Mitt Romney’s brief tribute to astronaut Neil Armstrong and the American space program in his acceptance speech seemed to be an obvious tribute to American exceptionalism. But when “American exceptionalism” isn’t in your vocabulary and the constant ringing of dog whistles has affected your hearing, things come across differently.

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz is certain that Romney’s claim that “when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American” was code language for … birtherism? Rachel Maddow, maintaining a straight face, agreed without question.

Chris Matthews wasn’t at the desk with Schultz and Maddow, but wherever he was, we’re sure he heard it too.

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