Kobach says statement about Obama ‘just a joke’

? The Kansas Democratic Party didn’t find Republican secretary of state candidate Kris Kobach’s joke about President Obama’s birth certificate funny.

“While Kris Kobach has in the past associated himself with extremists who frequently show poor taste, his latest attempt at humor has gone too far,” KDP executive director Kenny Johnston said Monday.

“Kansans want elected officials who stand above the peddling of partisan lies and conspiracy theory. This is yet another example of why Kris Kobach is unfit for elected office,” Johnston added.

In response to the Democratic criticism, Kobach said Tuesday, “Lighten up. It’s just a joke.”

Kobach added, “Are they really suggesting it is forbidden to tell jokes about Barack Obama?”

In speaking Saturday at a Leavenworth County Republican Party barbecue in Tonganoxie, Kobach asked what Obama and God had in common. He said neither had a birth certificate.

Some critics of Obama have accused him of having faked his birth certificate to show that he was born in Hawaii rather than his father’s home of Kenya, which would have meant he was not eligible to run for president.

The fake birth certificate allegation has been refuted by non-partisan groups.

“Until a court says otherwise, I believe Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen,” said Kobach, who is former chairman of the state Republican Party.

In his comment about Kobach’s associations with extremists, Johnston said he was referring to a report done by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which criticized Kobach’s affiliation with the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The Southern Poverty Law Center listed FAIR as a hate group that promoted racism.

FAIR denied being racist, as did Kobach when the charge was originally made. Kobach, an attorney, has worked on behalf of FAIR in a court challenge of a Kansas law that allows the children of some undocumented workers to pay in-state tuition for postsecondary education.