In the middle of the Bering Strait lie two islands, Little Diomede Island and Big Diomede Island, just 2.4 miles apart. Big Diomede is part of Russia. Little Diomede (or as the natives call it "'Lil Di") is part of the state of Alaska, USA. From Lil Di, you really can see Russia from your house.
It was there, on October 7, 1951, that Vladimir Putin was born, as revealed recently in documents leaked by Glenn Greenwald via Edward Snowden via Julian Assange via Daniel Ellsberg via Alger Hiss.
The CIA has known this information for 25 years, and administrations from HW Bush to Obama have held it back until the right opportunity arose. In early September 2013, the Obama administration needed the right kind of leverage on Putin to pressure Syria on chemical arms and avoid involving the United States in Syria, or at least an adverse vote in Congress. Putin was approached through back channels involving ex-KGB agents and Aryan Nation members in Albuquerque, NM, aided by extortion specialists from the House of Representatives. Kerry got the word and "let slip" his "they can always turn over their chemical weapons" comment. The rest is nearly history.
The Syria deal was threatened when Greenwald published the Putin Born in the US scoop, but by that time, the Russian leader had embraced his newly revealed place of birth, saying
"I love U.S. Well, not so much gays, but still. .. . Maybe I run for President of U.S. for GOP. Hah-hah."
The "Hah-hah" part was edited out on Drudge and Fox.
Then he told the tale of his birth on Lil Di in a column in his now regular Op-ed slot in the New York Times (He replaced David Brooks, who was put on permanent "book leave" in Irkutsk):
My mamochka, Maria Ivanovna Putina, was an avid kayaker. Nothing would stop her from plunging into even icy waters and paddling for hours, not even being nine months pregnant. On the morning of October 7, 1951, she was kayaking off of Big Diomede Island when she was blown off course, landing on Lil Di, where she gave birth to me with the assistance of kindly Inupiat Inuit midwives. We then climbed back into the kayak and returned to Big Diomede.
Maria Ivanovna and I made our way back to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), where she used her close connections with Stalin to have my (long form) birth certificate show my birth in Leningrad, and the local papers published a back dated birth announcement. And as I rose in the KGB ranks and then post-Soviet politics, my secret US birth remained unknown.
Immediately after the disclosure, Putin's name started to be "mentioned" as a GOP Presidential contender for 2016:
A Time cover story featured a shirtless Putin draped with an American Flag sarong and the headline: "Can the "Bare" Russian Beat Hillary?"
Tom Friedman intoned to Charlie Rose, "Let's wait six months to see if Putin is a viable GOP candidate."
Maureen Dowd wrote, "Unlike the wimpy Barry, Vlad does not suffer fools gladly. In fact, he poisons them. How manly is that?"
Rich Lowry wrote that he "saw constellations" bursting from Putin's six-pack physique.
Peggy Noonan said on Meet the Press, "Screw Reagan. This guy can tear down my wall anytime."
Polls showed Putin surging to the lead almost immediately, at the expense of Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan.
A "Draft Putin" group put out a devastating ad, juxtaposing the shirtless Putin next to a shirtless Christie, with the voiceover, "Are you kidding me?"
The latest poll showed Putin at 60%, with Christie, Paul and Ryan at 5% each and the rest divided among Peter King, Steve King, King Crimson, Louis Gohmert, Michelle Bachmann, George Zimmerman, Ted Cruz, Paul Broun, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Nugent and Yakov Smirnoff.
Interviewed at the Kremlin, Putin said he was strongly considering entering the race. If elected, he noted he would keep his "day job" as Russian President. "Would be awesome, no?" he said.
(inspired, in part by Steve Benen's excellent work on the right's Putin love.)