October 15th, 2012
02:41 PM ET
10 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. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    So, after Obama rallies to clean Romney's clock in the town hall tonight, there will be plenty of Republicans calling the President things like "arrogant" and "uppity." Count on it. After all, in the eyes of so many of the great unwashed and uneducated, Obama "is out to destroy this country" and "hates America." Oh, how I wish we could return to those good times in late 2008, when the housing and financial and auto industries were on the verge of collapse, when the cost of 2 unfunded wars had passed $1 trillion, when 50 million people had no health insurance, when were losing 700,000 jobs a month. please, Republicans, bring back those great times, now that Obama has ruined them.

    October 16, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Tony

    At this point, everyone knows that Obama was born in the U.S., but claimed to be from Kenya when at Columbia.

    October 16, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. demsrule

    Those type of comments are calculated. Basically, he is saying go back to Africa as if he has American Indian roots in this land. People like him are the ones who insight hate violence and have the audacity to wonder why it's happening. I would say, be very careful with the loose lip crap!

    October 16, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. California Gary

    Yup.......he's sorry. He's sorry it got recorded and then put out for public view.......not sorry he said it. Kind of like the 47% thing........

    October 16, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Joe

    Typical Republican strategy. Push the race buttons, then say, oops, it was just a joke and I'm sorry. Meanwhile, the hate message is out there and it can't be taken back.

    October 16, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Joseph B

    Last I heard, jokes were funny. This article should say Tommy Thompson apologizes for being a racist jerk. But no wait, he didn't apologize for that, he apologized for making you listen to what he really thinks.

    October 16, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Tim Maxwell

    There's a silent populace out there who have been watching what has been going on for 4 years. We have watched House proceedings as well as what has been done in the Senate. We have watched the bills the republican house members sent to the Senate, we recognize when a bill is "loaded" making it impossible to pass through the Senate. We heard Mitch McDonald make the famous statement on the floor of the Senate stating his party's No 1 priority is to make this man a "one term President". We have watched the "bipartisanship" the republicans so proudly say they extended to the other side. We have watched while Romney changes his policies according to which ever group he is speaking to.
    We are not as stupid and blind as the Republican/TeaParty think we are. We are smoldering and ready for the big day!
    We have watched and we remember!!!!

    October 16, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Lisa P

    So in other words Jason Thompson still hasn't apologized. A statement from his father's campaign is not an apology.

    October 16, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Unfortunatly, this is typical Republican "speak". No president has ever been treated with such disrespect as President Obama. I find it hard to understand why no Republican of authority has come forward and told them to just knock it off and have some respect, not only for your president, but for your country. It appears all the true Republican legislators, men of vision and love of country, have even been voted out of office by Tea Party mega-money or have simply resigned in disgust. Since the President has entered the White House, the Republican party has conducted themself in shameless behavior. That is why this former Republican has left the party and will be voting for the best and most qualified man for the presidency, Barack Obama.

    October 16, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Malory Archer


    At this point, everyone knows that Obama was born in the U.S., but claimed to be from Kenya when at Columbia.


    My daughters were both born in America, Florida in fact. However, they are military brats who spent the majority of lives outside the United States. If you ask them where they're from, they'll tell you they're from the last place they lived prior to their dad's retirement, and it wasn't within the United States.

    October 16, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. chatmandu002

    CNN and the MSM is so in the tank for Obama. When a democrat misspeaks all you hear is laughter, a yawn and then a free pass is given out. When a republican misspeaks, acknowledge their misspoken word and apologizes there is no forgiveness from the liberal/progressives. Another double standard from the liberal/progressive side.

    October 16, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Martha in CF

    APOLOGY UNACCEPTED........You GOPers are always spouting off at the mouth and you know darn good and well what you are saying...Enough already!!!!!!!!!!!! You think that just apologizing makes it right-wow

    October 16, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |

    "TRENDING: Tommy Thompson's son apologizes for 'birther' joke"
    The headline should read "TRENDING: Tommy Thompson's son apologizes for saying exactly what he meant to say, being a complete racist and people finding out about it"
    So many people are voting against Obama because he is not White.
    Don't get mad at African Americans who vote for Obama because he is Black.

    October 16, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Valerie

    It is statements like this that make me ashamed of the Republican party.

    October 16, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Truth be told...

    They are only sorry because people complained about the stupidity of it.

    October 16, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. D. Tree

    The kid didn't even apologize, his DADDY apologized for him!

    October 16, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Joi Gibson

    There are things when an apology just will not cut it – this is one of those things. And the fact that Rince was there and all he can say is it was "out of line." Step up to the plate Rince and make it known that this kind of talk will not be tolerated. If you cannot do that as Chairman of the RNC, then me thinks you secretly support this kind of talk.


    October 16, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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