Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he was joking… (Richard Ellis / Getty Images )
After reviving a long-settled issue when he said he didn't know if President Obama’s birth certificate is real, Texas Gov. Rick Perry now says his comments were made in jest.
“Look, it’s fun to, you know, lighten up a little bit,” Perry said in an interview with the St. Petersburg television network Bay News 9.
Perry rejected the notion that he had expressed doubts about the validity of Obama’s birth certificate when he responded "I don't know" to a question from Parade magazine about whether he trusted the autheticity of the one that had been released.
“I don’t think I was expressing doubts,” Perry said. “I was having some fun with Donald Trump.” (In the Parade interview, Perry cited Trump, a prominent figure in the so-called birther movement who claims credit for getting the White House to release the long-form version of Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate.)
Perry may have been joking, but Trump is quite serious about his doubts.
“I've never been a major believer,” Trump said Tuesday in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “All of a sudden, after years and years, [the birth certificate] was produced out of nowhere. Some people have serious, serious doubts as to its validity.”
All this talk about Obama’s birth certificate has irritated many within the GOP. In a Tuesday interview with the Washington Post, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called on the entire Republican presidential field to “categorically reject the notion that President Obama was not born in the United States.”
“So you have no doubts he’s an American citizen?” the Bay News 9 interviewer asked Perry after referencing Bush’s rebuke.
“I have no doubt about it,” Perry said. “But here’s the more interesting thing: You know, let’s lay out our income taxes, let’s lay out our college transcripts. Mine’s been on the front page of the paper.” (Perry’s grades have indeed been publicly released. He pulled lots of Cs and Ds, according to this Huffington Post report.)
Meanwhile, Perry on Tuesday submitted a letter to the Federal Election Commission requesting more time to file his personal financial disclosures. Those forms, required of every presidential candidate, detail a candidates’ assets, liabilities and income sources.