The mockery came during Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, on which she hosted a panel of entertainers commenting on photos of the year.
The selection included a picture of the Romney family, and Harris-Perry solemnly remarked: “Everybody loves a baby picture, and this was one that really a lot of people had emotions about this baby picture this year.”
“This is the Romney family,” she went on. “And, of course, there on Gov. Romney’s knee is his adopted grandson, who is an African-American, adopted African-American child, Kieran Romney.”
Panelist Pia Glenn then started singing in the background: “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” as other members guffawed.
“And that little baby, front and center, would be the one,” Glenn said.
“And isn’t he the most gorgeous?” Harris-Perry said. “My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the wedding between Kieran Romney and North West [daughter of reality star Kim Kardashian and singer Kanye West]. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”
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As panelists again burst into laughter, comedian Dean Obeidallah snarked: “I think this picture is great. It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person,” the Washington Times reported.
Howe hit back with his own snide observation of the panel.
“It’s funny because Romney is white and his grandson isn’t, which is obviously hilarious. Because as everyone knows, the races should not mix,” he wrote.
“He’s not a child adopted by loving parents prepared to provide him with a better life in keeping with the family’s values. Nope. He’s just a token. A punchline, not a person. But it’s funny, because Republicans are racist, see? So, it’s all fine!”
The panel’s comments drew strong criticism on Twitter and from MSNBC’s cable competitors.
Conservative commentator Ana Navarro said if the comments were made on Fox: “Jesse Jackson would be protesting and tied to a tree somewhere.”
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown also tweeted his disgust at the MSNBC panel, demanding an apology Monday night.
“MSNBC should apologize for this wildly inappropriate incident,” he wrote on his Twitter feed. “Viewers and the Romney family deserve better: http://tinyurl.com/prfon2w”
On Twitter on Monday night, Glenn defended herself against fierce criticism over the comments:
But criticism of Obeidallah was intense, with one tweet noting:
There was no immediate comment to CNN after it said it reached out to both Romney and MSNBC.
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By Cathy Burke