Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry held a press conference this afternoon, following the unveiling of his ridiculous economic plan. A reporter started to ask the governor about his conspiracy theories involving President Obama’s birthplace. Perry was clearly annoyed.

YouTube video

For those who can’t watch videos online, the governor interrupted the reporter and said, “You know, I’ll cut you off right there. That is one of the biggest distractions that there is going. We need to be talking about jobs. Somebody wants to see my birth certificate, I’d be happy to show it to ’em. But the fact is, that is a distraction, and Americans really don’t care about that, if you want to know the truth of the matter. What Americans want to talk about is jobs. Who is going to lay out a plan, which will get America working again.”

What in the world is Perry complaining about? Last week, the governor was the one who started this whole line of discussion, telling a reporter on the record he questions the legitimacy of the president’s birth certificate. Then, in an interview that aired just this morning, Perry went even further, adding, It’s fun to poke at [Obama] a little bit and say ‘Hey, how about let’s see your grades and your birth certificate.’”

Perry went on to say that this is “a good issue to keep alive.”

Now Perry has no use for this issue — the one he wanted to “keep alive” less than a day ago? The one he thinks is “fun”?

“That is one of the biggest distractions that there is going.” And whose bright idea was it to bring up this distraction in the first place?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.