Ken Bennett, Arizona Secretary Of State, Backs Away From Birther Request

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett backed away from his birther-fueled request to verify President Obama's birth certificate with the state of Hawaii, telling a Phoenix radio program that he was sorry for any negative attention he may have brought to the state.

"If I embarrassed the state, I apologize, but that certainly wasn't my intent," Bennett said Tuesday during an interview with radio station KTAR, adding that he was just trying to "help as many Arizonians as I can" by looking into their concerns over the document.

Bennett also walked back his threat to keep Obama off Arizona's ballot this fall.

"He’ll be on the ballot as long as he fills out the same paperwork and does the same things that everybody else has," Bennett said.

However, when pressed by the radio hosts on whether he was pandering to birther conspiracy theorists who believe the president was born outside the United States, Bennett pushed back.

"What is so sacred or untouchable about this question that you can't even ask the question?" he said, after insisting that he himself does not subscribe to the fraudulent birth certificate theories.

Earlier this week, the Hawaii Attorney General's office reportedly responded to Bennett's request to verify the birth certificate, telling the Secretary of State that he would need to take further steps to receive the confirmation. During the Tuesday interview, Bennett said he had revised his request and expected to hear back within a matter of days.

Bennett also claimed that he has looked into going through a similar process to verify Mitt Romney's Michigan birth certificate, but has not yet made a formal request.