And they’re “meander[ing] freely across the flatlands of northwest Ohio—through bars and baseball fields, retirement homes and restaurants,” and onto the front page of the Washington Post (a place, I’d add, some of these rumors have been before). The rumors have now gathered “enough word-of-mouth credibility to harden into an alternative biography,” one that the Post summarizes as:

Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Could this “word-of-mouth” stuff be, as Kevin Drum suggests, “an antidote” to what McClatchy reports to be “a lack of money hobbl[ing] ‘Republican attack machine?’ ”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.