McCain Rival Hayworth: Birther Questions About 'Identity Theft'

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth yesterday launched his primary bid against Sen. John McCain. And on his first day as a candidate, he put forward a novel argument raising questions about President Obama’s birth certificate: Such documentation is critical in an era of “identity theft,” he said.

Asked about comments he’s made calling on Obama to document his place of birth , Hayworth, R-Ariz., told CNN’s Campbell Brown last night that it’s legitimate to ask for proof of identity from all candidates for office.

“I’m responding to what constituents write me about, and they’re looking prospectively at every office -- from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to city council,” Hayworth said. “All I'm saying is, for every race across the country, especially with identity theft in the news, it would be great that people can confirm who they say they are.”

When Brown responded incredulously -- “Identity theft? I mean, come on,” she said -- Hayworth said he’s more concerned about the president’s policies than about “esoteric arguments about birth certificates and eligibility.”

Said Hayworth: “Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He is our 44th president. I have no qualms about who he is, or who he says he is. I know who he is in terms of policy, in terms of reckless spending that will drive up hyper-inflation…”

Several independent fact-checking organizations , it should be noted, have concluded that the president was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born citizen, eligible under the Constitution to be president.

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