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Romney’s son jokes he wanted to ‘take a swing’ at Obama during debate

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) listens to U.S. President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.

Jim Young/Reuters

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's eldest son joked that he fought back an urge to hit Barack Obama when the President suggested his father hadn't been telling the truth during the debate earlier this week.

Asked for his reaction to Mr. Obama's comments, Tagg Romney chuckled before responding during an interview Wednesday.

"Well – jump out of your seat and you want to rush down the debate stage and take a swing at him," he told radio host Bill LuMaye of WPTF in North Carolina.

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"But you know you can't do that because well, of course, because there's a lot of Secret Service between you and him but also because this is the nature of the process. They're going to try to do everything they can do to try to make my dad into someone he's not. We signed up for it. We've got to kind of sit there and take our punches and then send them right back the other way."

The remarks are drawing criticism from Democratic supporters who argue they show a lack of respect for the President. They're also playing on Twitter, where some are contrasting them with the elder Mr. Romney's insinuation during the debate that single parents should be blamed for violence among youth.

Tagg Romney has recently taken a larger role in his father's campaign, including speaking at events. He also told Mr. LuMaye that his father gets "terrified" before debates, before clarifying: "Terrified's too strong a word. But he like anybody gets the butterflies a little bit and then once he's in it two or three minutes he's forgotten about the nervousness and he's amped up and ready to go."

Mr. Romney is not the only son of a Republican politician who has made ill-advised remarks in recent days.

The campaign of Senate candidate Tommy Thompson apologized on Monday for the former Wisconsin governor's son's remark that the election gives Republican voters the chance to send Mr. Obama back to Kenya.

"We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago – or Kenya," Jason Thompson, who does appearances for his father, told a Republican brunch on Sunday. The remarks were secretly videotaped and made public.

Last year, Mr. Obama released a detailed version of his birth certificate after so-called "birthers" mounted a campaign suggesting that he was born overseas and was therefore ineligible to be president under the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii to an American mother and Kenyan father.

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