Activist who challenges Obama's citizenship is booted from Tax Day Tea Party

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

Several California Republican political candidates, including Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina, were scheduled to share the stage this week with one of the leaders of the “birther” movement that claims President Obama was not born in this country and is thus ineligible for his elected office.

Orly Taitz, an Orange County attorney who has gone to court many times to try to disqualify Obama, was invited to speak Thursday at a Tax Day Tea Party rally in Pleasanton, Calif., that is expected to draw thousands of people. Late Tuesday, organizers said that they had rescinded Taitz’s invitation after questions were raised about her presence by candidates who had been contacted by The Times.

Bridget Melson, founder and president of the Pleasanton Tea Party, said the organization had been “getting calls from candidates like crazy.”

“It’s not worth it,” she said. “She’s too controversial. This is not what the tea party is about at this point.”

Taitz’s lawsuits have been thrown out and lambasted by judges and she has been fined $20,000 for filing frivolous lawsuits. But Taitz, who is now running for secretary of state, was nonetheless invited to speak at Thursday’s event, which is expected to be among the largest Tax Day events in the state.

Taitz’s invitation — and uninvitation — are examples of the complications facing Republicans this year as they try to capture the enthusiasm of the tea party movement without getting sucked into its conspiracy-tinged fringes.

In addition to Fiorina, a representative of Senate candidate Chuck DeVore and several congressional and state legislative candidates are scheduled to speak at the Pleasanton rally.

Spokespersons for Fiorina and DeVore said separately that until they were contacted by The Times, they had been unaware that Taitz was scheduled to speak. Both said their campaigns had already committed to the event and would attend.

“I can say emphatically that the Chuck DeVore campaign and Chuck DeVore himself strongly disapproves of Orly Taitz and the crazy theories she continues to advance,” said Josh Trevino, a DeVore spokesman.

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