Romney’s craven birther quip


At the NAACP Convention last month, Mitt Romney said, “If someone had told us in the 1950s or 1960s that a black citizen would serve as the forty-fourth president of the United States, we would have been proud and many would have been surprised.” I gave the presumptive nominee mad props for not-so-subtly pushing back against the racist birther lie against President Obama. And for never really dabbling in those fetid waters. Now I’m just plain mad.

Eliciting a roar from the crowd, Romney said the following to supporters at a campaign rally in Michigan.

I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised. Where both of us were born . . . No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.

Greg Sargent is right.Romney is no birther. He knows full well the president was born in Hawaii and has said so many times. His campaign just reiterated that point. It also pointed out that the former Massachusetts governor wasn’t using a teleprompter and was only trying to play up his Michigan roots to a hometown audience. Thus, the comments were off-the-cuff, not to mention unnecessary and craven.

Perhaps Romney is still pleading for love from the Republican base. Perhaps he is so desperate for its acceptance that he felt compelled to give a nod to the Obama-hating extreme of that base. Or perhaps the tin-eared clunky candidate can’t help himself. After all, after taking the president to task for saying “the private sector is doing fine” back in June, Romney seconded Obama’s assessment at a private fundraiser last night in Minnesota.

This is no way to start a convention.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.

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