Romney in Commerce
5:28 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Romney makes gaffe -- after mocking Obama gaffes

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan appeared before a crowd of nearly 10,000 in Commerce, Michigan on Friday.

But an off-script comment garnered most of the media attention.

The rally was held at Long Family Orchard Farm and Cider Mill. 

A huge American flag was draped across from the barn with LONG imprinted on its side.  The event boasted all the paraphenalia of a major party campaign stop - blaring country music songs, canvas tents for the press, porta-potties, a big screen so the people way in the back could see what's going on.

In February, Mitt Romney made a much smaller campaign stop near here, when he was just one of several candidates. The response from that event's mostly Tea Party crowd was polite.

But now that he is the presumptive nominee, the crowds and enthusiasm have grown.

Romney criticized the President for the persistent high unemployment rate in the country and said he would champion small business and tap American energy to improve the economy.

He also brought up an infamous comment by Mr. Obama - "you didn't build that" - which the President made to emphasize the interdependence of small businesses, government, and community.

"I've gone across the country and I've met people who DID build their businesses," he told the crowd.  "I've met people who got promotions at work and they did earn that promotion themself."

 But then, an attempt to emphasize Mr. Romney's Michigan roots went awry.

"Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born in Harper Hospital," he reminded his audience.

"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate --  they know that this is the place that we were born and raised!"

The crowd cheered.

Democrats issued a slew of press releases within minutes, accusing Romney of aligning himself with the radical "birther" movement which questions the legitimacy of Mr. Obama's Hawaii birth certificate.

Romney campaign staff said it was just an off-the-cuff comment in an excited moment, and Mr. Romney in fact believes Mr. Obama was born in the U.S.

Here's a rundown of what we saw in the hours since the remark.

[View the story "News, new media, and the 'birth' of a 'joke'" on Storify]

Mitt Romney will leave Michigan for the Republican National Convention which kicks off next week in Tampa.

-Elaine Ezekiel contributed to this report