Update: Democrats accuse Ramsey of pandering to birthers, and Ramsey's camp responds: "You can't be serious." Update II: Salon weighs in. "Hey, politicians: Let Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey be a lesson to you. If you're about to say something terminally stupid ... "During the Q&A period after his speech to Nashville Republicans' First Tuesday Club a few minutes ago, Ron Ramsey was given the opportunity right off the bat to state an opinion on whether President Obama is foreign-born--and Ramsey said he doesn't know. That's right, the state's lieutenant governor says he doesn't know whether the president holds his office legitimately. The Obama birther who popped up with his question in this roomful of suits? Maclin Davis, the former attorney for the state Republican Party and a partner in the prestigious firm of Waller Lansden. Here's the exchange:
Davis: Now since the Republicans control both houses of the Tennessee legislature, it seems to me that they might consider passing a state law that says in all future elections no candidate for president can be put on the ballot in Tennessee unless they produce positive proof they are a native-born citizen. If we had one like that a few years ago, we'd be a whole lot better off today. Is there any chance that you would consider that?
Ramsey: ... I suppose that every state could individually do that.
Davis: It seems like it would be really good if somebody would file a suit against our present president to get back all the money he's been paid as president on the grounds he's not a legitimate president since he's not a native-born citizen. The great preponderance of the evidence is he's not a citizen. ...
Ramsey: ... I've got a tableful of advisers sitting over there and they'll probably start cringing right about now when I start talking about some of this stuff right here. ... I'm going to tell you something. I don't know whether President Obama is a citizen of the United States or not. I don't know what the whole deal is there. But I'm going to tell you something. When you walk out on the street down, people don't really care about this issue. I'm all about winning elections, not as Republicans in this nation but also as Republicans in this state of Tennessee. We need to be about creating jobs. We need to be talking about how we're the best in education. We need to be talking about how we are small business people We need to be talking about how we're fiscal conservatives and we know how to balance the budget and Democrats don't. When we get off on sidelines like that, that's when people close their ears and don't listen. I'm not saying you're not right, Mack, I'm not saying you're not right. But that's not how you win elections. We need to prove that Republicans are leaders and that we're going to stand up.