Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has gone too far in suggesting in a sly way that President Barack Obama may not be passionate about America.
Obama's political actions and positioning are certainly fair game. It's fair, for instance, to attack Obama on out-of-control government spending. It's also perhaps fair to attack President Obama on flaws with his health care plan, and other targets including the nation's 9.1 unemployment rate.
But questioning if Obama, a Democrat, is passionate about America is a cheap shot. Yet that's what Perry did on Monday, just days after he officially entered the race for the Republican party's 2012 presidential nomination.
Perry, the Texas governor, was visiting the Iowa State Fair campaigning. Perry said in a talk that he would be the type of president who would be passionate about America.
"I think you want a president who is passionate about America -- that's in love with America," Perry said.
And we do.
And, nobody doubts that Perry is passionate about America.
But at a Republican party event later Monday night in Eastern Iowa, a reporter asked Perry if he was suggesting with his earlier remark that President Obama does not love America.
"You need to ask him," Perry responded. "I'm saying, you're a good reporter, go ask him."
Perry has his attributes, but attacking Obama in this manner is not becoming. Any person who subjects themself to the stress and scrutiny of running for and serving as President of the United States undoubtedly loves this country. Obama is no exception to that rule.
It's not possible.
Just because they come from different political ideologies doesn't mean one cares more for America than the other.
Perry's remarks at the Republican party event included sharp critique of Obama's jobs record, and that was a fair and reasonable attack. But suggesting that Obama may not be passionate about America smells of subtle hints at accusations that have followed the president, like the one that he wasn't born in this country, or the one that he's not really a Christian.
Obama is clearly an American. He's stated he's a Christian. And, he's clearly passionate about this country. Questions about his leadership style and ability are the ones political opponents should be posing.
Anything else is just a cheap shot that demeans all who love this country and also appreciate how we are at our best when we stand strong amid differences.