BIRTHER NONSENSE FINDS A NEW CHAMPION?…. With right-wing activists investing so much time and energy in misleading the country about health care reform, they haven’t had nearly as much time to invest in misleading the country about President Obama’s place of birth. It’s been quite nice, actually, to see “birthers” fade from public attention.

The stupidity may be poised for a comeback, thanks to a far-right congressman from Arizona.

About a month ago, Mike Stark asked several Republican lawmakers in D.C. if they believe the president is natural-born U.S. citizen. The vast majority of GOP members avoided answering the question — some going to comical lengths to avoid Stark’s easy inquiry. Rep. Trent Franks (R) of Arizona, however, gave “a correct and clear answer.” Good for him.

That background, however, makes this local news report from Franks’ district all the more curious. (via David Weigel)

The other main issue dealt with numerous speakers questioning Obama’s birth certificate and why there wasn’t an investigation into whether he is a naturalized citizen. One woman said a newspaper announcement of his birth in Hawaii was not sufficient. Another asked how he could have a passport without a birth certificate.

Franks said there was not enough evidence that Obama is not an American citizen. He did say there was a lot of conflicting evidence of Obama’s citizenship and that he was considering filing a lawsuit, the only congressman to do so. Franks asked why the president did not simply produce a birth certificate. [emphasis added]

One speaker, a pre-school teacher, tearfully said Obama denounced the country as a Christian nation and warned he should learn a civics lesson. Franks agreed with her saying he was offended that Obama denigrated the country on an overseas trip and the president should speak in favor of the country when abroad.

First, just for the record, the “Christian nation” claim is absurd.

Second, and more important, is the notion that Franks might challenge the president’s citizenship in court? I realize he’s a right-wing lawmaker, but is he that mad?

I suppose we’ll see. Franks is not a co-sponsor of the crazy birther bill in the House, and the news account did not include any exact quotes. It’s certainly possible the article is mistaken.

As far as I can tell, no video of the event has been published online, but Franks’ office has also not yet issued a statement in response to the article.

Steve Benen

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.