This has got to be one of the most egregious cases of digging yourself deeper that I’ve ever heard of. Tommy Thompson is speaking to a Jewish group and says:
“I’m in the private sector and for the first time in my life I’m earning money,” Republican hopeful and former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson said Monday. “You know that’s sort of part of the Jewish tradition.”
Okay, bad move. But one could imagine a recovery. But not like this:
After being made aware that his remarks were problematic, Thompson returned to the podium and told the several hundred activists assembled, “I just want to clarify something because I didn’t in any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things.
“What I was referring to ladies and gentlemen is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. You have been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that and if anybody took what I said wrong, I apologize. I may have mischaracterized it. You are very successful. I applaud you for that.
But it actually gets worse:
During the speech, Thompson also called himself the governor of the first state to buy “Jewish bonds” — presumably meaning Israel Bonds — and said his friend who persuaded him to buy the bonds was also a big supporter of the “Jewish Defense League” — probably meaning the Anti-Defamation League, not the militant group.
The JDL is something of a terrorist organization, for the record. See also Shmuel Rosner’s thoughts.
UPDATE: For the record, I’m much more inclined to put Thompson into the “morons” file than the “hates Jews” one, unless there’s some kind of longer record out there.
UPDATE II: Spencer Ackerman picks up the damn phone.