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Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

Video: U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra explains his position on 'birther' issue

By Ryan J. Stanton

Related story: Pete Hoekstra becomes a caricature of himself

MACKINAC ISLAND — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra is making national headlines again for stirring up the "birther" issue.

Speaking at the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference on Wednesday, Hoekstra reiterated his proposal for a federal office to vet presidential candidates' qualifications, including verifying their citizenship.

An uncut video shows Hoekstra's remarks in response to a question from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

"You would think that a country as great as ours could have a single person, maybe two, who every four years are assigned with a responsibility of making sure people who run for office meet the minimum qualifications of that office, so that we will never have this discussion again," Hoekstra said in his animated remarks, which were the talk of the island afterward.

Even without mentioning the president by name, Hoekstra once again stirred the debate over whether Barack Obama was really born in the United States — despite repeated assertions from the state of Hawaii that Obama was born there.

The former congressman, who hopes to unseat Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., first told a tea party group earlier this month in Lapeer he wanted to establish a three-person office in Washington, D.C., to vet the qualifications of each presidential candidate. Hoekstra clarified on Wednesday that "they raised the issue," not him.

"They thought it was important. I don't. I think it's the economy, it's jobs," he said. "But those who know me, especially from West Michigan, know that if someone gives me a question I will answer it to the best of my ability. And the answer is this is a crazy issue, put it behind us, move forward, and make sure it never happens again."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


PC Stone

Sat, Jun 2, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

If the parent of the candidate is not a US citizen then our first handful of President's wouldn't qualify. Technically our first several presidents were not born US citizens either. This issue is a time waster.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

Links to non-partisan sites that have addressed this propaganda issue: : addresses the birth certificate, the false belief that the hospital did not exist during the birth, the false belief regarding Fathers place of birth. - addresses the issue of the "fake" birth certificate. - Obama is either a natural born citizen or a time traveler - the false claim about a 1981 travel ban - Did Obama use the name Soetero to illegally obtain college funding and is not a natural born citizen (this claim has been made a few times on this site) - What is Barak Obamas "real" name and more info on fact checking the birth certificate.


Sat, Jun 2, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

John, not sure where you get your information, but your Soros claim has about as much validity as the Birther claims. "The web site is (and always has been) a completely independent, self-sufficient entity wholly owned by its operators, Barbara and David Mikkelson, and funded through advertising revenues. Neither the site nor its operators has ever received monies from (or been engaged in any business or editorial relationship with), any sponsor, investor, partner, political party, religious group, business organization, government agency, or any other outside group or organization."


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Snopes is run by George Soros, so you cannot rely on that. And all you factcheck links are run by affiliates of the same. Anyone can put up a website and claim to be an authority.

Lac Court Orilles

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

We need the Department of Civil Rights to examine Pete Hoekstra's racist motives before he's listed on the ballot.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Wow. Every time I think there might be a some hope. Then I read these comments. Never before in the history of this country have so many people been manipulated by the media. We have a sitting president who was elected with zero qualifications, refusing to unseal any records from his past, and almost none of the mainstream media cares to question why this is so. Why is it that when Democrats tried to say in the previous election that McCain was not eligible to be president because he was born in a military hospital in Panama while his father was in the Navy down there, nobody called them "birthers"? And there was a Senate hearing and vote to approve his eligibility. Yet when there are serious questions about Obama's eligibility the people questioning are called 'birthers"? If you truly believe that he satisfies all the requirements, why aren't you on your soapbox demanding that the proof be shown instead of simply name calling those who do not believe? I mean really at this point of the game, with only 7 months left in his administration, does that point really matter anymore anyway?


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

There is no myth whatsoever in my statement. Google it. Obama's birth records sealed by law! You must be kidding. He could unseal them with the stroke of a pen. Hawaii has a unique way of recording births, look it up. All you have to do is for a resident, say someones grandparents for instance, go in a register the birth. That is all you need, and you are granted a short form birth certificate. Sun Yat-Sen was granted a Hawaii birth certificate to help him avoid persecution from China. It is all documented. He was not born in Hawaii. Once you register the birth it is automatically sent to the two newspapers for printing, so the fact that it was in the papers is no proof either. Where there is smoke, there is fire, and if you want to bury your head in the sand and not care, that is your perogative. As for his autobiography, it is also widely documented that there are many factual liberties taken. And also again, the question is not if he is a citizen, but is he a natural born citizen? Did he ever have an Indonesian passport? Why are they hiding so many details about his life? College records, supposedly lost passport records, completely fabricated long form birth certificate. I dare say that in the past under different presidents these things would have been investigated and not whitewashed. At this point I personally do not care one way or the other. He will be out in January. But to defend a disingenuous person, have at it. I prefer truth and transparency. Something that he promised in the last election and never lived up to.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

