April 11, 2011 -- Over the weekend, Sarah Palin defended real estate mogul Donald Trump's right to raise doubts about President Obama's place of birth.
"I appreciate that the Donald wants to spend his resources on something that so interests him and so many Americans, you know more power to him," Palin said Sunday on the "Judge Jeanine" show on Fox News.
The former Alaska governor's remarks on Sunday seems to signal a shift in her opinions on the "birther" issue. Long ago, the president did release a "certificate of live birth" which many non-partisan watchdog groups say definitively proves he was born in the U.S.
"It's kind of ludicrous at this point," Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the former director of Hawaii's Department of Health, said in an interview with NBC.
Fukino reviewed Obama's birth certificate twice and said that "birthers" and other doubters will never be satisfied.
"It is real, and no amount of saying it is not, is going to change that," Fukino said.
In February, Palin said the "birther" issue was a "distraction" from the important issues.
"It's distracting. It gets annoying. Let's stick with what really matters," Palin said at an appearance at the Long Island Association.
Although she said she believes Obama was born in Hawaii, Palin seems to be reverting to her old position that it is fair game to ask the president for his birth certificate.
"I think that he was born in Hawaii because there was the birth announcement put in the newspaper. But obviously there is something there that the president doesn't want people to see on that birth certificate, that he sees going to great lengths to make sure it isn't shown. And that's perplexing for a lot of people," Palin told Judge Jeanine on Sunday.
Trump Poll Numbers Go Up
Maybe it has to do with Trump's surge in Republican polls, who is flying past her by most measurements.
Trump is mulling a possible run for the presidency in 2012 and has been challenging Obama's place of birth in the last couple of weeks. Neither Trump nor Palin has declared their candidacy.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted among Republican primary voters shows Trump right behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and tied with ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
But while the birther issue may boost Trump's visibility in the media now, some say it is bad long-term strategy.
"There may be a small part of the country that believes these things, but mainstream Americans think it's a side show, said David Plouffe, senior advisor to President Obama on "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour Sunday. "And what they want our leaders to do is focus squarely on the issues right in front of us: how we're going to keep growing the economy…how we keep our people safe, how do we make sure we're going to win the future by focusing on things like education and innovation? So that's what they want us to focus on."