Obama campaign: Why doesn't Romney push back against Trump ‘birther’ questions?
Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, arrives Tuesday in Las Vegas, where he will attend a fund-raiser hosted by Donald Trump. Trump's plane stands in the background.
May 29th, 2012
06:28 AM ET
3 years ago

Obama campaign: Why doesn't Romney push back against Trump ‘birther’ questions?

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's campaign is highlighting what they call Mitt Romney's "refusal" to condemn Donald Trump's continued highlighting of the "birther" conspiracy.

The release of a new video by the president's re-election team Tuesday morning comes a few hours after Romney appeared to downplay Trump's comments, and a few hours before Romney teams up with Trump at the business magnate and reality TV star's hotel in Las Vegas for a fundraiser for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Asked on his charter plane Monday night whether Trump's questioning of Obama's birthplace gave him pause, Romney said he was grateful for all his supporters.

"You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney said. "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

Romney has said in the past that he firmly believes Obama was born in Hawaii, and is thus constitutionally eligible to be president.

Trump, however, is decidedly less sure. The "Apprentice" host has been a vocal proponent of the "birther" conspiracy going back several years. And early last year, as Trump flirted with his own bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he claimed he had "investigators" looking into Obama's records in Hawaii. The president released the long-form version of his birth certificate in April 2011, showing he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Soon after it was released, Trump announced he would not make a bid for the GOP nomination.

The new video by the Obama campaign contrasts Romney with Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the last Republican presidential nominee. The video starts by saying "As Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party."

Then McCain is seen in clips from the 2008 presidential campaign pushing back against supporters’ claims that Obama wasn't an American. In one of the clips, a woman speaking to McCain at a campaign event says, "I have read about him, he's an Arab.” McCain shakes his head and responds "No ma’am, no ma’am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with."

The video then asks, "Why won't Mitt Romney do the same" and proceeds to highlight clips of Trump over the past year questioning whether the president was born in the United States.

Trump will join Romney and former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for a campaign fund-raiser in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening. Romney's campaign is also raffling a chance to have dinner with the celebrity businessman for supporters who donate $3 to the campaign.

"I want you: Dine with the Donald," a campaign flier proclaims, along with a drawing of Trump in the pose of Uncle Sam.

Trump once again raised questions about Obama's birthplace last week, including in an interview published Friday with The Daily Beast.

"Look, it's very simple," Trump said in the interview. "A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book."

The interview continued, "He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital."

Trump was referring to a literary agency that, in a promotional catalogue from the 1990s, listed Obama has having been born in Kenya. An employee of the agency recently acknowledged that it was her mistake.

But Trump isn't buying it.

"Now they're saying it was a mistake," he told the Daily Beast. "Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, 'Oh, I mean Hawaii.' Give me a break."

– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, Kevin Liptak, Paul Steinhauser and Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney likely to hit 'magic number' on Tuesday

Texas gears up for Lone Star primary

Romney doesn't back away from 'birther' Trump


Filed under: 2012 • Birthers • Donald Trump • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (515 Responses)
  1. Jules

    Because, as Romney said about Trump, "I need to get to 50.01% and I appreciate help wherever I can get it." Does this sound like a man of integrity? Ah – not so much. Hey Romney, that phone that's ringing – Devil on the line for you.

    May 29, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  2. Yonni

    Because Romeny has no core

    May 29, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  3. msbetz

    Is Trump ELIGIBLE? Where's the proof?

    May 29, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  4. msbetz

    Trump should run, he's a real American.

    May 29, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  5. Cfrench

    The "birther" movement is purely and decidedly racist. They hate Obama because of his skin color but since admitting that would be politically incorrect they instead direct theit bigotry toward Obama in the form of this phony birth certificate thing.

    May 29, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  6. albert

    Romney is a liar, Trump is a liar. Birds of a feather flock together. Makes you wonder what Romney is really after. Think of the further shame he is bringing upon the Mormon community. You Mormons know what the Bible says about liars (Satan is the father of the lie). Then again, perhaps the book of Mormon condones it? Why else would your church leaders not speak out against these lies?

    May 29, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  7. rika33

    Easy – he a "good" politician – dishonesty and corruption are second nature to the political class.

    May 29, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  8. love344@tiscali.it

    Trump is disgraceful!

    May 29, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  9. dreucalypt

    Romney has no courage, it's that simple.

