John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick, a close personal and political friend of President Obama, today said questions about the authenticity of his birth certificate and thus his legitimacy as the country's leader represent "a new low in American politics."
“I hope and I believe that the American people are bigger and better than this," the Democrat said during his monthly appearance on WTKK-FM, his most free-wheeling regular public engagement.
Asked whether he felt race was motivating questions not only about Obama's birthplace but also his academic record, Patrick like Obama the first African-American to hold his job said: “I have no idea, but whatever is motivating it, it feels like a new low in American politics, particularly when you consider the extraordinary challenges facing this country and this president, that we would spend our time on stuff like that and attempts to marginalize our president.”
The governor said that while Obama is “a proud Democrat, he is serving as the president for all of us, for the people who voted for him and the ones who didn’t.”
New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump has vaulted to the top echelon of prospective Republican presidential contenders by raising questions about the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate and his qualifications to attend both Columbia University and Harvard Law School.
Yesterday, during his first visit to New Hampshire as a potential candidate, Trump claimed credit for forcing Obama to release an unabridged copy of his birth certificate, rather than the standard "short form" Hawaii officials gave him and he posted on the Internet after questions first cropped up in 2008.
Obama's father was from Kenya, and some so-called birthers argue the president is not legitimate because he, allegedly, was born in Africa and therefore does not meet the Constitution's requirement to be a "natural born citizen."
The certificate shows the president was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961.
Obama did not address Trump by name, but told reporters yesterday he did not want the country distracted by "carnival barkers."
Today, Patrick said of Trump: “How many bankruptcies has he presided over? Please, let’s move on.”
He lamented “a character” such as Trump getting attention for "really ridiculous charges.”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.