Apparently, Birtherism is too crazy/extreme even for Rick Perry
Remember Rick Perry's flirtation with Birtherism the other day after a meeting with Donald Trump? Seems, as he tells the St. Petersburg Times's Adam Smith, he was only kidding:
Smith: Jeb Bush the other day said, the Republican candidates for president should categorically reject the notion that Barack Obama was not born in America. This came after you expressed doubts about that.. what would you say to him?
Perry: Oh, I don't think I was expressing doubts. I was having some fun with Donald Trump. So I...
Smith: Are you comfortable that he's an American citizen?
Perry: Oh yeah. It's fun to... ya know, lighten up a little bit...
Adam: So you have no doubt he's an American citizen?
Smith: I have no doubt about it.
Oh, yeah, right. Haha. What fun.
But, you see, there's a bit of wiggle room here. The issue, for Birthers, isn't whether Obama is a citizen but whether he was born in the U.S. (and is therefore eligible to be president). All Perry says here is that he has no doubt Obama is a citizen. Now, he was just answering the question posed to him. It's not his fault that the question wasn't the one that consumers the Birthers. Still, it was conveniently posed, and it gives him an out should he wish to get back into the Birther game at some later date.
Otherwise, I highly doubt he was just "having some fun." More likely, he was told by his handlers that Birtherism doesn't fly anymore, except on the outer fringe of a party that is already well out on the fringe, or at least isn't something he should be pushing at the moment. It just makes him look even more unready and unserious than his embarrassingly bad debate performances do.