    May 29, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  10. Kent

    He won't push back because it's a fundamental part of his campaign. Romney knows that there is a certain population of the GOP that will vote for him based on the "birther" question alone. Obama has released his birth certificate and many others have verified that the president was born in the US. The truth has already been revealed, now it's all about appealing to that certain demographic. No matter how much the economy bounces back etc..."He's not one of us".

    May 29, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  11. L. R. Long

    Romney flanked by Trump and Gingrich. Obama flanked by Bill and Hillary Clinton. hmm... I think I'll take Obama.

    May 29, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  12. Irskan

    repeat after me:

    "Vice-president Donald Trump"

    now tell me even THAT won't make you vote Dem...

    May 29, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  13. Sue

    Just like everything else that Obama tried to use to attack Romney, this will also backfire. Obama and his campaign are making more and more people aware of the recently discovered facts, regarding the information about Obama that was provided by this literary agency. For over 20 years, this literary agency stated that Obama was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. The literary agency did not change this until 2007, right before Obama decided to run for President. Obama hired and paid this literary agency to promote his book. Obama would have given the literary agency the information to print about himself. Either one of two things is true about this situation. One, Obama was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia like the literary agency stated. Or two, Obama lied in order to promote his book. Either scenario does not look good for Obama.

    May 29, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  14. T. A. Martin

    Why is this even news? According to US Law, a person is a naturalized citizen:

    For persons born out-of-wedlock (mother) if all the following apply:

    1.the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and
    2.the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person’s birth.

    There has never been a question of Obama's mother's status as a citizen; and she lived in Kansas (I believe) for most of her life. Therefore; no matter where Barak Obama was born, he would be a naturalized US citizen, thanks to his mother.

    May 29, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. Scott

    So..... Is Romney supposed to start actively campaigning for Obama?

    May 29, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  16. T. A. Martin

    Forgot this bit of US law:

    For persons born between December 24, 1952 and November 14, 1986, a person is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true (except if born out-of-wedlock)[8]:

    1.The person's parents were married at the time of birth
    2.One of the person's parents was a U.S. citizen when the person was born
    3.The citizen parent lived at least ten years in the United States before the child's birth;
    4.A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent's 14th birthday.

    May 29, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. h

    I can understand if you do not like the president or disagree with him but to do deny he is not American is just bizarre. As if his mother and father knew he wouldbe elected president and conspired to create a fake birth certificate. Are they denying his mother in an American also. I wpuld not vote for Romney anyway but allowing these nuts to hijack his campaign jist mekes him look weak.

    May 29, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  18. Dean

    Romney doesn't need to get involved. Why doesn't Obama bring forth evidence to make Trump (and all of the others) drop his charges?

    May 29, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  19. Wake up people

    Now why would Robmey say anything?? This man wants the Presidency so bad he can taste it. This is his M.O. He sits back and lets others fight his battles for him. First Anne and now Trump and Newt. I think Robmey knows President Obama was born in this country but he also knows the power of lies in the media. He knows plenty of people are stupid and racist and will believe anything Trump or Rush say and for that Robmey is eternally grateful. I cannot believe anyone would believe this vampire capitalist would be a good President.
    Wake up people for real.
    OBAMA 2012!

    May 29, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  20. Joan

    Romney is very sick man!!! He is sick because he has no center!!!

    May 29, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  21. DC Johnny

    Obama loves the issue of his birth certificate. That's why he didn't settle it long ago, and let it keep coming up over and over again, fueling the fire that divides us all even further. And now that it's quelled, here he is, stoking the fire again.

    Shocker that his campaign won't focus on energy failures, or unemployment figures, or budget crises.

    May 29, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Why not? Because Romney wants the money from Trump's upcoming "birther shower". That so called fund raiser. The typical conservative spin is that "I am not responsible for others actions.....blah" Yet, they fail to take responsibility for their own actions, which in Mitt Romney's case means attending a birther shower, better known as a Trump fund raiser.. It's called across the board denial.

    May 29, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  23. John

    Trump endorsement is the KISS OF DEATH

    May 29, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  24. works for me

    They both need to wipe their chins...

    May 29, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  25. American

    Time & again, Romney has shown no courage to stand against the wrongs in his camapign affiliations.

    Romney's "birther" nonsense is not presidential material. Period.

    May 29, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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