Obama wrote two books, one an autobiography. His records in Hawaii were sealed BY LAW. His biography is and was freely available for review. His background and associates were roundly attacked in "the media" for the period of the primary and general election. There are now biographies of President Obama and his mother available for your perusal. What you are writing about here is yet another myth created and repeated until it becomes "truth" to folks like yourself. I think what you are upset about is that no real scandal has been proven from any piint of his life, therefore you have to pick at the process in hopes of ginning up outrage at the alleged "liberal media". The proof of his citizenship HAS been provided, there is no reason to get on the sopabox. There is reason to call people that can't read something, but rules do not allow us to do that on these pages. I will supply links to a couple of sites were you can read all about it below.

David Cahill

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

No wonder Stabenow is ahead by 14 points in the latest poll. 8-)

David Farrar

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

"This is not so hard!" Pete Hoekstra explains. "As long as you can prove to me you are a citizen of the United States"... Apparently, the Birther issue is harder for Mr.Hoekstra to understand. To be simply 'a citizen of the United States' may work for the good Senator's office, but it is not the qualifiction for the presidency or vice-presidency of the United States. A person must be a citizen at birth to be a natural born citizen, and a natural born Citizen to be President or Vice-President; not simply a citizen of the United States. Naturalied citizens are 'citizens of the United States,' but they can't run for either the presidency or the vice-presidency. Moreover, the real political question at hand isn't who qualifies, but who define the qualifications -- who creates the ruling class -- the government or the Constitution? Again, Article ll is all about who sets the qualifications of the President and Vice-President ( the ruling class): the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and natural law, as our Founding fathers ordained on one side; or the plenary hand of government on the other: be it the courts, Congress, or any other plenary appointed authority? One thing is known for certain: if we allow Congress to create the ruling class, they will do so to their own advantage and we will soon lose yet another one of our cherished, self-evident, unalienable truth: that 'all men are created equal.' ex animo davidfarrar


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

David To be a Natural Born citizen, both of your parents must be citizens, otherwise you are either a Naturalized citizen or a Native Born citizen. This as defined by the Constitution.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Only in Amercia ! ROFL


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

actually in america can mock our conspiracy nuts and not elect them, as opposed to other regions where they get to be 'president for life' or 'supreme ruler' ( often with god's supposed imprimatur).


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

Does Hoekstra think we should have a federal body to investigate every conspiracy theory crazy people believe in? Is he calling for the formation of the X-Files?

Victoria Merinsky

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Then again double standard quacky talk Mitt Romney father was born in Mexico Enough said. Oh GOP cannot spell America either on their very own campaign banner..Sheep on Drugs I tell you Good Grief Charlie Brown Vote for Charlie Brown!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

As one of the first group of Korean American adoptee in Michigan, I was very disturbed by Hoekstra's super bowl commercial and now questioning the birth of President Obama. Which is why I wrote him a letter sharing that disgust. We have come so far in many ways regards to race and bigotry, yet Hoekstra shows that we have a lot more educating to do. As a child in the 70's and 80's, I was teased by all the stereotypes Hoekstra had his Chinese American actress do. Now he is questioning the birth of the President because his father was born in another country. This makes me think about my children and what scrutiny they would be under, due to their mother being born in another country. As a child, I use to have grown men tell me that I would never be American because I was born in Korea, regardless if I came over here when I was 3 and raised by white parents. I was taught early on by ignorant people that some folks definition of American is just wrong. Hoekstra reminds me of those men and boys who taunted and teased me in school due to my ethnicity. It must make them feel better about themselves to think they are above others. I no longer care if other don't view me as American, because I know what my heart tells me. When GOP politicians believe they can judge who is American and who is not, is just plan arrogance and prejudice. Hoekstra is an embarrassment to our state. He is try to get elected by pandering to ignorant people's hate and fear versus getting elected from wanting to give and make our state a better place. Thanks to the GOP pandering to the bigots of the country, they have turned the President's term in office into a pre-civil war era.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

the last paragraph is the republican parties new agenda, to make the rich richer and a lot of FOLK fall for it.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Here's Obama's full bio from the 1991 brochure: Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

And here's the full text of a statement by Miriam Goderich, who prepared that bio for the Acton and Dystel literary agency: ""This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me--an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more." Next time, get your facts straight instead of parroting the junk that comes off World Net Daily.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Ya. I saw that on Andrew Brietbart's site as well. If you read it, what he notes is that this brochure - rather than serving as evidence of an out-of-country-birth - was simply an indicator of President Obama's supposed tendency to manipulate the story of his history for gain. Much like the Liberal papoose Elizabeth Warren, who grew up opposing Union Cavalry incursions on her ancient lands.

