Look at it this way. If Huck and Palin don’t run, the only guy at the debates who might be even mildly colorful is Haley Barbour. Reason enough to hope that Trump jumps in and provides the invaluable Gravel/Sharpton service of livening things up as a quirky outsider. In fact, given his assessments of Romney and Pawlenty, Trump himself seems to understand that that’s his opening.
Matt Lewis is right, incidentally, that this clip will go further towards mainstreaming Birtherism than anything a Republican pol has said. Trump’s media reach is long, so he’s apt to reach audiences that don’t otherwise pay attention to politics or the birth certificate issue. Which is ironic, since the whole point of this is to exploit Birtherism’s use as an ideological screen to “prove,” in a crude way, his alleged conservative bona fides. It’s a political move packaged as an apolitical exercise in “straight talk,” aimed at demonstrating his politically incorrect fearlessness to primary voters who might consider backing him as a protest choice.
As for the substance of it, Obama’s classmates from elementary school in Indonesia and high school in Hawaii have talked to reporters about him, so it’s not true that “nobody knows who he is until later in his life.” Things get hazier during his Columbia years, but there are people who remember him from that period too. Ah well.