Mitt Romney decided to shake up a very slow Friday by cracking a joke about birth certificates on the campaign trail (“joke” is being used in the loosest sense of the word). Within minutes, the Obama campaign hysterically declared that he had fully embraced the birther movement:
“I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born,” [Romney] said. “Ann was born at Henry Ford hospital, I was born at Harper hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” …
In a statement responding to Romney’s comments, Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt mentioned Trump and others who have raised the birth certificate issue previously.
“Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them,” LaBolt said. “It’s one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio, and Kris Kobach. But Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”
There’s a long way between telling a stupid joke and “directly enlist[ing] in the birther movement,” a group of fringe crazies who believe Obama is lying about being born in the United States and has carried out an elaborate cover-up. Romney has long denounced the birther conspiracies, and as Politico notes, Arpaio and Trump don’t have speaking slots at the convention. Romney didn’t even mention Obama in his comment.
Not to mention, Obama and his campaign have joked about his birth certificate on numerous occasions, and currently sell overpriced campaign merchandise mocking the conspiracy. “There’s really no way to make the conspiracy about President Obama’s birth certificate completely go away, so we might as well laugh at it,” says the Obama campaign website.
That seems to be what Romney was doing — or at least trying to do. His joke wasn’t very funny, and it probably wasn’t a smart topic to delve into, but it’s a desperate reach for the Obama campaign to claim he’s a birther.