"What Lt. Col. Terry Lakin has asserted in the past week is an embarrassment to residents of the 4th Congressional District, and Colorado as a whole," said ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Bobby Clark. "These ridiculous conspiracy theories about President Obama's citizenship are beneath contempt, have been examined all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and discredited repeatedly."
The Colorado Independent reported Monday that state Rep. Cory Gardner's campaign "declined to comment" on the Lakin affair, after having made several confusing statements about President Obama's citizenship last August. After a congressional candidate forum in Ft. Collins where Gardner would only affirm that the "White House claims he is a citizen," Gardner's campaign manager said that the representative "finds it very curious that this could all be ended if he just released the long-form birth certificate and put it to bed."
This Friday, Gardner is holding a fundraisier at the Brown Palace in Denver featuring Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Blackburn was profiled last summer by Salon.com in an article titled "The Birthers in Congress," and a co-sponsor of legislation in Congress meant to encourage "birther" conspiracy theories (Salon.com, 7/28/2009). Through a spokesperson, Rep. Blackburn claimed that 'constituents' were 'surprised' "candidates don't have to establish that they meet the constitutional requirements for the office."
"Cory Gardner has tried to have it both ways on this issue from the beginning," continued Clark. "When in front of 'Tea Party' and other far-right groups, he doesn't want to say outright that they are embracing racist nonsense, even though he knows that's what this is. Only when pressed by major news outlets like the Denver Post will he concede that Obama 'is a citizen.' Now, his vague pandering to extremist fiction is giving license to an Army officer to reject civilian authority. That's wrong, and we are calling on Gardner to speak out against this: as a state representative, a congressional candidate, and a patriotic American."
ProgressNow will conduct online outreach and advertising campaigns in the coming weeks, urging Coloradans to expect better from public officials, and to demand Gardner make a clear statement, one way or the other, on Col. Lakin's allegations.