Mitt Romney continued his Magic Mystery Tour of the deepest South yesterday, leading into today’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. In a bold move, he appeared in front of one of the region’s most important microphones, particularly for the white men who dominate the GOP in these states: Paul Finebaum’s Alabama-based nationally syndicated sports radio show. He did okay initially, working in references to the Ole Miss and Alabama football programs (which not dissing their competitors) and maintaining his air of being an eager and self-deprecating student of southern culture. Then in a discussion of pro football (more particularly the fate of quarterback Peyton Manning), he did it again:

“I’m surprised to hear that Denver’s thinking about him,” Mr. Romney said. “I don’t want him in our neck of the woods, let’s put it that way.”

“I’ve got a lot of good friends, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, both owners are friends of mine,” he added. “But let’s keep him away from New England.”

This certainly brings back memories of similar comments he made about his friendship with NASCAR owners during his gaffe-filled runup to the Michigan primary last month.

A lot of observers think Mitt may well bring this whole insane nomination contest to a close tonight with upset wins in Alabama and Mississippi. I’m sure that is the fervant hope of whoever is held responsible in the campaign for keeping the man on message and away from gaffes.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.