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Verbal gaffes are something that hurt both sides of political contests. See: President Obama's "You didn't build that" comment or any number of things Vice President Joe Biden has said over the years. But lately it's been conservatives that have really stuck their foots in their mouths. And I'm not even including the latest buffoonery from Donald Trump. This week alone has shown three high profile examples:

  • Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock whose comment invoking religion in pregnancies from rape has netted him enough bad press that Todd Akin is probably sending him a thank you card.
  • Ann Coulter, the Nickleback of punditry (because millions read her but no one will admit to it), delivered another misstep when, after this week's debate, she called President Obama a "retard."
  • And, last but not least, former Alaska governor, VP candidate, and reality TV star Sarah Palin garnered scorn for using the racially insensitive phrase "shuck and jive" when referring to President Obama.

(No word on how Palin, whose son Trig has Down syndrome and has rallied against the use of the word "retard," feels about Coulter's comment.)

It was all a little much for our own Mary Mitchell, who weighed in with her most recent column and in the video above. Says Mitchell today:

African-Americans have heard so many white pundits use racially insensitive language to criticize the nation's first African-American President, and they have sucked it up.

After all, what first black anything didn't have to endure racist taunts.

But Palin used language that is not only linked to slavery and Jim Crow, but is associated with the kind of "clowning" educated black people frown upon.

Palin doesn't know anything about that.

Be sure to read all of Mitchell's column on the issue here.

Roeper: Presidential circus continues

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AP Photo/Richard Drew

Even as President Obama and Mitt Romney prep for arguably the most important, serious debate of their lives, the circus around them continues to swirl.

Staunch Republican and big-time Obama-basher Donald Trump says he has a big, big, BIG announcement about the president, and he'll "probably" make the announcement on Wednesday, and you can go "The Twitter" to get the news.

I can picture Trump now: "I have definitive proof Barack Obama was not born in the United States. All of these pictures come from a place called the Photoshop, so I know they're authentic."

Remember, this is the same Donald Trump who sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to uncover the "real truth" about Obama's birth, the same Donald Trump who wants to know the details of Obama's college transcripts, the same Donald Trump who promised he'd be a MAJOR part of the Republican Convention, the same Donald Trump who is a walking punch line but doesn't seem to realize it.

What could Trump possibly say on Wednesday that will actually have an impact on the election? Will he even make an announcement, or will he say he's decided to keep it under wraps "for the good of the country"?

I don't know--but I'll be watching, or at least following the Donald on "The Twitter."

And her name is G-L-O-R-I-A

Meanwhile, reports surfaced Monday speculating Gloria "Is this microphone on?" Allred is planning her own "October Surprise" about Romney.

What, he once almost came close to thinking about having a sip of "near beer"? He's caught on tape laughing in the background about a limerick that began with, "There was a young man from Nantucket"? He also strapped the family cat to a car? Those binders of women included the category of "Hot or Not"?

Say what you will about Romney, that's one candidate who doesn't seem like much of a candidate for scandal.

Trump and Allred. They can't stand each other, but wow, what a team. Why can't we get these two crazy kids together, maybe as a team on "The Amazing Race"?

-- Richard Roeper

Jason Thompson, the son of former Wisconsin Gov. - and current senate candidate - Tommy Thompson, is backpedaling Monday morning after saying President Obama should be sent packing back to Chicago. Or Kenya, even.

The statement came at a Republican meeting according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

"We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago - or Kenya," Jason Thompson, an attorney at Michael Best and Friedrich, said during a fall brunch hosted by the Kenosha County Republican Party.

Jason Thompson's comment about Obama prompted laughs from the crowd, with one woman jokingly adding, "We are taking donations for that Kenya trip."

On Monday, Tommy Thompson's camp addressed the kurfuffle:

"The Governor has addressed this with his son, just like any father would do," the campaign said in a statement. "Jason Thompson said something he should not have, and he apologizes."

birth.jpgThe Kansas Secretary of State is one of three high-level, elected Republicans looking at whether President Obama should be removed from the official state ballot.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kris Kobach is acting on a complaint filed by a Manhattan resident on "birther" concerns over the President's birth certificate.

"I don't think it's a frivolous objection," Kobach told the Capital-Journal's Tim Carpenter. "I do think the factual record could be supplemented."

The complaint is being reviewed by the State Objections Board, made up of Secretary of State Kobach - a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney - Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt. They postponed their vote, the paper reports, until Monday, because "they lacked sufficient evidence of President Barack Obama's birth records to decide whether to remove the Democratic nominee from the November ballot in Kansas."

Obama, who said his "Kansas roots run deep," has family history in the state. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and maternal grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, were all Kansans.

UPDATE, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012: Joe Montgomery, the Kansas birther who was pushing to have President Obama removed from the ballot over citizenship concerns, has dropped his complaint. Talking Points Memo has the details, including an email from Montgomery citing harassment and concern for his family's safety as the reasons for his change of heart:

"There has been a great deal of animosity and intimidation directed not only at me, but at people around me, who are both personal and professional associations," Montgomery wrote. "I'm don't wish to burden anyone with more of this negative reaction, so please immediatley [sic] withdraw any action on this objection."