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Rick Perry: ‘It’s fun to poke at’ the president over birth certificate

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Perry (Nati Harnik/AP)

In a Tuesday interview with CNBC, Rick Perry suggested he has flirted with the idea that Barack Obama's birth records might be amiss simply as a means of poking fun at the president.

"It's fun to poke at him a little bit and say, Hey, how about--let's see your grades and your birth certificate," the Texas governor told CNBC's John Harwood.

In an interview with Parade Magazine on Sunday, Perry said he had no way of knowing whether the president's long-form birth certificate is authentic. The White House released the long-form certificate over the summer, after real estate mogul Donald Trump, who was flirting with a presidential bid earlier this year, spearheaded a "birther" campaign to force a fuller release of document's relating to Obama's birth. Perry spoke with Parade after he had met with Trump over dinner and discussed "birther" issues.

On Tuesday, Perry once again called birther talk a "distraction" but suggested it serves a purpose.

"It's a good issue to keep alive," Perry told Harwood. "Just-- you know, Donald's got to have some fun. So-- and the issue is this."

Perry chalked up birther talk to the same curiosity that exists over the president's grades in school. "I haven't seen his grades. My grades ended up on the front page of the newspaper, so if we're gonna show stuff, let's show stuff," Perry said.

At the same time, however, Perry disclaimed that anything of real consequence was at stake in the birther controversy. "That's all a distraction," he told Harwood on Tuesday. "I mean, I get it. I'm really not worried about the president's birth certificate."

You can watch CNBC's full interview with Perry below:

Perry's birther talk is making headlines the same day he hopes to regain momentum in his stalled 2012 campaign by unveiling his flat tax economic plan.

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