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
6 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. FB

    Get ready for US tax payers to bail out not only Greece but Spain and Portugal. Thanks liberal OWS flea baggin democrats for spending my tax dollars to save the people of Greece who now can continue retiring at 50 while Ill need to work to 70 now.

    May 29, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. kmac

    In Texas the Senator race in the republican party is really shows where the party is. One candidate is being accused of being of all the terrible things one can be "a moderate". The true Republicans need to kick the radical outs or seperate. The Demos can live with radicals in charge because the Rep have always been able to provide stabliity when radical change ideas sweep that party. One could expect change to come but at a slower acceptable rate. Now the radicals show no signs that they see limits to their actions. The Demos need to start making a deal of Mitt's possible duel citizenship in Mexico. What goes around comes around.

    May 29, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. AmazedinFL

    To the person who's comparing this to Bill Maher:. The obvious difference is that Obama isn't publicly affiliating with Bill Maher and appearing at fundraiserswith him–as Romney is with Trump. Come on, get real here.

    May 29, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Really

    Doug T

    So – is anyone going to ask Obama about his "Truthers"......?

    His Truthers? Please give us a source to show that Obama is in any way connected to or being endorsed by "truthers"
    You can't because there isn't any.

    May 29, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. stop the lying

    You said "Frankly everyone in congress needs to leave and we re-elect a whole new set as this congress is either too far left or too far right"
    Just wait till 2012, you're going to be shocked!

    May 29, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Robert

    Sorry Mitt, but all you had to do to lose my vote was take Trump's support.

    May 29, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Republican who supports President Obama

    Roomney is not presidential material. If he held one once of respect for the office he would have denounced those remarks and talk about the vetting process. If he can't face up to the truth no matter what party it favors he is not right for this country. End of Story.

    May 29, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Birthers are Brain Stems

    You can't argue with people whose minds are closed. Obama's birth certificate had been validated by countless officials in Hawaii, short form and long form. What do you want him to do, pick the doctor out of a line up?

    May 29, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Michael

    It seems every time someone says something about Obama that the media doesn't like Romney should be denouncing it. When they threatened to bring up the Rev Wright issue Romney tried to stay clear, is he suppose to tip toe on every issue that Obama's past has unsettled questions in the eyes of some that seem focused on discussing them? Why does Romney have to take positions on every topic related to Obama's past?

    I would simply ask why the media continues to give the stories life? I don't see the Obama administration taking a hard line on calling Romney a "Vampire" and "Crook" regarding their Bain Capital ads or saying that he"Rapes" companies. Seems like a double edge sword and so long as the Republicans are on the right side of getting cut its ok?

    May 29, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. IndeePendant

    @ARQueen – hmmmm... is Obama going around with Bill Maher?? Like Mittens with Trumpet!
    Think think think... oh well, you can't because words are put in your mouth by Hannity and Rush Dumbough

    May 29, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. The Left Wing

    News Flash:
    Romney confirms what we've known all along, he is a coward afraid to stand up for anything. If you fail to believe that then you just have to admit Romney is an idiot like Trump.

    May 29, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Joseph Smith

    Because he's a sleaze bag...any questions?

    May 29, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. nick from indy

    If obama was not born in the US, why not bring him up on charges? the gop has the house so they can put him on trial. If they have legitimate proof that he is not an american citizen, then impeach him. The reason they haven't is because they have zero proof to back up the claims. The prez was born in hawaii which IS a U.S. state. So he is a native born american. end of story.

    May 29, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Joseph Smith

    Mormons believe that their "god" (not the same God as Christians) was once a man...so birther conspiracies are easy for them to believe.

    May 29, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Sunnysmom

    Wow, one vulture capitalist backs and campaigns for another...big surprise.

    May 29, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. jerome

    If only the main stream media were as quick to investigate these allegations as they are to denounce them. If only minimum wage was $25.00 an hour, no American would be poor. :o)

    May 29, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Zeibodique


    Get ready for US tax payers to bail out not only Greece but Spain and Portugal. Thanks liberal OWS flea baggin democrats for spending my tax dollars to save the people of Greece who now can continue retiring at 50 while Ill need to work to 70 now."

    You mean like the Reich-Winged' POSsin' Republicans who started a war based on WMDs that never surfaced? You mean like "MIssion Accomplished" for a mission that was far from over? IS THAT WHAT YOU MEAN?

    May 29, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. OK

    Well said!

    May 29, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. g

    without religion and he,s a patriot in the conversation the repub,s nothing to run on just back to the bush crash and burn policies

    May 29, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Don

    It's just ridiculous that this is still an issue.
    The birthers have never been able to produce a single bit of evidence of their claims, while we have an actual birth certificate, plus scores of witnesses to his birth, childhood, etc. Sure, conspiracy theories are now becoming as part of Republican thinking as victimhood, but at some point you just admit you lost.
    His mother was American and his father was Kenyan. Born inside or outside of the United States he was a natural born citizen through his mother and there is nothing that anyone can do to change that. Get over it.

    May 29, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. vic

    Mitt can't afford to neglect those far right wing nuts..

    May 29, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. docame


    '"Is there anything logical which will ever be understood by libs? We are talking the future of our country.?"

    Where do you get off spouting your nonsense? You're the afterbirther who can't believe the evidence staring you in the face. You also mistakenly believe Rmoney is getting less favorable coverage than the President when the truth is just the opposite according to recent studies.'

    Thanks Anonymous. Another point about the "logical" GOP is that they are always taking their attributes and ascribing them to Democrats. I wonder why that is? They say we are illogical? PPPPuleasse!!

    May 29, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. phoenix86

    Meanwhile in other news, another 380,000 Americans lost their jobs last month in the ongoing Obama economic recovery.

    May 29, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. AllrightyThen

    Finally – there’s validity to the new theory that “certifiable” insanity increases per capita (US) are directly in proportion with the past (near) four years of a black presidency. Not to infringe onto the bona fide “mentally ill” US population – after all, they cannot control “their” illness.

    No – we are talking about the increase of “certifiable” insanity per capita within the extreme Right – aka the religious fanatics, the far right fringe and The Tea Party membership. It is driving them “insane” that we have a black president – and those numbers are increasing with the thought it could be such for another four years.

    The proof is in the pudding – just look at some of the posts we see on stories like this. It’s total lunacy. No facts, no valid sources – just pure” insanity” and insane jabbering. Guess it’s time to submit this theory for bona fide scientific study and review. But before “you” continue your “foaming” at the mouth – listen to yourselves and your insane arguments… it is what it is…

    May 29, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Romney is a man totally lacking in honor and character. He is not presidential material and do to making selfish and personal choices on all levels he would be a disastrous president. His quirky attachment to Trump is an example of his lack of any personal intellegence. He just TALKS a good game!!!!

    May 29, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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