Fox News contributor Bill Cowan told a tea party gathering that "we may not know for another 100 years" if President Barack Obama is a "legitimate" American and suggested he lacks "a real, legitimate birth certificate."
Cowan was speaking before the Myrtle Beach Tea Party (SC) on August 11. A flyer for the event claimed attendees would "learn the facts about what is really going on in the world today and the direct impact it will have on our lives!"
FoxNews.com states that "Cowan is a FOX News Channel contributor and internationally acknowledged expert in the areas of terrorism, homeland security, intelligence and military special operations." Cowan said he's been working for Fox News since 2002. He has appeared on Fox News and Fox Business at least a thirteen times in the past month, according to a Nexis and FoxNews.com video search.
Cowan's August 11 tea party speech veered into the long-debunked territory of Obama's birth certificate during the question and answer portion when an audience member referenced things on "the Internet" and whether Obama is a "legitimate American." Cowan replied by going birther:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: My question is -- more and more coming up on the Internet, daily. Is this man a legitimate American? Is he a legitimate president? And I don't think so, that's my personal opinion.
COWAN: You may be right. You may absolutely be right. And here's part of the issue. Is he legitimate? We don't know and we may not know for another 100 years. But the problem is we're living in the real world right now, and the real world is he was sworn in to be our president. And even if tomorrow somebody found a real, legitimate birth certificate from somewhere else that said he couldn't be our president, the legal process to push that through and get him out would far exceed the rest of the time he has in office. That's the problem we're facing so we're stuck with the guy but here's the point that I liked that you make me remember. That no matter what our complaints are about him, no matter what he does right or does wrong, mostly wrong, he's not running for office again. So at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Doesn't matter, because we're going to be electing someone else next time and if we're not careful, it's going to be Hillary Clinton. We're going to be right where we are now.
Cowan later discussed his anger towards Obama supporters, stating: "When I see an Obama sticker go by in a car, I've never had anger like that in my life. I want to run 'em off the road. I don't care if it's a woman." He added while smiling: "I'm not kidding, my anger is overwhelming at the people who vote for Obama because I think they just plain have no idea what he is or what's happening to their country. And they're the something for nothing people."
Cowan frequently appears on Fox's programs and regularly comments on the Obama administration. He's said on Fox News that Jews who vote for Obama "can't be as close to Israel as we'd like to think," compared Obama's strategy with Iran to "Neville Chamberlain trying to deal with Hitler," and used Fox's D-Day Anniversary coverage to attack Obama as "a weak president."
As Media Matters has documented, Fox News has repeatedly promoted and given oxygen to birther conspiracies. Another Fox News military analyst, Thomas McInerney, said in a 2010 affidavit that he believes there are "widespread and legitimate concerns that the President is constitutionally ineligible to hold office." McInerney still works for Fox News.
In a speech last month before a Republican audience, fellow Fox News contributor Allen West didn't dispute an audience member who falsely claimed that "Obama is a Muslim," and responded that he's "not going to get into that" but the president "has an Eastern orientation, I'll put it that way."