CUCCINELLI’S UNPERSUASIVE WALK-BACK…. Since we talked yesterday about Virginia’s right-wing state Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, and his ridiculous Birther tendencies, it’s only fair that I note that he’s walked back his rhetoric.

An audio clip surfaced with Cuccinelli telling someone that it “doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility” that President Obama was born outside the United States, adding that “the speculation is Kenya.” Cuccinelli added that “it’s possible” he would use his office to test the president’s eligibility/citizenship if Virginia were involved in litigation against the federal government.

As the story made the rounds yesterday, Cuccinelli felt the need to respond, and issued a statement through his office:

“I absolutely believe that President Obama was born in the United States. I don’t buy into the claims that he wasn’t. On the recording, I was asked a hypothetical legal question, and I gave a hypothetical legal answer in response….”

At the risk of sounding picky, I can’t help but notice this isn’t much of a walk-back. He now “absolutely” believes the president is a natural-born citizen, and I’m glad to hear it, but his remarks on the recording weren’t exactly “hypothetical.” Cuccinelli specifically said that it “doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility” that the president was born outside the country, and openly speculated about what he could do about it.

I can think of a variety of words to describe his comments, but “hypothetical” isn’t one of them.

Adam Serwer added, “I’m willing to believe that Cuccinelli doesn’t actually believe this stuff, and that he was just engaging in a little partisan signifying for the GOP crazy wing. But that doesn’t mean he should be let off the hook for saying something as outrageous as suggesting the president was born in Kenya just because he has the good sense to be embarrassed enough to lie about it later.”

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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.