http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/mitt-romney-plays-the-birther-card/ Mitt Romney Plays the Birther Card By ANDREW ROSENTHAL Politicians sometimes think they can get away with saying something profoundly offensive or just plain stupid by acting like it was a joke. It never works, just like it didnât work today when Mr. Romney shamelessly played the birther card in what seems like an increasingly desperate campaign against President Obama. Speaking in Commerce, Mich., about his Michigan roots, Mr. Romney said: âNo oneâs ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.â Get it? Everyone knows heâs from Michigan, but nobody is really sure where the president is from. Itâs not like Mr. Romney has shunned the birther crowd. He took the stage earlier this year with Donald Trump, who ranted about Mr. Obamaâs citizenship. Mr. Romneyâs son, Matt, said during the primaries that his father might consider releasing his tax returns if Mr. Obama released his birth certificate and his grades. In April 2011, Mr. Romney himself used the âwell if he says soâ dodge that many Republicans love. âI think the citizenship test has been passed,â Mr. Romney said. âI believe the president was born in the United States. There are real reasons to get this guy out of office.â Citizenship test? Barack Obama did not have to take a citizenship test. And why couldnât Mr. Romney cut out the âI believeâ preamble? The president was born in the United States. But todayâs crack was way over the line. His audience laughed and applauded, probably not because they thought Mr. Romney was doing hilarious stand-up comedy, but because they knew exactly what he was up to. The Romney campaignâs response was especially lame. An adviser, Kevin Madden, said Mr. Romney was âonly referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised.â Right. A spokesman for the Obama campaign, Ben LaBolt, pointed out that Mr. Romney has âembraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them.â But, he added, âGovernor Romneyâs decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.â Thatâs absolutely right. The birther charges are not really about trying to disqualify Mr. Obama from being president. The point is to remind voters that his father was Kenyan and that Mr. Obama is a man of mixed race with brown skin. Itâs racism, pure and simple.