Romney’s Birther Joke

Sargent fumes over our latest Hewitt Award nomination:

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. And it seems less than presidential, to put it mildly. 

Alyssa piles on:

That Romney thinks it’s funny to play into this mass delusion speaks either to his discomfort with humor, or a conviction that nasty pandering is the clearest road to a November victory. Either way, it reflects poorly on his character.

Weigel unspins the spin:

It’s a simple story. Romney made a joke that relies on a debunked conspiracy theory about the president — a theory especially popular with people who don’t like blacks and foreigners. Romney’s crowd cheered. He probably opened up a pre-convention worm-can that he didn’t mean to open. This, I think, is why we’re already seeing the comment spun away.