Birtherism and Frank Marshall Davis in Wisconsin

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 15 2012 12:19 PM

Birtherism and Frank Marshall Davis in Wisconsin

WAUKESHA, Wis. -- U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson spent this weekend at closed-door events, wrapping them up with a press conference, limiting his potential exposure to gaffe. It might have worked had a Democratic tracker not gotten into a Kenosha GOP breakfast and taped Jason Thompson -- the candidate's son! -- joking that Republicans "have the opportunity to send Barack Obama back to Chicago, or Kenya."

Southeast Wisconsin is the oddest of places to make this joke. Chicago's one thing, but who has a problem with Kenyans? Do you see any lousy Kenyan drivings cutting you off on I-94? Nonetheless, the younger Thompson has been officially told off by his father and the campaign. Birtherism has no place in this race.

The theory that Barack Obama was sired by communist poet Frank Marshall Davis? That's another story. Outside of Paul Ryan's rally today, I met James Zeiler, an independent activist with three boxes stacked with material. Two boxes contained anti-Obama and anti-George Soros pamphlets by George Soros. The other contained Dreams From My Real Father, the documentary that lays out the Obama-Davis theories.

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There were 600 copies of the movie when the event began, and around 1300 people at the rally. That said, I didn't see many Ryan fans picking them up.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.