Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County law enforcer who is leading an widely derided investigation into the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate, believes that the media is purposefully downplaying birthers' efforts in a conspiracy "bigger than Watergate."
In an interview with the Arizona Republic's E.J. Montini, Arpaio said he believes the press is intentionally making the issue seem less important than it is. He also discussed the press conference he held earlier this month about his probe into President Obama's birth certificate.
"The media all came to make fun of me," he said of the March 1 press conference. "I'm a little concerned that all of their questions were zeroed in on credibility and that this has been rehashed. They didn't even ask about the proof of the case. They didn't ask about the facts that we had."
Arpaio, the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" in America, used the press conference to unveil the preliminary results of his investigation into Obama's birth certificate. Arpaio, along with a "posse" of volunteer investigators, said there is reason to believe that the official copy of the president's birth certificate, released by the White House last spring, is a forgery.
The theory that President Obama was not born in the United States has been widely debunked, and the state of Hawaii has verified the authenticity of his birth certificate. His birth was also listed in the local newspaper at the time. However, that has not stopped birthers like Arpaio from continuing to question Obama's citizenship.
Recently, birther efforts have expanded to state legislatures, where lawmakers have attempted to add extra restrictions to ensure all candidates for the presidency are actually citizens. For example, an Arizona bill that passed the state House would require candidates to provide birth certificates or other citizenship documentation in order to get on the state's ballot.
In his interview with Montini, the Arizona sheriff stopped short of accusing Hawaiian officials of engaging in a conspiracy. However, he believes that they should still be investigated.
"You know there’s corruption everywhere," he said. "I’m not saying they’re corrupt. I’m not saying they’re lying. But we have to look into it.”
Arpaio also maintained that his own political leanings were irrelevant to the investigation.
“I don’t care about the politics,” he said. “That has nothing to do with it.”