MORE BIRTHER MADNESS…. On yesterday’s “Hardball,” Chris Matthews returned once again to the Birthers’ bizarre obsession with President Obama’s birth, and talked to G. Gordon Liddy about the “issue.” Liddy said the president is an “illegal alien,” and to bolster his claim, added, “I’ve got the deposition of the step-grandmother who said she witnessed it.”

This is one of the more popular claims from the lunatic fringe, and it was debunked quite a while ago. But in case anyone who cares about reality is curious, or has forgotten why this is nonsense, there is no “deposition” and the step-grandmother actually said Obama was born in Hawaii.

Salon‘s Alex Koppelman highlighted reality.

What Liddy was referring to is actually an affidavit filed by a street preacher named Ron McRae, who conducted an interview with Sarah Obama, the second wife of President Obama’s grandfather, through a translator. […]

In that interview, Sarah Obama does in fact say at one point that she was there for her grandson’s birth. But that was a mistake, a confusion in translation. As soon as a jubilant McRae began to press her for further details about her grandson being born in Kenya, the family realized the mistake and corrected him. And corrected him. And corrected him.

No matter, though, because people who believe in a conspiracy theory simply hear what they want to hear. So some Birther sites have posted transcripts and YouTube clips that end abruptly with the mistranslation and don’t include the corrections.

It’s almost as if these right-wing activists are trying to perpetrate a fraud.

In related news, Dave Weigel reports today that the McCain/Palin campaign considered the matter late during last year’s presidential campaign, and found that there was nothing to the fringe allegations.

Of course, I’m sure the activists will now tell us that McCain/Palin was in on the conspiracy. That’s generally the level of discourse we’re dealing with here.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.