October 15th, 2012
02:41 PM ET
2 years ago

Tommy Thompson's son apologizes for 'birther' joke

(CNN) – The campaign for Tommy Thompson said the Senate hopeful's son apologized Monday after making a comment referencing President Barack Obama's birthplace at a campaign event.

Jason Thompson, whose father is running as the GOP nominee in a tight contest in Wisconsin, said it was time to send President Barack Obama "back to" Kenya.

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"The election here in November will chart our course as a country not only for our generation, but our kids' generation. We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago," Jason Thompson said, before smiling and adding: "Or Kenya."

He made the remark, which was captured on video, while speaking Sunday at the Kenosha County Republican Party fall brunch in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At times, Thompson was interrupted by applause and comments from attendees. Tommy Thompson, a former governor of the state, was not at the event.

In a statement Monday from Tommy Thompson's communications director, the former governor said he talked about the remark with his son.

"The Governor has addressed this with his son, just like any father would do. Jason Thompson said something he should not have, and he apologizes," Lisa Boothe emailed said in a statement to CNN.

The comment comes as the latest public nod to the so-called birther controversy. Last year, Obama released his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii to quell speculation that he was not a U.S. citizen and may be constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. He has previously released a certification of live birth during the 2008 campaign. Both documents show that he was born in a Hawaii hospital on August 4, 1961. Contemporaneously published newspaper announcements also noted the birth in the Aloha State.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus was also in attendance at the event. Priebus has repeatedly shot down birther jokes in the past, referring to them as distractions for the party.

Thompson is running against Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in a highly competitive race. A CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac survey released last week showed Baldwin edged Thompson by two percentage points, a margin well within the sampling error.


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Senate • Tommy Thompson • Wisconsin
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F

    The republican party is made up of reality deniers, birthers, and bigots.

    October 15, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Roland

    So typical of the Tea/Republicans: disrespect for the President of the US fueled by arrogance and ignorance.

    October 15, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Mark

    He was probably saying what his father believes but does not say so in public. I've always wondered what republicans really think behind closed doors. Oh wait, we have already seen this... in Romney's 47% video.

    October 15, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. ptown

    That Stuff is so old and tired

    October 15, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Dear Tommy:

    Thank you for the Senate seat.

    Sincerely,

    Dems/Liberals Everywhere

    October 15, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. NameDon Gibbs

    Stop the Predujice 2012.

    October 15, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. CanadaONE

    GOP RACISM

    get off the continent

    you are a disgrace to North American values

    Come to Canada and we will put your in jail under our hate crime laws – just ome visit – we will be waiting for you

    October 15, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    And of course CNN fails to report on this part: the crowd's reaction to this blatantly racist and disrespectful statement.

    Laughs and applause? Safe assumption. I encourage everyone to make it unless CNN can prove me wrong.

    Stop carrying the GOP's water, CNN.

    October 15, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. kevin

    These "jokes" are getting old. Apologies do not change the fact they were said.Hey Tommy Thompson...your son is a window licker...! Sorry, I was joking.

    October 15, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Gary Inman

    People we all know that Obama was born in Kenya. We have a chance to return the White House to the American people.

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 15, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    I am past caring what anyone in the republican party says. IF minorities really want to be taken seriously in this country, they better come out BIG and vote in November. If reps. have their way, any progress we've made will be taken away and we'll probably never get them back. My vote is the most powerful tool against this type of behavior and I intend to use it.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 15, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. n

    Yes, the elephant has been seen entering the proverbial room for all to see. Racism has finally raised it's ugly head for all to see in the conservative party of obstruction, "no' and get the black guy from out of the while house and replace him with the no good lying sack of dinggleberrys of a weasel Romney until we can get a real republican candidate in the White House that really look and think like us.

    October 15, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Drew

    Like the old saying goes," The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree."

    October 15, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Babs

    This is blatant racism!

    October 15, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Babs

    I never hear anyone talking about Romney's Mexican-born father!!!

    October 15, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Barry

    Why apologize, he was saying what he really thinks and what he has been saying amongst his friends all along.

    October 15, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Mikey

    It is unbelievable that part of this article had to once again present the facts about the President's birth and the announcements in the paper. On what planet would one have to have been living the past 4 or 5 years not to know this? This is settled fact, with the exception of an unfortunately no-so-small contingent of irrational foolidiots on the far right. I guess the GOP can stir up the torch and pitchfork faction of their party with this disgueting rhetoric. It's a sad commentary on our society, or at least a portion of it.

    October 15, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. PaulCat

    His son is just repeating exactly what he hear in their household. Sooo "1900's". Grow up – republicans.

    October 15, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Lar5

    The GOP has officially become the the party of bigotry and hate, Apology not accepted!

    October 15, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. pkrbkr

    Disgraceful and disrespectful, and disgusting! Still another reason to NOT vote for Thompson! The Republican party is composed of bigots everywhere!

    October 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. patNY

    They say it and then give a half a s s ed apology. Whatever.

    October 15, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. gb0432

    racist pig..again demonstrating what this election really is all about...the color of our President's skin

    October 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. 1twinsfan

    Seen at a Romney campaign rally in Ohio - a "Keep the White House white" T-shirt. The GOP, putting the BIG in bigot.

    October 15, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. MrBeenThere

    They always say it and always back track it........ they know that it adds to the hate and miss-information.... but they count on it because some stupid person even if it's only one well believe it. But remember they always apologize afterwards that what counts....... so you can't hold any to them.

    October 15, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. Laverne

    I wish I knew why some white people were so intolerant of other people, it is something that has baffled me all my life.

    October 15, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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