David Briegel

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

Like David Stockman and Colin Powell, I am beginning to wonder if there are any sane Republicans.

John Hritz

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

There are plenty, but they're being voted out by the handfuls. The new game is win the primary by proving how conservative and rigid you can be, then lose the general election. Instead of the best ideas winning regardless of party, we have developed a system where only the mediocre ones pass muster.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

wonder no more...there really don't seem to be nowadays.. Good ones like Lincoln, TR and nelson rockefeller must be gyrating in horror and embarrasment in their graves.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Next think you know, they will be asking for ID when you buy liquor? Asking for certified Birth Certificates when you want a Passport?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

Can you please provide your long form birth certificate? I guess you also assume anyone that is not black or white must be a foreigner?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Wrong analogy. A better one would be requiring the physician that delivered you to accompany you to the liquor store and sign a sworn affidavit that he in fact delivered you on the date specified. In addition, the liquor store would retain the right to - at any time - question the legitimacy of your documentation ex-post facto of the liquor sale.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Good God, what do these folks want a video of Obama's birth, with the governor of Hawaii helping out with the delivery. Give it a break. I use to be a Republican.. not anymore!!!

Chase Ingersoll

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

And yes, if you have ever met Pete Hoeskra, I think you would agree that while his inarticulateness can engender personal sympathy, it dis-qualifies him from the role of a politician who needs to be an effective communicator. Clark Durant is an exceptional communicator.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

How this is still an issue is beyond me. That Mr. Hoekstra is still talking about it completely precludes me from taking the man serious on any other issue. Obviously, the man is pandering to the least-informed.

John Q

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

If it wasn't the birth certificate, the nuttos would find some other conspiracy. Look at the whole Vince Foster conspiracy.

Chase Ingersoll

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

The Clinton were the first to raise the issue of Obama not being qualified because his father was not a US Citizen. They were correct and accordingly, Marco Rubio is not qualified, as his parents did not become US Citizens until after he was born. The issue was also raised against Mitt Romney's father, as I think he was actually born in Mexico and held Mexican citizenship. Accordingly, whether or not BHO was born in Kenya or the US is not the issue that disqualifies him from the office, the disqualifying characteristic is the uncontested fact that his father was not [and never even became] a US Citizen.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

Even if that were true, his Mother was born in Kansas, so he is automatically a US citizen. He could have been born in Russia and would still be born of a US Citizen and thus BE a US Citizen. McCain was born in Panama, Romney's father in Mexico. So what ? Is it because they are white that it's not a concern for them ?

John Q

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Obama was born in the US. It's irrelevant whether his father was a US citizen.

Top Cat

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

This issue is a waste of time. The issue is the failed economic policies of Obama and Stabenow that have brought us slow growth, few jobs and $5 trillion in new debt. Plus, we need another "federal office" like we need a second....something or other.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Like the Birther issue, facts appear to be irrelevant. Most of our debt was racked up by republican presidents, Reagan and 2 Bushes. Where were you then?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

Yes, it was Bush's two unfunded wars and his unfunded Medicare Part D that added 1/3 to the entire US National Debt since our founding once it moved from "unfunded" to funded during Obama's Administration. Nor does it mention that 750,000 jobs lost each month during the last year of Bush's term, while Obama has created jobs for the last 26 months - more than 4.2 million new jobs created -- is that the few jobs you refer to? How about jobs saved, like the millions saved through the Stimulus, mostly repaid by now, and the saving of the auto industry?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

According to Fox News? Statistics have shown that Obama has spent less money than GOP Presidents. The difference is that he included the military budget in his bottomline, while the other Presidents didn't. You keep drinking the kool aid.

John Q

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

You're right. Once we repeal the Bush tax cuts, we can get back on track to reducing the deficits and debt.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

This is one of those things that might sound reasonable on the surface, but would create serious problems if put into practice. How would you assure that this single person or two would be impartial? The authority to block someone from the presidential ballot is a lot of power and would be subject to abuse - witness how former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, charged with impartially conducting state elections, stonewalled a recount in the 2000 election to preserve Bush's margin of victory until it was too late. We already have a system for vetting candidate's legal qualifications - it's the courts. Though imperfect, it's still better than vesting that power in a single person or small body that could be subject to intense political pressures every four years.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Maybe Pete should be vetted for intelligence