Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer isn’t backing away from controversial comments he made about Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Instead, the Democrat is doubling down.
Through a statement from a senior adviser, Schweitzer stood by his claim that Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, would have a hard time narrowing the gender gap with President Barack Obama because his “family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico,” and because women are “not great fans of polygamy.”
“The governor meant what he said, precisely. It has nothing to do with Mr. Romney’s faith or the Mormon church, both of which the governor knows reject polygamy,” Schweitzer adviser Eric Stern said in a statement to POLITICO.
“Rather, Mr. Schweitzer was describing a strategic problem that Romney faces, politically speaking: that Romney is in serious trouble with Hispanic voters because [he] took an ultra right-wing position on immigration during the primary; that to reach out to Hispanic voters Romney would probably like to be able to discuss the fact that his father was born in Mexico; but, that this is awkward for Romney to discuss, because it requires discussing, as well, the fact that his father was born into a polygamy colony.”At NRO, Jim Gerraty writes:
To their credit, the Obama campaign responded appropriately: The Obama camp’s Lis Smith said, “Attacking a candidate’s religion is out of bounds, and our campaign will not engage in it, and we don’t think others should either.”
However, cynical minds might wonder if there is a strategic outsourcing of the below-the-belt attacks to surrogates not officially affiliated with the campaign.
Of course, if the Democrats want to make this race about which candidate is closer to a polygamist ancestor . . . we can play that game.At The Washington Post, David Maraniss explains:
The line of polygamists in Obama’s family can be traced back generations in western Kenya, where it was an accepted practice within the Luo (pronounced LOO-oh) tribe. His great-grandfather, Obama Opiyo, had five wives, including two who were sisters. His grandfather, Hussein Onyango, had at least four wives, one of whom, Akumu, gave birth to the president’s father, Barack Obama, before fleeing her abusive husband. Obama Sr. was already married when he left Kenya to study at the University of Hawaii, where he married again. His American wife-to-be, Stanley Ann Dunham, was not yet 18 and unaware of his marital situation when she became pregnant with his namesake son in 1961.