Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 19, 2014

North Carolina: Candidate Appears to Flirt With Birtherism

North Carolina: Candidate Appears to Flirt With Birtherism

Congressional candidate Mark Meadows made comments about President Barack Obama and Kenya in recent weeks. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Congressional candidate Mark Meadows, likely to be the GOP nominee in the heavily Republican 11th district of North Carolina, appears to have flirted with birtherism on at least two occasions in recent weeks.

“2012 is the time we’re going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is,” Meadows said to applause at a June 9 tea party rally. “We’re going to do it!”

At an appearance at a tea party forum on June 12, Meadows said, “we” will send Obama “back home to Kenya or wherever it is.”

In an interview with Roll Call today, Meadows clarified his remarks. “I think it’s a non-issue,” he said. “Obviously bringing it back is probably a poor choice of words on my part more than anything else. I believe he’s an American citizen and I believe, in my district, he is going to lose overwhelmingly.”

Both are true.

Obama was born in Hawaii and is, therefore, a natural-born citizen of the United States and constitutionally eligible to be president. Obama’s father was from Kenya.

“The question I have, if you’re sent to Congress, will you pursue some kind of investigation to find out whether or not this, uh, guy is really a citizen and entitled to those authorities?” a man at the June 12 forum asked.

Vance Patterson, Meadows’ competitor in the Republican primary runoff, gave a long answer to the question.

Then Meadows took the mic. He said “yes” and then, with a smirk, moved the microphone away to laughter. “You know, I see it as, if we do our job, from a grass-roots standpoint, we won’t have to worry about it,” he said. “You know what? We’ll send him back home to Kenya or wherever it is. We’ll send him back home.”

Watch the video of that here — the question begins at 1:08:45 and Meadows’ answer begins at 1:11:25.

Watch the video of the June 9 event here — his remarks begin at 4:00.

Another North Carolina GOP congressional candidate, Richard Hudson, also flirted with birtherism earlier this year.

If Meadows, as expected, wins the GOP primary runoff on July 17. He’ll face Hayden Rogers (D), the former chief of staff to retiring Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).

The district is heavily Republican, and Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

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