A Colorado congressman who was forced toapologize after he was caught on tape saying President Obama is “not an American” is now claiming that the apology was largely made “for political reasons.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) appeared on the Caplis and Silverman radio show in Denver to discuss the birther flap. The hosts told Coffman that a gaffe in Washington “is when somebody tells the truth” before asking the Colorado Republican, “Were you just at that moment speaking what was in your heart and are you now feeling you need to walk it back for political reasons?” Coffman conceded that this was the case — “to some extent that’s true” — and explained that his main regret was talking about the issue because birtherism is a “horrible issue” for Republicans:
HOST: You know how they say in Washington, a gaffe is when somebody tells the truth? I know you to be such a highly intelligent guy, such a disciplined guy.Were you just at that moment speaking what was in your heart and are you now feeling you need to walk it back for political reasons?
COFFMAN: To some extent that’s true because I think that when Republicans are not talking about jobs and the economy, when we’re not on message, I think the other side is winning. But let me put it in context. The context was at that event and other events I’ve been to, Republican events, people come up to me and say, “why aren’t you taking on the president about him not being born in the United States? Why don’t I hear anything from you about that?” It gets really frustrating. Look, I just think that’s a horrible issue for Republicans. Every day we’re talking about that is just a victory for the president. What I meant to say and said very poorly when I was there was that it doesn’t matter whether he is or not, that’s just not the issue.
Listen to it:
Later, Coffman praised those who don’t believe Obama was born in the United States. “[Issues are] going to determine this election, not focusing on the birther question. God bless people that do that. I understand their passion,” he said.
Towards the end of the interview, Coffman finally returned to his new message that President Obama was born in the United States.