Coffman apologizes for Obama birth comments

"I have never been afraid to admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong here," Coffman wrote.

BY KRISTEN WYATT,Associated Press

DENVER | Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman, who questioned the citizenship of President Barack Obama, expanded on his apology Thursday, calling his comments at a GOP fundraiser this month “inappropriate and boneheaded.”

Earlier this month, Republican congressman Coffman said that he doesn't know if President Barack Obama was born in the United States and that in his heart, Obama is not an American. Coffman said in an op-ed column published Thursday, May 24, 2012, in the Denver Post that he "should never have questioned the president's devotion to our country. The president and I disagree on many issues — his approach to health care, jobs and energy independence, to name a few.

Coffman said in an op-ed column published Thursday in the Denver Post (http://goo.gl/6W3Uo ) that he “should never have questioned the president’s devotion to our country. The president and I disagree on many issues — his approach to health care, jobs and energy independence, to name a few. But disagreeing on these issues was not license for me to question his devotion to our country.”

Earlier this month, the Republican congressman said at an Elbert County event that he doesn’t know whether Obama was born in the U.S. and that in his heart, Obama is not an American.

Coffman’s remarks echoed a long-simmering political controversy generated by those who say that Obama was born abroad and is ineligible to hold the nation’s highest office. The Obama administration moved a year ago to dismiss the conflict by releasing his long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii.

Coffman faced intense criticism after a recording of his comments was released to the media. He released a short statement apologizing for the remark before he wrote the newspaper column.

It’s too soon to say what the long mea culpa from the two-term congressman will mean for his re-election bid in a suburban Denver district that has become much more competitive for Democrats because of redistricting. Coffman rolled up big wins in his first two contests for the suburban Denver district, carrying roughly two-thirds of the vote against a little-known Democrat with no political experience two years ago.

But Coffman faces a dramatically different landscape this year because of congressional redistricting. Coffman’s turf now is divided roughly evenly among Democrats, Republicans and independents. Colorado’s 6th Congressional District will soon include the entire city of Aurora, a one-time Republican stronghold trending toward Democrats.

Coffman will no longer represent the most conservative parts of his current district, including Elbert County, where Coffman questioned Obama’s citizenship earlier this month.

In the op-ed, the congressman called questions about Obama’s citizenship a “distraction.”

“I have never been afraid to admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong here,” Coffman wrote.

Democrats have seized on Coffman’s remark as evidence he’s too conservative for the district. Coffman’s Democratic challenger, state Rep. Joe Miklosi, said Coffman’s remark was “a comment you would normally hear from Rush Limbaugh.”

Questions about Obama’s citizenship persist among some skeptics, though Hawaii officials have repeatedly verified Obama’s birth records. Also, GOP leadership and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have denounced such doubts. And state and federal courts also have rejected lawsuits over the issue.

In Arizona, Secretary of State Ken Bennett recently considered keeping the president’s name off the ballot in November unless the state of Hawaii authenticated Obama’s birth certificate. Bennett, a Republican, said in a statement Wednesday that his office received the verification necessary to put the matter to rest. Obama’s name will appear on the ballot barring something unexpected.

Coffman did not immediately return a call Thursday from The Associated Press. He had no public events scheduled this week, and Coffman repeatedly declined to elaborate when a reporter asked him about the remark on the street.

  • Frank25

    Does anyone know just where Obama was born, or did he arrive from another planet?    He has not performed as president as his predecessors  did.   Even Carter, Clinton, and Truman  did not create the devisive splites among relitious people, economical facilities, and unrest for future of this country.   No one knows what will come next.    Like a  10 year old, playing with his cousins toy soldiers.   Obama acts, and then waits for reaction.   Any leadership is delayed and not decisive.   In my 26 years in nmilitary, I saw more leadership from  still fuzzy yellow bar Lieutenants, just out of the academies.    No way do I want to see him four more years. 

  • Observer

    As Obama is divisive.  So was Lincoln.

  • DeskEditor

    As a three-year veteran of the Navy, I found Rep. Mike Coffman’s
    comments about President Obama — saying he is “not an American” — to be
    conduct unbecoming an officer. Not only is the President an American and
    the embodiment of the all-American dream that anyone can grow up to be
    president, he is our commander in chief. He deserves our respect, not
    just from those of us in uniform, but everyone. Not only should Coffman
    have apologized, he needs to public acknowledge Obama as our commander
    in chief.
    If this is how Coffman introduces himself to Aurora and his new
    constituents in CD-6, insulting our president was a bad way to start.
    Jeannie Laughlin, Aurora via letters@aurorasentinel.com

     

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