The picture is a bit blurry, but both Tom Dominy and Orly Taitz smile brightly as they stand beside each other at a Republican political gathering last spring in Carmel Valley.
Taitz, arguably the most prominent figure in the “birther” movement that questions President Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth and his citizenship, put the picture on the Web — her site billed as the “world’s leading Obama eligibility challenge website” — after the May “meet the candidates” luncheon sponsored by the Carmel Republican Women Federated.
Dominy, a North County pharmaceutical salesman and vice chairman of the Monterey County Republican Central Committee, recalled meeting Taitz, who was running for secretary of state, and several other candidates at the event where he was a featured speaker.
“I didn’t know she was a birther, but a legitimate candidate for secretary of state,” Dominy said Friday.
He said he hadn’t seen the picture of himself and Taitz, but remembered having it taken. “I have no problem with that,” he said.
While Dominy has doubts of his own about the president’s birthplace, he said, “I can’t say I’m a birther — it’s not the central focus of my actions.”
He said the media have treated Obama with kid gloves — not burrowing into his college transcripts or putting to rest the doubts about his birth records.
“I’m not satisfied with whatever proof he has given. I’m not satisfied he was born in Hawaii,” Dominy said.
dogged Obama during the 2008 election campaign, and the organization FactCheck.org said it saw the president’s original birth certificate and concluded in August 2008 that Obama “was born in the U.S.A. just as he always said.”Hawaiian health officials also confirmed the president was born in Honolulu, the group said.
But the issue hasn’t died and could dog the president in 2012 as Republicans in several states are pushing bills to require presidential candidates to prove to state election officials they are native-born citizens before being allowed on state ballots.
Dominy said, “It’s a small thing to ask.”
But he said the birther arguments, which have become a virtual article of faith in some conservative circles, could be a dead end.
“I’d rather put my time and resources into standard Republican activism and politics,” Dominy said.
“The president can be defeated. It is up to Republicans to come with a viable candidate and registering voters and supporting the best candidate,” he said.
Still, he said, if birther theories proved true, “it would be quite a coup if the president were not born in the U.S.”