Yesterday, we recapped how Rachel Maddow had made Mike Coffman a national laughingstock over recent birther comments and his bizarre interview with 9News' Kyle Clark, when he said he stood by his statement that he misspoke and he apologized five times in a row. Now, plenty of Maddow's MSNBC colleagues are joining the party, turning Coffman into a symbol of birtherism.
As we've reported: Toward the end of his remarks at a May 12 fundraiser in Elbert County, Coffman said, "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American." He subsequently issued an apology, saying, "I misspoke" -- a popular excuse among politicians.
In the days that followed, 9News' Clark pinned Coffman down outside of an event, during which the Congressman gave repeated variations on a written apology he'd previously provided to the station no matter what the reporter asked him. The results were so self-satirizing that Saturday Night Live would be better off simply running the video rather than reenacting it.
Coffman tried to mitigate the damage via a Denver Post essay in which he called the statement "boneheaded" and resisted additional temptations to suggest that Obama's philosophy isn't sufficiently American by his standards, as he'd hinted during the first "I'm sorry." But that didn't stop MSNBC from piling on. Immediately after Maddow's show, Martin Bashir, filling in for Lawrence O'Donnell on The Last Word, replayed the controversy with help from Clark and Coffman opponent Joe Miklosi. And yesterday, Coffman got it from multiple barrels on a political panel headed by Chuck Todd, plus separate lambastings by hosts Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz.
On the latter, however, one exchange suggested that the attack may be moving past Coffman. When Schultz asked his guest on the segment, The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel, if Coffman needed to make an on-air explanation of his remarks, perhaps to Clark, she argued that the person who really needs to repudiate such fringe rhetoric is Mitt Romney.
Does that mean Coffman has withstood the worst of the barrage? Today may tell the story. In the meantime, here are MSNBC clips featuring Schultz, Sharpton, Todd and Bashir, as well as the original (and very funny) Maddow segments.
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More from our Politics archive: "John Hickenlooper, Mike Coffman could see political fallout, pollster says."
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