Norm Coleman denies throwing in with the birther fringe

It probably comes as no shock that Michele Bachmann shared a stage on Sunday with Orly Taitz, the California dentist and self-described "Birther Queen" who rose to prominence filing frivolous lawsuits over Barack Obama's supposedly fraudulent birth certificate. After all, the two already posed for photographs together last month.

More surprising was the fact that last weekend former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman also rubbed shoulders with Taitz, who is now mounting an unlikely run for California Secretary of State. Coleman told City Pages he didn't even know she was going to be there.

Coleman certainly stuck to the usual slate of GOP positions during his senate career, but a Tea Partying conspiracy theorist he was not. Dude spent the sixties smoking weed, roadying for Jethro Tull, and chilling at Woodstock.

Since losing his senate seat to Al Franken in the last election, Coleman has been running the American Action Network, an establishment-Republican think-tank he says advocates "center-right" policies.

So does Coleman's joint appearance with the poster-girl for America's new lunatic fringe  (Taitz, not Bachmann) constitute an endorsement? And Does Coleman bear any responsibility for who he associates himself with? When we called him to ask, we got an emphatic "no" to both questions.

"There were 600 people at that dinner. I hardly saw her," Coleman said. "I may have said hello to her, but that's hardly an endorsement. I think the birthers are way over the edge, but this is America. People have a lot of ideas."

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