NEW ORLEANS, La.--An actor impersonating President Obama delivered racially tinged jokes to a crowd of more than a thousand Republican activists here Saturday, taking aim at the incumbent president, the Republican presidential field and prominent politicians in both parties.
The actor, Reggie Brown, is a well-known Obama impersonator who has appeared on Fox News several times. Some jokes made in front of the Republican Leadership Conference Saturday drew big laughs, while others groaned at jokes that appeared over the line.
Brown said Obama's favorite month is February, Black History Month. "Michelle celebrates the whole month. I celebrate half of it," he said. "My mother loved a black man, and no, she was not a Kardashian," he added.
The Obama impersonator appeared on stage to the strains of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA." He made repeated references to the controversy over Obama's birth certificate and to his upbringing in Hawaii -- "or, as the Tea Partiers call it, Kenya."
Brown pulled few punches when taking aim at the GOP field either. He suggested front-runner Mitt Romney, a Mormon, had multiple wives. Tim Pawlenty's absence, Brown said, came because the former Minnesota governor was undergoing a medical procedure to remove his foot from his mouth, and one to implant a new spine. Newt Gingrich's "consultants are dropping faster than Anthony Weiner's pants in an AOL chat room," he said.
Meanwhile, CNN's John King gave Pawlenty the opportunity to take a swing at Romney's health care plan that was "softer than Barney Frank's backside," Brown joked.
An uneasy mixture of laughter and groans gave way to boos when Brown began insulting Republican candidates. When he began taking aim at Rep. Michele Bachmann, event organizers cut his microphone and brought up music; a Louisiana Republican Party official came on stage to escort him off, apparently well before Brown's set was complete.
The Louisiana Republican Party had hired Brown for a video in which he sits in a fake Oval Office pledging to serve as chairman of the GOP's voter registration drive. But hiring an Obama impersonator is dangerous, not least because of the racial element it brings.
"Wonder why many minorities have problems with GOP? Hiring Obama impersonator to tell 'black jokes' at SRLC, for starters," tweeted Doug Heye, a GOP strategist who served as the RNC's communications director during 2010. "Our own fault."
Don't Miss Today's Top Stories
Rick, Executive Director for Policy
Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."
Chuck, Graduate Student
The day's action in one quick read."
Stacy, Director of Communications
I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."
Richard, VP of Government Affairs
Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "
Michael, Executive Director