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Birther-curious Bennett playing games in Arizona

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R)
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R)Associated Press

We talked last week about Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) raising questions about President Obama's citizenship and saying it's "possible" he'll exclude the president from the ballot. The nonsense isn't going away quickly.

To briefly recap, Bennett is demanding that Hawaiian officials verify that that Obama's birth certificate is authentic. The Republican has said the documents that have already been released do not meet his standards, and though he doesn't want to take the president's name off the 2012 ballot, he won't rule it out.

Did I mention that Bennett is the co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in Arizona? Well, he is -- Romney's top ally in a battleground state is also the man responsible for overseeing the state's elections, and the official threatening to keep Romney's opponent's name off the Arizona ballot.

In any case, TPM reports state officials in Hawaii seem to find all of this rather annoying.

One of the more amusing things revealed last week when Arizona's secretary of state came out as birther curious was that Hawaii officials just simply don't believe he's qualified to investigate Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Sure, Ken Bennett says he's the man in charge of deciding whether President Obama is eligible to be on Arizona's ballot in November, but the response from people in Hawaii's government has been: Prove it. In essence, they're giving Bennett a taste of his own medicine, making him jump through a series of hoops to prove he has the legal authority to investigate the matter, much the same way the birthers have made Hawaii prove time and time again that the president is indeed a natural born citizen of the United States.

In case this wasn't already obvious, Bennett's request for more documentation is absurd. As TPM's report added, "Hawaii officials have passed laws and filed sworn affidavits to deal with the matter. The White House has even gone as far as to release a copy of the president's long-form birth certificate to the public. Yet requests like Bennett's still keep coming."

Worse, the nonsense is spreading: the new Iowa Republican Party platform is also "intentionally questioning" Obama's citizenship.

At the national level, this garbage probably isn't what GOP leaders want to talk about, but there's a deep strain of madness running though Republican politics in 2012, and there's not much the party's leadership can do about it.