As MSN Entertainment pointed out on Monday, their chuckles were directed at a black baby held on Romney’s knee, and the fact that everyone else in the card was white. Baby Kieran, adopted by Romney's son Ben and his wife Andelynne in September, is the former Massachusetts governor’s grandson.
You can watch the YouTube video here.
Set to the music of the Sesame Street song, panelist Pia Glenn crooned: “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn't the same… And that little baby, front and center, would be the one.”
Yes, Melissa Harris-Perry kept on about how cute the baby was, and yes, perhaps it was supposed to be okay because the host is African-American. But no, it wasn’t funny how Glenn pointed out that the all-white Mormon family would find among their clan a black baby.
The jokes kept coming:
Harris-Perry: “My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the marriage between Kieran Romney and North West. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”
Comedian Dean Obeidallah: “The photo really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party, the RNC. At the convention they find the one black person.”
Not everyone was laughing however, and the fact that the group would mock interracial adoption was felt to be in poor taste, at best.
Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted out:
“Disgusting: Harris-Perry should apologize immediately for mocking Romney's adopted grandchild.”
Obeidallah offered his apology in a statement to CNN:
“Occasionally my jokes have been known to 'cross the line' and I can assure you that in the future some of my jokes will do that again. My joke on MHP was not intended in any way to mock the Romney family or the baby they adopted. Rather it was a joke about the lack of racial diversity that we see at the Republican National Convention. I apologize to the Romney family and especially the baby if any of them were offended by that joke.”
Glenn took awhile to choke out an apology, with a series of tweets that went from defiance to contrition.
"Yes, I sang the song. There are many children in the pic & only 1 black child. I don't see that as mocking or attacking the baby."
"If I point out the 1 black person & you translate that as an attack ON HIM, who's racist? I don't personally see anything wrong with being black."
"Adoptive parents giving a child of ANY ethnicity a loving home, I apologize. I absolutely did not intend to harm you but it seems that I have."