in which several Iowa Republicans in a focus group said they believed Obama was a Muslim.
Though Boehner was immediately willing to say he “believes” Obama is an American-born Christian, and that he takes the president “at his word,” Boehner would not repudiate those who think otherwise. Three separate times, Boehner told Gregory that “it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think”[...]
Gregory directly accused Boehner of hedging because “it weakens the president politically, it seeks to de-legitimize him,” to which Boehner reacted with visible indignation. But it’s hard to imagine Gregory isn’t correct. Boehner and his fellow Republicans — like all politicians — always try to persuade Americans, and “tell them what to think” on a wide range of issues. Just minutes earlier, Boehner was warning against a deficit crisis he said is caused by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and told Gregory: “I think it’s incumbent on the leaders in Washington, those of us to go out and help the American people understand how big the problem is.”
Gregory pointed out that Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) made a birth certificate crack at CPAC this week, and Boehner brushed it off as a joke. Gregory might have mentioned that birther theories are not a joke to many members of Boehner’s caucus: a tally kept at World Net Daily claims that the following members of Cantor’s caucus doubt the president’s citizenship: Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Ted Poe (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Campbell (R-CA), John R. Carter (R-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Kenny Marchant (R-TX). Still, Boehner and Cantor stubbornly refuse to repudiate fellow Republicans that believe a provably false theory.
(Video and transcript at THINK PROGRESS link)