Part of getting elected is telling the people what they want to hear and politicians have long adjusted their message to the audience. Presidential candidates get a lot of media attention, and it’s hard for them to get away with saying different things in different places. At one time, candidates for local office speaking in out-of-the way places could pull it off. Now, everybody is equipped with a smart phone, including a video camera and a voice recorder, so that wherever a politician speaks, there’s a good chance it will be recorded.
Case in point: Mike Coffman, Republican congressional candidate from Colorado. Coffman is getting lots of news coverage of remarks he made at a fundraiser:
[President Obama is] not an American. 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.
That statement was recorded by a Coffman supporter (presumably a birther) and posted online.
After the recording was widely reported, Coffman of course had to backpedal, saying:
I misspoke and I apologize. I have confidence in President Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States.
This comes on the heels of a string of similar instances in North Carolina and Florida. Practicing politics is like making sausage – better not look too closely at the process. Modern technology makes it harder to keep the diners out of the kitchen.