If Barack Obama carries the key swing state of Ohio in November, it won’t be because he and his supporters know how to spell.

Today, at a Republican rally in Powell, Ohio, an airplane pulling a banner attempted to capitalize on Mitt Romney’s “joke” yesterday in Michigan about not needing to show his birth certificate. The Democrats have responded by accusing Romney of having joined the “birthers,” and the airplane banner continued that theme.

Unfortunately, the supporters who sponsored the banner – MoveOn.org, as reported by a Los Angeles Times reporter onsite – failed to do a spell-check before take-off.

“AMERICA IS BETTER THEN BIRTHERISM,” it read, incorrectly substituting “then” for “than”.

The rally was the first time Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have appeared together and the last public event before the pair head to Tampa for the GOP convention.

The blundered banner comes in the same week Obama and three supporters, acting as human letters, YMCA-style, misspelled “Ohio” as “Oiho”.

Spelling errors matter in American political campaigns. In June 1992 GOP vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle flubbed the spelling of “potato” at a New Jersey elementary school and was branded with his “potatoe” error from then on. In the November election that followed, George Bush Sr. and Quayle lost to Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

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