Former New Hampshire Governor and leading Romney surrogate John Sununu on Tuesday accused the Obama campaign staff of being a "bunch of liars” and suggested during a morning conference call with reporters that President Barack Obama doesn't understand how the U.S. economy works.
“The president clearly demonstrated that he has absolutely no idea how the economy functions,” said Sununu in reference to President Obama's "If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that" speech.
“The men and women all over America who have worked hard to build these businesses, their businesses from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world -- it is the American way."
"I wish this president would learn how to be an American," he added.
And with those 11 words, Sununu has just about every left-leaning blogger and journalist in the country up in arms. In fact, Reuters even suggests that the former governor waded into "birther" territory with his remarks.
"Obama has repeatedly sought to end speculation by many conservatives that he was not born in the United States and thus not legally able to serve as president," Reuters reports.
"Romney has repeatedly tried to avoid the so-called 'birther' issue, and Sununu was quick to retreat from his statement," the report adds.
He has since issued a clarification:
What I thought I said, but I guess I didn't say, is that the president has to learn the American formula for creating business. The American formula for creating business is not to have government create business.
The American formula for creating business, that I wish he would get comfortable with, is to create a climate in which entrepreneurs can thrive. If I didn't give all of that detail I apologize.
But even after explaining his "learn how to be an American" comments, many on the left still think Sununu went too far.
“The Romney campaign has officially gone off the deep end,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith. “The question is what else they’ll pull to avoid answering serious questions about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and investments in foreign tax havens and offshore accounts."
"This meltdown and over-the-top rhetoric won’t make things better -- it only calls attention to how desperate they are to change the conversation,” she added.
Of course, if we want to start talking about going off "the deep end," perhaps the Obama campaign should do something about that whole “Hey, you know, Romney could totally be a felon” campaign it started last week.
UPDATE -- After Sununu's remarks, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell asked former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty what he thought of the rhetoric coming out the Romney campaign.
Pawlenty responded by noting that not only did Sununu clarify his remarks, but that the former governor of New Hampshire has always been a little colorful:
UPDATE II -- Sununu went on CNN's "The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer" to explain what he meant by "learn how to become an American":
This story has been updated.