IOWA — R.T. Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, says Mitt Romney needs to personally and publicly rebuke the birther joke his son Matt made Friday in New Hampshire.
“Mitt Romney has never had the guts to stand up when one of his surrogates has said something wrong, even his own son,” Rybak told TPM on Friday evening. “He doesn’t have the guts to stand up when someone says something that outrageously wrong.”
On Friday, Matt Romney joked that his father would release his tax returns — a key attack on him from Democrats — when Obama gave in to the demands of conspiracy theorists.
“I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things, that maybe he’d do that,” Matt said.
Here’s video from Mediaite:
After the line caused a stir, Matt Romney created a Twitter account for the purpose of apologizing for the comment.
“I repeated a dumb joke. My bad,” he tweeted.
Rybak was unimpressed with the apology.
“It’s a bad joke that the Romneys think they can repeat a lie to distract from his failure to be honest about his income,” he told TPM. He was in Iowa Friday to bracket Romney, who toured the state with Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).
Rybak said the joke exposed Romney’s failure to repudiate birther comments from others like Donald Trump, whom Romney met with earlier this year. Romney has strongly stated in the past that he believes Obama was born in the United States.
But Rybak said Romney needs to publicly condemn his son’s joke as well. He accused the Romney campaign of trying to curry favor with the more extremist wing of the GOP.
“I think this is another example of Romney, or in this case the Romneys, saying anything they can to try and win a vote because they can’t win by simply saying what they’re for,” he said.