Video of the Day: Matt Romney's Birther Flirtation

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The GOP frontrunner's son veers way off message during an appearance in New Hampshire, then quickly backs off.

Someone's not going to get his allowance this week.

As Mitt Romney shoots to the front of Iowa polls, he's spending all his time in the Hawkeye State until after the caucus. That means he has surrogates campaigning for him elsewhere. On Friday, Romney sons Tagg, Craig, Matt, and Josh were at a senior center in Concord, New Hampshire, stumping for their dad. The problem is that -- as Hillary Clinton can tell you -- surrogates sometimes veer off message and cause problems for the campaign (even ones who are related to you).

That's what happened in Concord, in a moment snagged by the Concord Patch. Discussing the question of whether the elder Romney will release his tax returns -- he's said he won't, despite political pressure -- Matt Romney, 40, repeated a quip he heard recently: "I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate ... then maybe he'll do it." (Awkward guffaws are audible in the room.) That's a pretty silly statement for a couple reasons. One is factual: Obama already released his birth certificate, although the grades, something of a conservative bete noire for reasons unclear, are still private. The second is political. Already, the story is getting lots of attention and will continue to do so, just when the Romney campaign would prefer to be focusing on Iowa. Matt Romney seems to have realized this quickly, tweeting, "I repeated a dumb joke. My bad."

Image: YouTube

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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