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. paulcat

    Where is Romney's birth certificate? Was he born in Mexico like his father and grandfather? I understand he still have relatives there. Let's see it MITT.

    May 29, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. docame


    "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."

    Wee bit confused are we, FB? What does FB stand for? I'd say it, but I'd get flagged for sure. Let me help set you straight. The Flea baggers are the Tea Baggers which are Republican. The Dems are the ones wearing the white hats in this movie, whilst the GOP slacks off behind a rock off in the distance.

    May 29, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Alfuc

    Romney/Trump 2012 and beyond!!! Truly a winning COMBINATION!

    May 29, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Jim

    Donald Trump, rich dork.

    May 29, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. allens

    nothing has changed, romneyy is still a danger to the majority of american citizens, yet they support him. they are not voting for the best president, they are voting for their party. pity their party is gone, now they are onlky the extremist party. the same ones that support craig huey for state office in ca.

    May 29, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. normajean @ verizon ,com

    As to the "birther' situation, Romney just "doesn't care".. It isn't affecting him...so he will just ignore Trumps "blathering "about it!!!!.

    May 29, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. dnick47

    Romney's is a liar and he accepts and endorses othe liars like Trump. How phoony can the Repubs get! They bewailed and moaned the ease of bankruptcy in the US saying people were taking advantage of it to get ahead; so, what do they do know when their VP choice has used the bankruptcy laws for that very purpose which they bewailed and bemoaned: sweep it under the rug, that's what they always do. Then they covet the evangenlical vote claim to represnt Christianity better then those beer loving, adulterous Democrats so what to they do, they support an anti-Christ. Figure?

    May 29, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Papadee

    Politics is a dirty game, but sometimes a leader in process needs to show signs or qualities that will prove to his followers that hes capable of leading them. these qualities are missing in Romney, he lacks good judgement and his thinking faculty is low. he has forgotten an adage that says< "show meyour friend and i will know who you are"

    May 29, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. ST

    Come on people don't be all that silly and please try to think. There was the father of the president (Baraka Obama Senior), who was sent by his gov. to come to USA to study. Where did he get the money to fly the pregnant lady to Kenya and himself and come back to USA with the baby. What was the use of getting a white lady deliver in Kenya and not in USA while he was depending on gov. It is totally silly and good thinkers outside USA, think we are all stupid!

    May 29, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Hemi1

    The Obama campaign must think they own ALL of the news media, so they can totally bury any item. What about the claims that the Adobe.pdf version of the Birth Certificate has many "flaws"? Irregardless, that whole birther issue is small potatoes and BS, compared to the outright lying about being a "transparent" government, and the "fast & Furious" fiasco, and the continued threatening of the SCOTUS over their fears of Obamacare rulings not in their favor. Thug Administration 101, not worthy of holding the office(s). Not to mention the outright grounds for impeachment with the Lybia military fiasco.

    May 29, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. OPEN400

    Response to FB:
    Try to get your facts straight. It was Hank Paulson, GOP treasurer, that engineered the American bailout of banks(TAARP), not the Democrats. It was during the Obama administration they had to follow the TAARP law and majority of the money was paid back with interest. The OWS movement has been opposed to the deregulation of the banks that led to this mess. The deregulation of the banks and tying our banks to Europe was the GOP idea of "free trade." After FDR's bank reforms during the Great Depression, we went almost 70 years without a bank failure – starting with the GOP Saving & Loan bailouts. Try to get your facts somewhere besides Fox News.

    May 29, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Eva Patchkow

    Trump claimed he had proof that the US President was illegitimately in office in what turned out to be nothing more than a self-promoting publicity stunt. How on earth can professional media outlets give him a platform? How can the presidential candidate for a major US party actually campaign with him and use him as a surrogate? Trump should be greeted everywhere he goes with signs or questions asking him to produce that "report" of his "investigation" that he promised to make public. Shame on Romney. Shame on media outlets that treat Trump as somehow credible and worthy of respect. And shame on Americans who, like sheep, reward Trump by actually watching that reality tv show he so shamelessly promotes by absolutely any means he can - even undermining the US with its allies and its enemies.

    May 29, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. SOS

    John McCain 697,767 51.21% 80 delegates
    Mike Huckabee 518,002 38.02% 16
    Ron Paul 66,360 4.87% 0
    Mitt Romney 27,264 2.00% 0

    Should be interesting.

    May 29, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. John

    You can't talk a racist out of their beliefs because they are speaking the truth in their minds. You can't talk a "birther" out of their beliefs because they will reject any evidence you give them as part of the conspiracy. Crazy is as crazy does. Trump is in this for notoriety and publicity because it has worked so far.

    May 29, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. NC Mom

    Mitt Romney once agian shows that he stands for nothing, and has no backbone. That's not a surprise since he has two positions for every topic and switches allengiance with the demographic of the audience.

    May 29, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. mm

    Romney is one weak guy – to let the likes of circus clown, Donald Trump, brand his campaign as the 'birther campaign'.

    Goes to show .... all that money, all that education, all that "supposed experience"..... and all Romney has to show for it is confusion about a sitting president's released birth certificate. Or, is this just a veiled argument for racism....Either way – Romney loses.

    May 29, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. TomInRochNY

    "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."

    "Allow me it elloborate," Romney continued. "I'll use anyone who will get me into the White House. It's the only way I can get the Bush tax cuts extended for me and my NASCAR buddies. The middle class won't even miss it after all the other burdens they've been put under since Reagan."

    May 29, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Donald Trump is a Ra@ist!
    Rudy Gulliani is a Ra@ist!

    Willard "Mitt" Romney was a Ra@ist!

    Most Republicans are Ra@ists!

    May 29, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. docame

    RD? Did you, like, get inside a wormhole and lose total track of time? Or were you abducted by aliens and so missed the whole last 3 + years? You are too late. Obama is in, has been in, and will be in again. Better go hurry up, now. The alien ship is getting ready to leave without you!

    May 29, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. blaqb0x

    I like Maher's suggestion. We need Romney to show his Marriage Certificate to prove he's married to only one woman.

    May 29, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. FLIndpendent

    "Even if the birther nonsense is true (which it clearly is not) Obama became American the day Bin Laden died."
    One of the best comments I've ever seen – thanks!

    May 29, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. 111Dave111

    Donalsd Trump is a Ra@ist!
    Rudy Guliani is a Ra@ist!

    Wilard "Mitt" Romney was a Ra@ist!

    Most Republicans are Ra@ists!

    May 29, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Interesting Point

    While I don't question the birth certificate provided by the State of Hawaii, and I never was a "birther". I do find it interesting that his grandmother said Kenya and then stated she made a mistake and then Dystel & Goderich says the same thing for years, now it's a mistake. Why? My comment is not to say that I believe he was born in Kenya, but rather to say that he used that line to sell his books and himself when it suited him. As soon as it didn't, he changed his story. Just as he has on many of the issues.

    May 29, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. fred37ify

    Hey Barrack ! If you weren't hiding something this wouldn't be an issue ! WHAT ARE YOU HIDING BARRACK ? ? ?

    May 29, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "who cares, $15 trillion in debt and record unemployment and this makes the news."

    Well duh. If CNN and the rest of the MSM just got down tot he nitty gritty and showed were that $15T actually comes from, it would wreck the GOP/Teatroll talking points and destroy the "horse race" the MSM is desperate to build this into by creating carefully constructed false equivalencies and failing to fact check claims made by either side, but particularly the batsh-t nonsense flowing from the right. The Asimov quote about "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge" was a 100% good call...and the primary promoter of that false equivalence is the MSM.

    May 29, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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