Via Mediaite, I love the “on camera” qualifier. You want to swap conspiracy theories with Ken Buck about Obama’s roots? Hey, go nuts. But for the love of god, not on camera.

Asked about the comments on Sunday at a political rally in Adams County, Buck said he wishes he had used different language and that he had not lumped all Tea Party members into one statement, but that he remains frustrated that some people are focusing on birth certificates rather than the country’s $13 trillion debt and its $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

“The language is inappropriate,” he told 9NEWS and The Post. “After 16 months on the campaign trail, I was tired and frustrated that I can’t get that message through that we are going to go off a cliff if we don’t start dealing with this debt.

“It is not the Tea Party movement on the whole. The Tea Party movement gets it. It’s the Constitution, it’s the debt, it’s the other issues, but there are a couple people that are frankly frustrating for all candidates. I mean if you talked to other candidates and they’re being honest with you, they’ll say I know that. Now, they may not have used my choice words, but they have the same feelings.”

Follow the link and you’ll see that Buck is actually the, er, self-styled tea-party candidate in the race. Consider this the flip side of the Angle post, in fact, insofar as it’s an example of someone who’s so eager to get rid of the rough edges that he’s willing to dump on a part of his core constituency when chatting with an aide. Which is not to say he’s wrong on the merits: Ed and I have written lots of posts on Birther nonsense and how it distracts from precisely the sort of serious arguments against The One that Buck identifies. But purely as a matter of retail politics, yeah, this’ll cost him some votes. Maybe they’re not votes he really wants — although if they aren’t, why the qualifier limiting his objections to when he’s on camera?

Irresistible Palin-themed exit question: You-know-who has spoken favorably before of Jane Norton, Buck’s GOP primary opponent, and has been criticized by Buck himself. She hasn’t endorsed — yet — but Norton’s holding out hope for an electoral deus ex machina (Palin ex machina?) to help her climb out of the polling hole she’s in. Buck also took a dig at Norton last week — in response to one of her ads in which she said, “You’d think he’d be man enough to [criticize me] himself” — by telling voters to vote for him “because I do not wear high heels.” Is it mama grizzly time?