Tommy Thompson, the Republican candidate for Senate in Wisconsin, is doing damage control after his son was caught on camera saying “We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago — or Kenya.”
Jason Thompson, son of the former Wisconsin governor and Bush administration official, made the birther joke at a brunch hosted by the Kenosha County Republican Party on Sunday.
The quip was met with laughter from the audience, and one woman chimed in, “We are taking donations for that Kenya trip.”
After the younger Thompson’s comments went public, Tommy Thompson’s campaign released a statement saying that “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.”
Although he apparently needed a paternal lecture to remind him not to bring up racist conspiracy theories on the campaign trail, the 38-year-old is no political neophyte. Jason Thompson has been an active and highly visible campaign surrogate for his father, and he has professional ties to the Wisconsin government through his employment as an attorney for the Milwaukee law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Michael Best has defended Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial collective bargaining bill and represented him in his John Doe investigation, as well as helping multiple Republican state senators fight their recall elections last year. The firm’s involvement with local politicians is so deep that the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a watchdog group that tracks money in politics, told the Wisconsin State-Journal that “They have essentially become the in-house counsel for the Republican Party.”
This is not the first damaging video to shake up Tommy Thompson’s campaign; three weeks ago, video surfaced of Thompson asking “Who better than me, who’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?” The candid comments have helped propel Thompson’s opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, into the lead in most polling of the race.