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. yamlor63

    He won't stand up to anyone because he is relying on other people to tell him what to do and what to say. He can't speak off the cuff or even think off the cuff so he says nothing to all the idiots. All you have to do is listen to him to know that he doesn't know what is going to come out of his mouth next unless he is reading from a script.

    May 29, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Silly Baggers!

    "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

    In other words beggers can't be choosers! Unfortunately Mitt alinging yourself with the birthers makes you a laughing stock.

    May 29, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Dennis1020

    George Will–not exactly a liberal wag–was spot-on this weekend when he referred to Donald Trump as a "bloviating ignaramus". Trump will cost Romney far more votes than he will garner by his association and endorsement.

    May 29, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Dave

    I have a suggestion for all the "Birthers" out there. Please remove yourself from the DNA pool. Thank you. The USA will be a better place without all the right-winged wacko's.

    May 29, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Joe The Plumber

    Romney wont stand up to Mr Vain Capital. Ever notice how Trump looks like Eddie Munister?

    May 29, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. fred37ify

    If the president wasn't hiding his past, there would be no issue !

    May 29, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |

    I say give the birther issue a rest. He has already been in office for three years and there are far more important issues on the table like religious freedom, the economy to name a few. When you go to these issues, Obama does not have a leg to stand on. Get to the issues and forget about all the side shows that Obama would like to focus on including what an opponent did or did not do when in high school. What does that have to do with anything today.

    May 29, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Bill55

    How could McCain run for president as a candidate born in Panama?
    How can Romney run for president as a candidate whose father is a Mexican National?
    May I see YOUR birth certificates PLEEEZE!

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

    why won't Hussein Obama release his SAT scores and college transcripts ? what's he hiding ?

    May 29, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Sniffit

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

    Other than items of national security, etc., I'm pretty sure the only things he's been hiding around the WH for th epast 3.5+ years are Easter eggs. Grow up.

    May 29, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "If the president wasn't hiding his past, there would be no issue !"

    He wrote two books about his past, moron.

    May 29, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Matt

    Probably because they are legit questions. I am opposed to the War in Chicago – See that – 39 shot, 10 dead – More shot and killed in Chicago than Afghanistan this past weekend. I call on Barry Soetoro to end the war in chicago first – clean up your backyard barry!!!!!!!

    May 29, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Eva Patchkow

    Can't figure out why Romney is campaigning with a guy who's lied about having proof that the President of the United States is illegitimately in office and then failed to produce the "proof" he promised he had. The only explanations I can come up with of Romney's endorsement of this charlatan: He's stupid (not likely). He's one of those birthers (not likely). Or he has no backbone or moral core and is so desperate for every vote and campaign dollar that he'll do anything to get the job his father couldn't get. Either way, it would seem he's not up to the job. Still disappointed that my party couldn't come up with a better candidate and had to settle for the guy who had enough money and enough rich friends to buy the election, and fear he'll embarrass conservatives when in office like he did in Massachusetts.

    May 29, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. mike

    This would be funny if it wasn't so sad and clearly an Obama misdirection play. With everything in the country that's wrong these days, the Obama campaign is slamming Romney on birther issues. Who freaking cares? Slam him on something that counts and quite trying to pull the wool over the peoples eyes on your horrible presidency.

    May 29, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. Laurie in Spokane

    Romney won't disavow what Trump the Chump, or anyone else says about the birth issue as he'll let other people do his dirty work, and, by not saying anything he gives the impression he agrees, even if he HAS verbally said somethng else. Flippy Floppy as usual.,

    May 29, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. DE

    Moromney doesn't push back because, like Clump, he is stupid.

    May 29, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. vatoloke

    What good would it do? The brainless and toothless birthers can't read the certificate that's out there anyway. Do they need the 'Copy for Dummies' version of it?

    May 29, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. MPeters

    Romney bad for associating with Trump. Obama's association with Rev. Wright is taboo. Hmmm. Methinks CNNs coverage is tilted.

    Nope....Let's make this a fair comparison, shall we? Romney's association with the Mormon Church is the CORRECT comparison to Obama's association with Rev. Wright. I believe that both of those associations are taboo and irrelevant to talks about the Presidency. Let's not discuss religion. The CORRECT Comparison to Trump for Obama would be someone who is saying that Romney isn't American because his father was born in Mexico, or he speaks French...or some other nutjob talking point.

    Rev. Wright is taboo because its religious-based. Trump is fair game because he's a freaking moron who is being a racist. Let's compare apples to apples and oranges and oranges, shall we. Kthx.

    May 29, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. david huebner

    Mitt & the Donald. Both not fit for public office.

    May 29, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Silly Baggers!

    You birthers are funny. You always convienently overlook one detail. His mother was an American citizen which automatically made him one. It doesn't matter where he was born. Get over it already and start trying to defeat him based on relevant things like his policy. When you resort to these things it says more about you than him.

    May 29, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. curtis: the bronx

    To entertian this is a matter of direspect to our country and the Office of the President of the United States....not President Obama personally. To believe that this country would allow someone to become president without a thorough back ground check is as stupid as Donald Trump's hair-du. And for Romney to look for support from this idiot is even stupider than Donald Trump's hair-du.

    May 29, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. YoursIsNoDisgrace

    Taken from a NYT article a year earlier The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.

    The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago's South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

    May 29, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. girish

    Mr. Romney is a joke, his laughter reveales cunningness/ dryness.He will be done in couple ofnational debates, due to lack of knowledge.He is well experienced in making money at the cost of people's tear

    May 29, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Mike, Albany

    Mit will say and do anything to get elected. He's a simpleton and a panderer, and that's not a model for the presidency. And by the way, he also needs a basic civics lesson. 50.1% will not win you the presidency. You need 270 electoral votes. In 2000, W lost the popular vote but, thank to our supreme court, won enough electoral votes to beat Gore.

    May 29, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. EatYouAlive

    "Religious Freedom".


    May 29, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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