- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Amid growing evidence that Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign did indeed push the idea that President Obama was born in Kenya, Sen. Tim Kaine on Sunday tried to pin the so-called “birther” issue solely on Republican nominee Donald Trump, vehemently denying that his party had anything to do with it.

Mr. Trump on Friday admitted that Mr. Obama was born in the U.S., but said the controversy arose because of the actions of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in 2008. The Clinton campaign in 2008 fired an Iowa campaign worker for forwarding emails questioning Mr. Obama’s birthplace, and former McClatchy Washington bureau chief James Asher tweeted Friday that longtime Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal personally told him that the president was born in Kenya.

Mr. Blumenthal has denied that, and the Clinton campaign is pushing back hard against the suggestion that the former first lady’s political operation had anything to do with giving life to the issue eight years ago.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Kaine — Mrs. Clinton’s running mate — said Mr. Trump is solely responsible for birtherism and must answer for raising an issue that’s become deeply personal to African-Americans.

“When Donald Trump says the first African-American president is not a citizen, that is so painful to so many people who still have deep feelings about that dark chapter of American life,” the Virginia Democrat said. “He owed the public an apology, and somebody should ask him, did you believe it … or were you just trying to cynically play to the darkest emotions in American life?”

As for Mr. Blumenthal’s alleged comments on the president’s birthplace, Mr. Kaine tried to brush them under the rug.

“Sidney Blumenthal has categorically denied that, but Sidney isn’t running for president,” Mr. Kaine said.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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