WASHINGTON — Owen Hill, a conservative Republican state senator from Colorado vying to challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Udall next fall, went birther at a political breakfast last week.
At the Denver County Republican Party's First Friday Breakfast Nov. 1, Hill made the comment to laughter from the crowd:
"You spend time out there [in a Kenyan slum] and little kids are running around barefoot in these kinds of streets, and you ask them what they want to be — they want to be an astronaut, they want to be a physicist, a marine biologist, one kid even told me he wanted to be president of the United States. I held back my snarky comment that said, 'Well, you know what, we already have someone from Kenya as president of the United States.'"
Hill was telling a story about his time working in the Nairobi slums as a top official with Compassion International, a Christian children's charity. Audio of the remark was captured by a Democratic operative in the room and obtained by BuzzFeed. Hill did not immediately respond to an email and phone message left at his legislative offices Thursday.
Hill is one of a slew of Republicans fighting for the party's nomination for Senate next year. He chairs the Colorado Senate Conservatives Fund, and is currently serving his first term in the state legislature. Last month his statewide candidacy got a boost when Ron Paul endorsed him.
"Owen Hill is exactly the kind of person Colorado and this country needs in the U.S. Senate," Paul said in a statement at the time.
Update: Hill didn't respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed, but he gave this statement to the Denver Post after the audio was posted online:
"The fact that my obvious joke is being highlighted today just shows how worried Mark Udall and the Democrats actually are of my campaign for the U.S. Senate here in Colorado. These are the typical sleazy tactics used by Mark Udall's radical operatives who are scared of losing their go to guy in Washington, D.C. Such dishonest antics show how desperate the Mark Udall machine is over losing its stranglehold on our economy, diverting folks from focusing on his inept Obamacare rollout."