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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Memo to Ted Yoho: Everything you say is being recorded



Freshman Florida Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville, handed oppo researchers a goldmine during a town hall, backing a “birther” bill targeting President Obama and saying a 10 percent Obamacare tax on indoor tanning is “racist.”

Though there are nuances in what he said, the headlines Monday are a reminder that anything lawmakers say these days is being recorded and will be used against them. Ask Mitt Romney.

The tea party town hall took place Saturday in Gainesville. According to a recording captured by the website Right Wing Watch, Yoho awkwardly tries to make a joke. He tells the crowd that he approached House Speaker John Boehner -- whose famously tan skin is the subject of much speculation --  and called the tax “racist.”

Yoho then says this: “I had an Indian doctor in our office the other day, very dark skin, with two non-dark skin people, and I asked this to him … ‘Have you ever been to a tanning booth?’ and he goes, ‘No, no need.’ So therefore it’s a racist tax and I thought I might need to get to a sun tanning booth so I can come out and say 'I’ve been disenfranchised because I got taxed because of the color of my skin.' As crazy as that sounds, that’s what the left does right. By God, if it works for them, it’ll work for us … .”

Yoho's spokeswoman said she was trying to reach him Monday, but added that he's used the tax as a "tongue-in-cheek" example of the unfairness in the health care law. (More on the tax here, courtesy of Snooki and PolitiFact.)

Yoho also tells the crowd he would back a bill by Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, to reopen widely debunked questions about Obama’s birth certificate. The crowd cheers. But Yoho also labels it a distraction, asking, “Is that really where we should be spending our time?” No, the crowd replies.

A website run by People For the American Way shopped the comments to reporters on Monday, earning Yoho unflattering headlines.

The source of the audio appears to come from a person who had a different take on Yoho’s response. "When the ‘birther’ issue came up by popular demand, Yoho backed away with the excuse that Obama's birth certificate amounted to a distraction to more pressing issues before Congress,” the person wrote on YouTube. “So it seems official that the GOP leadership has decided that an illegal president will be allowed to remain in office even after they allegedly worked so hard to limit Obama a one-term.”

[Last modified: Monday, August 5, 2013 9:44pm]


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