The birther movement has come home to roost as the Republican presidential primary heats up.
In a column published last week on the conspiracy theory website WND, author Jack Cashill noted that questions had been raised about whether four of the 17 candidates in the GOP field were really "natural born citizens" and therefore eligible to run for President.
Ted Cruz has already dealt with those questions publicly -- the Canadian-born senator from Texas renounced his citizenship with that country last summer in anticipation of a 2016 bid -- but Cashill also listed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) among those who were suspect.
He even mentioned that Jindal's preferring to go by the name Bobby -- inspired by "The Brady Bunch" -- instead of his given name, Piyush, would make for interesting evidence in a court case focused on his eligibility to run for commander-in-chief.
But who, exactly, was suspicious of these candidates? On what grounds could these four politicians' eligibility to be President be challenged? And why was Santorum, whose background as an Italian-American doesn't get mentioned nearly as frequently as Rubio's Cuban heritage or Jindal's Indian heritage, suspect?
TPM called up Cashill to find out. Cashill notably co-wrote the 2012 book "Officer's Oath" with former Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, who was dismissed from the U.S. Army in 2010 and sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan amid his questions about President Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as commander-in-chief.
Below is a transcript of the conversation that has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
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