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Obama pivots to joking about Seamus the dog during energy speech

<i>This post has been updated, as indicated below.</i>

OSKALOOSA, Iowa -- Nothing livens up a long road trip like a wisecrack about Seamus the dog.

Inspired perhaps by his eight hours of driving the Iowa countryside this week, President Obama managed to work Seamus into a discussion of wind energy tax credits here on Tuesday.

Seamus, of course, was Ann and Mitt Romney’s family dog, the one they claim used to love being strapped in his carrier to the top of the car during vacation travel.

The story has produced no end of ridicule from Democrats and inspired the organization of “Dogs for Obama.”

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Obama has stayed away from teasing Romney on the subject, but on Tuesday he couldn’t resist as he was interpreting the Romney critique of his energy policy for a farm crowd.

Romney a few months ago told an audience that he was hard-pressed to explain Obama’s energy policy except to say that he favors alternative forms of energy.

“We all like wind and solar,” Romney said, “but you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.”

Cue the Seamus joke.

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“He says you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it,” Obama said Tuesday. “Now I don’t know if he’s actually tried that. I know he’s had other things on his car.”

Then the pivot back to policy.

“If he wants to learn something about wind,” Obama said, “all he’s got to do is pay attention to what you’ve been doing here in Iowa.”

OK, maybe you had to be there. Or maybe you had to be there as a resident of Iowa, home to a growing wind industry that currently supports 7,000 jobs.

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Anyway, it got a laugh.

The Romney campaign was not amused, though.

“After sanctimoniously complaining about making a ‘big election about small things,’ President Obama continues to embarrass himself and diminish his office with his un-presidential behavior,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams.

[For the Record, 1:09 p.m. PST Aug. 14: This post has been updated with the Romney campaign’s response to Obama.]

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christi.parsons@latimes.com


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