Saying Mitt Was Merely Being Taken Out Of Context Is Being Too Kind.

You can tell it’s August, the low ebb in the yearly news cycle, when the press tends to push all sorts of ridiculous stories — because the spin on Mitt Romney’s comments yesterday is so wacky that saying that he was taken out of context is giving it way too much credit.

The spin that’s being put out there is that Mitt Romney equated his five sons working on his campaign with serving in the military, as if they were both equally worthy and patriotic endeavors.

For example, here’s lefty Johnathan Martin at the Politico’s twisted take on what Romney said,

Asked about his five sons’ lack of military service earlier today at a campaign stop in Iowa, Mitt Romney said his sons were showing their patriotism in other ways.

“One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president,” Romney said.

…The answer didn’t please the person who asked him the question at a town hall meeting, an anti-war activist with a sister who served in Iraq,

Said Rachel Griffiths: “He told me the way his son shows support for our military and our nation is to buy a Winnebago and ride across Iowa and help him get elected.”

Ouch.

As intense and exhausting as campaigns are, they’re not (as any of the Romney kids would presumably admit) quite the same as walking point through Baghdad in 120-degree heat. For Romney to even somewhat draw comparisons between the two is dangerous.”

However, when you look at the actual question and answer, Romney just did not say or even remotely imply that working on his campaign was the equivalent of “walking point through Baghdad.”

Here’s the actual Q&A:

Question:“Hi, my name’s Rachel Griffiths, thank you so much for being here and asking for our comments. And I appreciate your recognizing the Iraq War veteran. My question is how many of your five sons are currently serving in the U.S. military and if none of them are, how do they plan to support this War on Terrorism by enlisting in our U.S. military?”

Governor Romney:“Well, the good news is that we have a volunteer army and that’s the way we’re going to keep it. My sons are all adults and they’ve made their decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty. I respect their decision in that regard.

I also respect and value very highly those who make a decision to serve in the military. I think we ought to show an outpouring of support just as I suggested. A surge of support for those families and those individuals who are serving. My niece, for instance, just to tell you what a neighborhood can do and how touching it can be. My niece, Misha, living out West, her husband I think he got a call on a Tuesday. He’s in the National Guard. He got a call on a Tuesday that he was going to be called up and shipped overseas on a Thursday. And they just bought a home — they hadn’t landscaped it — but the rules in the neighborhood were that unless you got your home landscaped within a year of the time that you bought your home, they began fining you, because they didn’t want people having mud holes in front of their homes. And she was very worried and just before the year expired, she woke up one morning and looked out the window and all the neighbors were out there, rolling down sod, putting up trees, getting it all done.

It’s remarkable how we can show our support for our nation and one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected, because they think I’d be a great president. My son, Josh, bought the family Winnebago and has visited 99 counties, most of them with his three kids and his wife. And I respect that and respect all of those in the way they serve this great country.”

Now, I will grant you that working to get your father elected to political office isn’t exactly all that high up on my list of ways to show “support for our nation,” but I don’t think trying to get a candidate you believe in elected rates a zero on the patriotic “support for our nation” scale either. In fact, I would guess that most people who are working to get a candidate into office are doing so, at least in part, out of sense of civic duty and because they believe that candidate will help make this a better country.

So, the spin on this story and the number of people picking it up (it was at the top of Memorandum last night) is almost comical given the incredible stretch that has to be made to claim that there’s any “there there.”

Still, you’ve got lefties looking to stick it to Mitt, Republicans who like candidates other than Mitt looking for a chance to attack, and the unfortunate tendency that some conservatives have to assume that if lefties are making a big deal out something, there must be a little something to it. This has turned something that isn’t even a molehill into a — well, a molehill — at least. However, in actuality, this is a great example of how the Left can take just about anything a Republican says, butcher it, and then turn it into something controversial.

PS: When Chelsea Clinton and Cate Edwards enlist in the military and fight in the war John Edwards and Hillary Clinton support in Afghanistan, then I will start to pay attention to liberals who complain that Mitt’s kids aren’t serving.

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