One of Mitt Romney's top surrogates Tuesday morning said he wished President Obama "would learn how to be an American."
In a conference call with reporters, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu criticized President Obama's comments in Virginia on Friday when, talking about how the government builds infrastructure, the president said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that."
The remarks, Sununu charged, were "insulting to the hardworking entrepreneurs who really do create jobs, who create businesses, who take out a second mortgage and take the chance and hire some people and get the business going. These are the people who are the backbone of our economy and the president clearly demonstrated that he has absolute no idea how the American economy functions. The men and women across America who have worked hard to build their businesses from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world, the American way and I wish this president would learn how to be an American."
Sununu later in the call was asked about the comment, which seemed to play into the false meme that President Obama wasn't born in the U.S.
"What I thought I said, but I guess I didn't say, is the President has to learn the American formula for creating business," Sununu said. "The American formula for creating business is not have government creating business. The American formula for creating business-that I wish he would get comfortable with-is to create a climate in which entrepreneurs can thrive. If I didn't give all that detail, I apologize."
"The Romney campaign has officially gone off the deep end," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith in response to Sununu's comments. "The question is what else they'll pull to avoid answering serious questions about Romney's tenure at Bain Capital and investments in foreign tax havens and offshore accounts. This meltdown and over-the-top rhetoric won't make things better- it only calls attention to how desperate they are to change the conversation."
Sununu, a reliable attack dog for Romney who went after former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with considerable vitriol during the GOP primaries, attacked the president this morning on Fox News Channel, saying, "He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn't be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, and when he came to the U.S. worked as a community organizer - which is a socialized structure - and then got into politics in Chicago. There has been no experience in his life in which he's earned a private-sector paycheck that meant anything."