WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Sarah Palin and former Bush adviser Karl Rove suggested this week Republicans should admit President Obama was born in the United States and move on.
Rove, speaking Wednesday on Fox News, went so far as to suggest the Obama camp is trying to keep the "birther" issue going as a distraction.
"We need the leaders of our party to say, 'Look, stop falling into the trap of the White House and focus on the real issues,'" he said.
Palin, speaking in New York, called claims Obama was born in Kenya or is a secret Muslim "distractions" and "annoying." The former Alaska governor said Thursday Republicans need to focus on the economy.
A poll of 400 likely Republican primary voters showed 51 percent believe Obama was not born in the United States. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told CNN he is not convinced the poll is an accurate reflection of Republican beliefs, saying most people "accept the reality" that Obama was born in Hawaii.
At least two high-profile Republicans refused to back away from the so-called birthers. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said they accept Obama's birth certificate but would not say those who believe otherwise are wrong.
"Well, that's not for me to state, that's for the president to state," Bachmann said when asked on ABC her if Obama is a U.S.-born Christian.