ROMNEY: WHO YA GONNA BELIEVE -- ME OR YOUR LYING ABILITY TO JUDGE CHARACTER?
The Obama campaign is attacking Mitt Romney for his association with Donald Trump, who's still a proud birther, but Romney isn't backing down:
President Barack Obama's campaign is highlighting what they call Mitt Romney's "refusal" to condemn Donald Trump's continued highlighting of the "birther" conspiracy....
Asked on his charter plane Monday night whether Trump's questioning of Obama's birthplace gave him pause, Romney said he was grateful for all his supporters.
"You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney said. "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people." ...
Romney does this a lot: he and his team gently rebuke people other presidential campaigns would cut loose. Romney mildly denounced incivility in general when Ted Nugent made inflammatory remarks about Obama, but he did no more than that -- he is still apparently happy to have Nugent's endorsement. In April, Romney's campaign claimed that immigrant-bashing Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach was a "supporter" and no longer an "advisor" (while Kobach claimed his role hadn't changed), but Romney hasn't repudiated Kobach. Romney stuck by foreign policy adviser Richard Grennell when a look at Grennell's Twitter feed revealed that he'd frequently insulted prominent people in politics, primarily women. (But this loyalty thing goes only so far, of course: when it was clear that Grennell's presence in the campaign offended people on the right -- he's openly gay and a supporter of marriage equality -- he was thrown under the bus.)
Romney seems to be trying to rewrite the rules of toxicity. He seems to be trying to take advantage of his own straitlaced-ness, and of the relaxed rules in general for scandal-plagued Republicans (hello, David Vitter), to give himself immunity whenever an associate offends (as long as the offended parties are merely lefty and centrist). He seems to be telling us that we should let him hang out with anyone he pleases, as a general rule, and that we have no right to judge him by the company he keeps.
Well, he's Republican, so if he's brazen enough about this, he may get away with it.
Here's an Obama Web ad made in response to this. It's not bad:
DougJ has wondered for years whether birtherism would ever go truly mainstream, with centrist pundits arguing that there are "legitimate issues" we really shouldn't ignore. I don't see that happening -- but I see this as a way for the right to declare, by fiat, that birtherism is a harmless eccentricity, and the only problem is that you make too much of it. (That's basically the way the right talks about racism.) That could easily happen. And maybe it could work.