Fox News, no stranger to race-baiting, is engaging in a little sleight of hand to make Mitt Romney's birther line vanish from the public debate.
Stumping in Michigan on the eve of the GOP convention, Romney noted that he was born in Michigan and added, "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate." The line drew howls of laughter from Sean Hannity and hearty approval from Rush Limbaugh.
But the birther line magically disappeared from the conversation at Fox, as Chris Wallace instead deflected attention to comments Paul Ryan made about hunting at the same event.
Wallace appeared on Fox & Friends Sunday to discuss the Republican convention and explain how the Romney campaign would need to draw a contrast with the Obama administration. Claiming that the Romney camp would "get a little tougher in their contrast," Wallace pointed to the Michigan campaign stop to highlight how Romney would try to "make that contrast pretty sharply, particularly for white, working-class voters." He explained:
"For instance, you saw Paul Ryan in Michigan on Friday talking again, reminding people of Obama's comment about gods and guns and people clinging to them, and he said, 'Well, I just want to say as a Catholic hunter, I plead guilty.' "
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Romney's birther "joke" was part of a harder line the campaign planned for the final months of the election, a push that also includes the false claim that President Obama has removed the work requirement from the federal welfare program.