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the national interest

Romney Surrogate Calls Obama Un-American Stoner [Updated]

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE- OCTOBER 24:  Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney  listens as former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu endorses him for President outside the Statehouse October 24, 2011 in Concord, New Hampshire. Romney also filed the paperwork necessary to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

John Sununu, former chief of staff to George H.W. Bush, unloaded a classic stream-of-consciousness cultural attack on President Obama that managed to weave together a string of buzzwords from conservative fever dreams:

He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn't be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S., he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago.

With this single sentence, Sununu wins the Republican Mad Libs contest for all time.

Lest you think Sununu was wandering off message here, he followed up in an official campaign conference call by charging "I wish this president would learn how to be an American."

The putative rubric for Sununu's diatribe is "job creation" — Obama doesn't understand jobs because he lived in Hawaii and Indonesia and used to smoke marijuana. It's as good a theory as any, I suppose.

There will be apologies and clarifications. I would heavily wager that this is no accident, though. The Romney campaign has been obsessed with proving to Republicans that it's tough, and Republicans have spent the last few days worrying about the campaign's lack of aggression. Sununu is just the guy for the job. He's actually despised by conservatives for having promoted David Souter to the Supreme Court and selling conservatives on his alleged ideological bona fides. At the same time, Sununu is also despised by liberals for being vicious and partisan — he was, for a time, the most controversial and hated member of the first Bush administration, until he was forced to resign due to an embarrassing scandal. Basically, if you're a respectable old-money Republican who needs somebody to do some dirty work to prove yourself to the base, Sununu is the man to call.

Update: Obama's campaign says "The Romney campaign has officially gone off the deep end."

Update II: Sununu went on CNN and said he chose his words poorly.

"Frankly I made a mistake," he said. "I shouldn’t have used those words. And I apologize for using those words, but I don’t apologize for the idea that this president has demonstrated that he does not understand how jobs are created in America."

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Photo: Darren McCollester/2011 Getty Images