Do birthers have a friend in Cory Gardner?

Cory Gardner, who's running for Congress in Colorado's 4th District, is under liberal attack for playing coy when asked at a town hall this week if he thinks President Barack Obama was born in the United States. As Colorado Pols points out this morning, his subsequent response to the Denver Post's Michael Riley about his refusal to reject nutty birther claims out of hand makes absolutely no sense: He says the comments originally reported by the Fort Collins Coloradoan were taken out of context because a contentious crowd prevented him from finishing his thought -- but presumably no such crowd was baying at him during his conversation with Riley and he didn't finish his thought then, either.

On the other hand, no amount of negative Mike Littwin columns will wound Gardner among birther believers. That's the beauty of conspiracy theories: Anyone attacking them automatically reinforces the paranoia even if the only weapon used is the truth. So, from a political standpoint, Gardner might as well remain vague on this subject. The people who are appalled by his cynical behavior were never going to vote for him anyhow -- and members of the ever-growing lunatic fringe can recognize a friendly candidate when they see one.