President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election team was quick to jump on a crack made by Mitt Romney’s son about the president’s birth certificate, using it as an opportunity to fundraise.
Responding to a New Hampshire audience member’s question about whether his father would release his federal tax returns, Romney’s adult son Matt said Thursday he’d heard a joke that the GOP presidential candidate would do so once Obama released his grades and birth certificate.
“I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as Obama releases his grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things, then maybe he’d do it,” Matt Romney, one of five sons, said.
Romney’s other son Tagg quickly jumped in to say, “That was not my dad saying that.”
Matt Romney subsequently apologized for the remark Friday, launching a Twitter account and using his first tweet to write, “I repeated a dumb joke. My bad.”
But the Obama team quickly seized on the remark, with campaign manager Jim Messina blasting an email to supporters accusing the Romney campaign of “pandering” to “extremists.”
“This is how the Romney campaign thinks it’s going to win the Republican primary: by pandering to the dead-ender fringe of extremists who still question where the president was born,” Messina wrote. Asking for a donation, he added, “We can’t make them rewrite their talking points. But we can drive up the cost of this kind of politics.”
The campaign followed up the message with two tweets on Obama’s official Twitter account: One asking why Romney won’t release his tax returns, and another promoting the mugs again: “Mitt Romney’s son thinks President Obama should release his birth certificate. Guess he doesn’t have one of our mugs?”
Neither Obama nor Romney has released their college grades. According to ABC, then-Senator Obama released his tax returns during his first presidential campaign in March 2008. Romney has not done so.