Mitt Romney surrogate Frmr. Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) defended the governor’s upcoming fundraiser with birther Donald Trump during an appearance on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Tuesday afternoon, insisting that the campaign will use the event to focus on economic issues. Asked if Romney would have criticized President Obama had he appeared alongside a controversial supporter, Talent suggested that it would not and even claimed that Romney avoided weighing in on Hilary Rosen’s claim that Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life“:
MITCHELL: If president Obama were to appear with a prominent fund-raiser who said things as outrageous as what Donald Trump said again today, would you in the Romney campaign let it go?
TALENT: We’d keep focusing on the main subject of the campaign is and we’ve done that. Every time the president trying to get off to something different like the attack of Governor Romney because of his dogs or the attack on Mrs. Romney we keep going back to what’s important… Every time the campaign or something comes up on the other side that does that, we keep going back to the main issues because campaigns shouldn’t be about the horse race. They ought to be about what’s important to the American people and that’s what Governor Romney’s going to stick with.
The facts tell a different story, however. Within an hour of Rosen’s remarks in April, Romney’s wife Ann joined Twitter and personally condemned Rosen. The following day, the campaign deployed a series of surrogates to slam the pundit in conference calls with reporters and press releases, while Ann appeared on Fox News. The campaign and its conservative allies demanded — and won — public condemnations of Rosen from the Obama campaign, the DNC, prominent Democrats, and even President Obama himself. Ann Romney later described Rosen’s remarks as a political “gift,” noting, “It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it.”
Rosen, unlike Trump, was never part of the Obama campaign, yet the Romney people insisted that Obama apologize for her comments. They’re now taking a different tact with Trump, proving that Romney is willing to embrace supporters who spew lies and misinformation so he can raise money and appeal to the most conspiracy-minded conservatives.