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Trump again questions Obama's birth, 'embracing the issue'

From NBC’s Domenico Montanaro
Double down? This was more like triple down.

The Donald was at it again, offering a full-throated defense of birtherism and birthers this morning on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie.

Asked if he wants to be taken seriously, why he continues to defend the false conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States, Donald Trump said, “Well, I do think it’s a serious issue. ... I am embracing the issue. I’m proud of the issue.” He claimed it is “not that much of a conspiracy… it’s really not.”

Trump, who says he's considering a run as a Republican for president in 2012, went further, chastising the media for using the term “birthers,” calling it “derogatory” to lots of “intelligent” people.

He said if it were true that the president weren’t born in the United States it would be the “greatest scam in the history of this country” and that there’s “certainly a chance” he’s not born in the U.S. He claimed Obama “could have come in after birth and could have been registered for purposes of hospitalization” or even “welfare.” “Excuse me,” he said, “I’ve grown up watching some of the great thieves of the world… this is peanuts compared to what these people do.”

He deadpanned later: “We all agree he was born.”

NBC’s Pete Williams reported on the birth announcement that appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser in 1961. Trump dismissed that, claiming the notice was “three days later. … Lots of things could happen.”

He added that “no nurses, no doctors, nobody came forward.” And he said that about 50 percent of Republicans “think he wasn’t born in the country” – and they’re “intelligent” people.

He even went so far as to almost question if Chuck Todd’s children were born in the United States after Todd said that he has “certificates of live birth” from DC. He contended that Todd could go down to the hospital where they were born and get authorization to get a more official “birth certificate” from the Department of Health -- provided they were born in the U.S., “which I assume they were,” Trump said.

Trump was also asked if he’s prepared for the financial scrutiny that would come with running for president. Official candidates for president are required to file financial disclosure forms. Asked, in particular, about his companies that have filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Trump became defensive.

“I never went bankrupt,” Trump said, trying to draw a distinction between personal bankruptcy and putting a company into Chapter 11. “Many of the biggest people in this country, many times have filed Chapter 11s on various companies in order to reduce debts.” He added, “I’ve done an unbelievable job” and used the laws of the country to help his companies.

Asked then if the United States should file for bankruptcy, Trump said no. “I wouldn’t recommend that,” he said, because the United States has more leverage.

On Libya, Trump said he didn’t “know enough” about the rebels to arm them.

On his decision to run for president, he said, “I will make a decision sometime prior to June.

“We’ll all have a lot of fun together.”