ORLANDO, Fla. -- It was a quick, tested line in Thursday night's presidential debate, a way for Mitt Romney to shame Newt Gingrich out of his claim that Romney was "the most anti-immigrant" candidate running.
"I'm not anti-immigrant," said Romney. "My father was born in Mexico. My wife's father was born in Wales."
True: George Romney was born Mexico, in a Mormon colony in the state of Chihuahua. His mother and father were anglos from Utah. But the time George's son Mitt was born, in 1947, George was a successful automotive industry spokesman; by the time Mitt graduated from college, George was a former American Motors Executive working for the Nixon administration. The Mexico genesis was sort of a fluke.
It's still awfully resonant. After Romney spoke here, I met Bill Wilton, 64, an exterminator and Vietnam veteran who was squarely for Romney. One reason: "He came up from nothing. His father immigrated here from Mexico."
That's not what Romney was saying. But it's not a problem if people believe it...
TODAY IN SLATE
The Self-Made Man
The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke
Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?
The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas
Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10
Mad About Modi
Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.
You Deserve a Pre-cation
The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.