WASHINGTON -- Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate Tommy Thompson has been taking some heat for his son's recent birther joke directed at President Barack Obama, but he has downplayed the incident and urged the media to move on. A newly released video, however, shows that it wasn't the first time Jason Thompson had made the joke.
According to video recorded at a "United In Freedom" rally in Fond Du Lac, Wis. on Oct. 6, Jason -- an attorney who has been an active campaigner for his father -- tells the audience, "We have an opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago."
The audience then cheers, and a few people yell out, "Back to Kenya!"
"That would even be better," chuckles Jason Thompson.
The video was recorded by a Democratic tracker and provided to The Huffington Post.
Jason Thompson again made the joke on Oct. 14 at a brunch hosted by the Kenosha Republican Party. A video of those remarks sparked the controversy this past week.
Tommy Thompson told reporters in Milwaukee on Tuesday that his son feels "terrible" about the whole incident, but stressed that he does not believe he needs to apologize publicly or to the president.
"He has already apologized, and that's enough," said Thompson, presumably meaning that his son had apologized directly to him.
"It was an offhanded remark that somebody mentioned in the audience," he added, according to WisPolitics. "If you look at the movie, he didn't say it. Somebody in the audience said it and he repeated it, and I've talked to him about it and he apologized and that's it."
Thompson's remarks were confusing on Tuesday, since in the Oct. 14 video, his son does clearly "say it." But perhaps Thompson was referring to the Oct 6. appearance, when Jason agrees with the audience members' suggestion.
Thompson's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Thompson and his opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), will be meeting for their second of three debates against each other on Thursday in Wausau, Wis.
According to a HuffPost Pollster average of the polls in the race, Baldwin currently has about a 4 percentage point lead over Thompson.
UPDATE: 2:10 p.m. -- Thompson spokeswoman Lisa Boothe responded to the controversy, saying, "Governor Thompson addressed his son's comments immediately upon them being brought to his attention, and Jason Thompson has publicly and personally apologized for his comments."
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