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
2 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. the Situation

    Easy answer Mr. President; Romney has no backbone or a spine. He will let the far right push him on values against his own principal. If he stands up against Trump and the birther claims, he wll lose the base of the party and they won't come out to the polls in November, ensuring your re-election! Romney is an ultimate opportunist.

    May 29, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. DrScott622

    At 50.1%, can he really "rally" a nation behind him with that mentality? Unbelievable how Republicans think and how easily they can be persuaded!

    May 29, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Dee

    The Secret Service needs to shut Donald Trump's mouth for slandering the President of the US after proof was given of his birth certificate. This seemed to work for Ted Nugent you can't hear a peep out of him.

    Trump shouldn't even be involved with a Presidential candidate he is an ordinary citizen spewing hatred who says he has a lot of money but have filed for bankruptcy he is sure a perfect person for Romney to hang around with. What a match just add Limbaugh and Hannity and you will have a fine group.

    May 29, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Rob

    Ron Paul is still in the race.

    May 29, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. ladyfon

    So again, Romney can't be President of the United States because Donald Trump doesn't believe Obama is a US citizen, but it's OK for Obama to be president of the United States although Obama had a funderaiser at Bill Ayers' house (a known terrorist)?

    May 29, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Name. Randy

    Why wait two years to produce birth certificate?
    Did Obama's wife turn around and look back when they left Hollywood or was she afraid of turning into a pillar of salt.

    May 29, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    anyone notice that Mitt Romney has NO problem not only sharing a stage with a loon that claims the president is illegal but also with a man that in public called him a LIAR and so far I have not heard him retract that claim. When they say Mitt will do ANYTHING to get elected I think this is another example of that.

    May 29, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Amy

    First let me say that this whole birth certificate thing is crazy. I believed the president when he said he was born in Hawaii (as well as the birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper) and I'm willing to accept the provided birth certificate as legitimate. So to me this whole issue is moot.

    But for those who are not willing to accept the birth certificate – There is no doubt that the president's mother was born in the United States, therefore her child, regardless of where on the planet that child was born, would have been an American citizen at birth – a natural born citizen. (I don't believe the Supreme Court has ever ruled on a definition, so I'll go with a citizen at birth regardless of whether you are a citizen because you were born on U.S. soil (jus soli) or because a parent is a citizen (jus sanguine). So – case CLOSED. Let's move on.

    May 29, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Jeff

    Why Can't Obama campaign on the issues rather than make a problem out of Trump??? Romney has said many times that he believes Obama was born in the US, is he supposed to jump up and do it every time Obama wants him to? Obama needs to run on the issues and quit the negative campaign BS, I do not trust a person who has to run a hegative campaign and according a recent survey 73% of the people do not repond well to negative campaigns.

    May 29, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Namewillardbullock22@yahoo.com

    I am strong belived that his grandmother are alright word that he was birth in keynea but why obama trying fix her confession her wash brain

    May 29, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. YoursIsNoDisgrace

    Looks like Trump is a follower of Joseph Goebbels:
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    May 29, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Running on Cow-Pie-Diplomacy...

    Why doesn't Romney push back on Trumps' birther question..? 1) it is Trumps' question and 2) Romney is not campaigning for Obama...It seem that Obama's camaign is not too bright....the only thing Obama's campaign does well is becoming cow-pie-dirty....

    May 29, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Jeff

    Dee, a certificate of live birth is not a birth certificate, certificate of live birth is generallyy restricted to use for adoptions and immagrants.

    May 29, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Eva Patchkow

    For ladyfon: it's comments like yours and silly Fox shows that have given serious conservatives a bad name. Have you ever bothered to find out how Obama and Ayers met? It was on the board of directors of the foundation founded by Walter Anenberg - a leading Republican. The nonsense about some war protester 40 years ago and this birther crap is the kind of thing that gives conservatives a bad name and costs us votes. Fox, like Trump, is really in it for tv ratings and money and has snookered the gullible whe can't be bothered to research the facts. I cringe every time I read this kind of garbage, which seems designed to distract people from the real issues, voting records and proposals.

    May 29, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Doug in NYC

    Has anyone stopped to think? When did Trump start pushing the birther issue? About the time the raid to get BinLaden was starting to be planned. When did the Trump birther issue come to a head? A few days before BinLaden was killed. While everyone was focused on the long form birth certificate, Our President was quietly going about giving the go ahead for our fine men and women to go capture/kill BinLaden. Look over here in this hand, the long form birth certificate. Now wait for it, hey look what I found, BinLaden.

    Now the President needs Trumps service again, go back Romney, he has no spine and won't renounce the Birther issue. You can hurt him with this and help keep me in office.

    Is it any stretch of the imagination that the President is using and planning with Trump?

    How's that for an off the wall conspiracy theory?

    May 29, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Jaycee

    Let's not be so critical of Mitt Romney esp. since our dear president Mr. Obama has time and again catered to the interest of the far left.

    May 29, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Romney would stand along side Joe McCarthy if it meant getting votes .

    What happened to Americas Integrity ?

    May 29, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. WhereIsPalin

    "Give me a break.".............No! Give us a break, Trump you freak.

    May 29, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. James

    Romney should be compared to a windsock, which ever way the wind is blowing is the same way Romney's view are pionting.

    Donald Trump is a perfect example of if you are rich enough you can still be stupid and people will listen to you.

    May 29, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Jeff

    the fact is there are just too many Kenyan's that say Obama was born there. That creates quite a bit of doubt that his birth records are true, add that to the number sequence problem with his certificate of live birth and it really adds up to the fact that he was not born here. Set all that aside anyway, why in the world would any real American be voting for anyone named Barrack Hussien Obama after everything the muslims have done to the USA? If Obama was just an everyday citizen having to take flights in the US we all know that name would get investigated heavily before he was allowed on a plane.

    May 29, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. r blan

    Barack wasn't hiding anything. It's dshbags trying to make issues out of nothing because they don't have strong enough issue with him. By the way, what a dum topic to throw at him anyway. They have no strategy, no thinking things trough first, before they speak. A typical hillbilly gorilla strategy, go back to the sticks.

    May 29, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. MP in VA

    I don't agree with everything President Obama has done, and he has made mistakes to be true, but I would be CRAZY to want to hand over the reigns of government to Romney. If anyone thinks a Romney administration would be better than what we have now would be equally crazy. Good lord, that man is scary–if GOP supporters criticized Kerry for being a "flip-flopper" how can they stand to even listen to Romney? He's the Imelda Marcos of flip-flops. When the GOP owns up to its responsibility for our current economic condition, when the GOP puts up a candidate that is sincere and realistic, when the GOP gets back to true conservative roots, I will consider voting for Republicans again.

    May 29, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Walter

    Why doesn't Obama admit he's to blame for true (U-6) unemployment of nearly 15% his entire term. Oh yeah, because it's easier to blame Bush (who?).

    May 29, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Paul

    Jaycee, Obama has tried to cater to the right, but the sore losers kept saying no.

    May 29, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Paul

    Romney was born in Mexico.

    May 29, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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