There’s off message and then there’s Mitt Romney’s son, Matt Romney, who suggested on Thursday that President Obama should release his birth certificate and grades before his father releases his tax returns.
“He’s certainly not afraid of anything, he’s not hiding anything,” he said of his father in a video recorded by a Patch reporter in New Hampshire. “But 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.”
After his brothers stepped in to distance the candidate from the remarks, Matt added that “that’s a suggestion from someone else.”
Both Obama’s birth certificate and grades have been a longtime focus of fringe conspiracy theorists, leading Obama to publicly release copies of both his short form and long form birth certificate. Recently a number of conservatives, including Rick Perry, have demanded Obama release his college grades, a less-than-subtle dogwhistle to conservatives looking to prove that the president, who distinguished himself as the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, owed his success to Affirmative Action.
TPM reached out to the Romney campaign for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
Update: Matt Romney quickly clarified his remarks on Twitter via a brand new account that had never been used before. A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign confirmed to TPM that the account was indeed Romney’s son and that he had created it expressly to apologize.
“I repeated a dumb joke. My bad,” he tweeted.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.