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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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‘Birther’ Movement Rears Head in Nashville

February 6, 2010 - 10:06 AM | by: Judd Berger

The so-called “birther” movement apparently is alive and well at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville.

While the bulk of the three-day affair has been spent on strategizing for the 2010 elections and figuring out how to grow the conservative activist base, convention-goers shifted their attention from tax-and-spending complaints to President Obama’s citizenship during a rousing speech after dinner Friday night by WorldNetDaily.com founder Joseph Farah.

Farah, a conservative newsman whose raison d’etre of late has been to challenge Obama’s eligibility to be president, used the bulk of his remarks to hit that point — and got quite a welcome reception from the hundreds of tea partiers in the room.

“Where’s the birth certificate?” he asked, echoing the words from a controversial billboard campaign he started. “It’s a simple question and it has not been answered.”

The room burst into applause. When he first brought up the issue, Farah got a standing ovation.

The WND head proceeded to contrast the supposed genealogical evidence behind Jesus’ birth against the evidence behind Obama’s birth.

“God didn’t want there to be any doubt about Jesus’ eligibility or qualifications to be the king of kings,” Farah said. “There’s a lesson in this story for Barack Obama. His nativity story is much less known.”

He said Americans are being asked to “accept on faith” that Obama is a citizen.

Obama’s presidential campaign released a copy of his “certification of live birth” showing he was born in Honolulu. But that hasn’t settled the issue among hardened skeptics, as some theorists argue that’s not official enough and want more proof.

For the most part, conservative commentators and mainstream Republicans have stayed far away from the “birthers,” viewing it as a sideshow that does little to advance conservative causes.

Those at the tea party convention seem to have a multitude of causes, with fiscal responsibility and lower taxes topping the list — but fears about Obama, and the possibility of the country somehow losing its identity and power, cut through.

The convention has treated patriotism as a lost art that it’s trying to revive. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s opening speech Thursday focused on that theme.

Before Farah spoke, convention organizer Judson Phillips held an impromptu Pledge of Allegiance, saying he’d had many requests. So the room full of dinner guests stood up, held their hands over their hearts and pledged themselves to the flag, after a hearty “USA!” chant.

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