You can say almost anything in politics as long as you follow it up with some kind of “Oh, I didn’t mean it like that” clarification hours after the soundbyte has already sunken into the zeitgeist. Case in point: Mitt Romney made a birth certificate joke at a rally today that “totally wasn’t a dig at President Obama and isn’t meant to reignite the birther controversy” except that that’s exactly what it was and that’s exactly what it did.
“Nobody ever has to see my birth certificate. They know this is the place where I was born and raised,” was the line that raised cheers from thousands gathered at a Mitt Romney rally in Commerce, Michigan earlier today. Of course, Romney’s critics immediately lit up, criticizing the GOP candidate of sparking the ridiculous “birther” debate all over again.
The Obama Camp responded by arguing that Romney has long “embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them,” and that his “decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”
Greg Sargent of the Washington Post also smells controversy. “Maybe this will get chalked up to Romney’s awkwardness and get dismissed, but it looks to me like a major mistake. Coming just after days spent debating Todd Akin’s ‘legitimate rape’ remark, this is again a reminder of the extreme voices in the GOP, which Romney has at times been slow to denounce.”
“In case you’re wondering what it takes to offend a campaign whose allies have accused Romney of tax evasion based on anonymous ‘sources’ and blamed him for leaving a steelworker’s wife to die from cancer uninsured, here you go,” said Allahpundit on Hot Air.
But Mitt is backing away. “No, no, (it’s) not a swipe” at Obama, he tells CBS. “I’ve said throughout the campaign and before, there’s no question about where he was born. He was born in the US. This was fun about us, and coming home. And humor, you know—we’ve got to have a little humor in a campaign.”
What do you think? Chalk this up to Mitt Romney’s awkwardness? Or was it a calculated jab at President Obama? Watch the video and sound off below!