He argued about it with Meredith Vieira on the Today Show this morning too but Suzanne Malveaux was better prepared for him this afternoon. Three things here. One: I’m not sure why he thinks it’s so far-fetched that Neil Abercrombie, the new governor of Hawaii, would remember Obama as an infant. Granted, it’s an amazing coincidence that they’re both now prominent Democrats, but Obama Sr. and his wife must have made quite the striking couple in the early 60s when interracial marriage was still illegal in many states. I’ll bet a lot of people who met them and their little one at the time remember them. Two: Unless Trump’s thinking of some other interview with Obama’s grandmother, Malveaux’s right that the whole “she admits he was born in Kenya!” meme is based on a misunderstanding. You can read the transcript of the key part of that interview here. She’s also right that some of The One’s childhood friends have reminisced about him publicly, contra what Trump claimed not long ago on “The View” about no one in his past remembering him. (He seems to have dropped that talking point now.) If he’s serious about building a base by impressing Birthers, you would think he’d see these factual challenges coming and be ready to parry them.
Three: Some of the love for Trump in the polls right now is due to his willingness, as Rush Limbaugh says, to go right at Obama by bringing up subjects that his fans in big media have declared to be off the table. Fair enough, but that’s partly a function of the fact that the base is unenthused thus far about its choices for 2012, especially with tea-party rock stars like Palin, Pence, and Rubio possibly not running. If Palin jumped in and started to “go right at Obama” on, say, spending, it’s easy to imagine the conservative reception for Trump’s Birther broadsides turning from amusement and applause for his fearlessness to annoyance and even anger that he’s sucking media oxygen away from more substantive lines of attack and making it easier for the media to “kookify” the GOP. No one has a problem with it now because no one’s in the race yet, just Pawlenty and Cain and a bunch of heavy hitters weighing their options. But once the race is on and we get deeper into policy (speaking of which, did Trump really tell Joe Scarborough that we should seize Iraq’s oil fields?), who’s going to want to hear this?