WASHINGTON — Among the more established and seasoned field of Republican operatives, there is a bit of concern that sideshow issues and partisan flamboyance could muddy a relatively generous 2012 electoral landscape. It’s why Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to resuscitate skepticism over President Obama’s birth certificate seems so out of place. At a time when the Texas Republican is trying to pitch his economic proposals, such as a flat tax, they believe he’s trampling on his own message and hurting the party’s image as well.
Sure enough, on Tuesday morning, one of the senior statesmen within the GOP, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, warned Perry and others to cut out the birther talk.
“Look, if this election is about Barack Obama’s policies and the results of those policies, Barack Obama is going to lose,” Barbour said after an appearance with the American Action Forum at the National Press Club. “Any other issue that gets injected to the campaign is not good for the Republicans. Republicans should want this election to be what American presidential elections have always been: a referendum on the incumbent’s record. Barack Obama cannot win a second term running on his record. Zero chance. So anybody who talks about anything else is off-subject.”
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