Discuss as:

GOP '12 hopefuls edge away from birthers

Rep. Michele Bachmann, the leader of the House Tea Party caucus and a potential 2012 presidential contender, said Wednesday that she’s prepared to “move on” from questions about the president’s birthplace.

“That’s what should settle it,” Bachmann said on Good Morning America when host George Stephanopoulos showed a copy of Barack Obama’s certification of live birth with a seal and the signature of the state registrar.

Case closed, Bachmann responded.  

“Introduce that, we’re done, move on, end of story,” she said.

The Tea Party favorite has not embraced the “birther” movement with the fervor of media-catnip distributor Donald Trump, saying repeatedly – as she said again today – that she “take[s] the president at his word” that he was born in Hawaii.

But she has also nodded in the past to those who demanded that the president offer further “verification” of his birthplace, and she has declined to refute the discredited rumors that the president was born abroad.  (She also offered to show her own birth certificate in the first Republican primary debate.)

“The president just has to give the proof and verification, and there it goes. Either it's real or it's not,” she said on FOX earlier this month. “Everybody should put their birth certificate on the table and not worry about it. It doesn't have to be a toxic issue.”

But Bachmann now joins other possible 2012 GOP contenders ready to throw some cold water on the birther controversy -- or at least keep gasoline away from the flames.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee argued in February that birthplace conspiracies are “nonsense,” pointing out that onetime Obama rival Hillary Clinton’s opposition research team would have been equipped and able to publicize proof – if it existed - that the president is not a U.S. citizen

“For Republicans to even be bringing it up, I think it's a waste of energy and time,” he said.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has fashioned his response to the controversy into the opening of a stump speech laugh line. “I'm not one to question the authenticity of Barack Obama's birth certificate," Pawlenty says on the trail. "But when you look at his policies, I do question what planet he's from."

Pawlenty also pushed members of his party to put the questions about Obama’s birthplace to bed. “I, for one, do not believe we should be raising that issue," Pawlenty said on MSNBC in March. "I think President Obama was born in the United States."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney echoed Pawlenty’s assertion last week.

"I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States,” Romney told CNBC. “The man needs to be taken out of office but his citizenship isn't the reason why."

And Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour dismissed a question about Trump’s high-profile brandishing of the birther mantle last week in New Hampshire,  saying simply that “I just accept at face value that the president was born where he says he was.”

Still, with poll numbers showing a sizable portion of GOP voters have questions about Obama’s birthplace, the issue could remain a tricky one for candidates as they appear in front of often-unpredictable town hall audiences.

A recent FOX News poll showed that about a quarter of all Americans – and almost four in ten Republicans – have doubts about whether or not the president was born in the United States.