Did Romney mean to call Osama Obama?

Obama says some will try to "scare people" by making him into a "foreign, odd, clearly black person."

Published October 25, 2007 11:18AM (EDT)

So did Mitt Romney stumble over his own tongue when he referred to Osama bin Laden as Barack Obama -- twice -- this week, or was he doing something more?

Obama says he can't be sure. "I think when Romney starts saying this stuff, sometimes it may be honest mistakes, sometimes not," Obama said during a campaign appearance in New Hampshire Wednesday.

In response to another question -- one about how he'd defend himself against attacks like the Swift boating of John Kerry -- Obama said that he has "no doubt there will be some of that -- trying to make me into this foreign, odd, clearly black person and to scare people." The only solution: "When people try to Swift boat you, you have to respond forcefully, you have to respond immediately and you have to respond truthfully."

One solution Obama declined to embrace for a campaign that hasn't yet taken him where he wants to be: Selecting Al Gore as his running mate. Obama said Wednesday that he'd like Gore to serve in a "senior" capacity in an Obama administration, but that a second tour as V.P. might be a "step down" for a man who has won both an Academy Award and a Nobel Peace Prize.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

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2008 Elections Al Gore Barack Obama Mitt Romney War Room