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. Peggy - TX

    Sue, in earlier comment stated “… regarding the information about Obama that was provided by this literary agency. 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.”


    Sue makes a ridiculous and unsupported statement about President Obama and uses it as support for a nonsensical argument to making it appear that the implies that something sinister is being suppressed that would make President Obama look bad.

    Sue continues with her barrage of unsubstantiated assaults on the Presidents character. Clearly, Sue, you are unable to articulate a sound argument based on merit rather your statements clearly express hate. What could feed your hate, Sue? Well one obvious answer that is consistent with every word you state in your many comments, is that SUE IS A RACIST. What else could motivate an American citizen to exhibit the low level of depravity as you, Sue, repeatidly demonstrate by your many made up lies and attempts to demonize the President of the United States?

    May 29, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Romney: Obama's 'going after me' .

    No Mitt , your a volinter , not a victim !

    Bullys get what they deserve !

    May 29, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Patriot Awesome

    It's not too late Republicans. You can still nominate Ron Paul. Say what you want about his ideas, but he at least has integrity.

    May 29, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. DaTruff

    Obama was born in Kenya.

    May 29, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    @ Jaycee

    LOL if Obama REALLY catered to the interest of the far left then...
    Gitmo would be CLOSED and it's not
    the Bush tax cuts would be history..and they are not
    he would have never beefed up troops in the Afghan war...and he DID
    Bush, Cheney, Rove et al would be tried for crimes or war crimes.....and they have NOT been
    and he would be going after Romney on his relgion..and of course he WON'T
    so when you're not getting info from Limbaugh and FoxNews you would know some of the things the left might be p/oed at the president about. Unlike Mitt who is kissing the ring of the far right to get to the WH.

    May 29, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. MaryM

    If spineless ronmey can Not stand up to birther trump, how in the ****** is romney going to stand up to the other world leaders.
    Birthers are just a hateful group of people that can not face the fact that they are racist.

    Obama 2012

    May 29, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. FLIndpendent

    "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."
    I think after 3 1/2 years of constant bashing of the President by the Repub/Tea Partiers he has every right to bash back now and play offense. He's not going to be swiftboated like Kerry was. He's playing Karl Rove's game and the Repubs don't like it. Obama ran a great campaign in '08 and he'll do the same this time. If you live in a swing state, Obama is running many positive, uplifting ads on his record and accomplishments and there have been many. For anyone to say he can't run on his record is total b.s. Romney is a horrible candidate and the more we learn of him we will see his deficiencies and how desperate he is to win.

    May 29, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. filthburger

    Birthers. lol.

    May 29, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. christine

    Two men run for President. One has white skin, one has brown. Neither has an American-born father. Yet we only demand to see an original copy of one of the men's birth certificate. But it's not racial or anything.......

    May 29, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Debbie

    People are crazy.....I just wish the white american people will be truthful and say, we are sorry but we are not ready to be led by a black person.....Not too sure why they are afraid to say it......We all know what it is!!! I wonder why white people don't need papers?

    May 29, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Bill

    He'll have to go lightly on this whole nonsense "birther" issue. Most folks put that in the wastebasket long ago but go figure. Birth control...family planning as opposed to abortion is also a topic that needs a light touch. There's people who actually believe they're going to hell if they use rubbers...even if they're married! He will have to build a logical egalitarian case to be elected.

    May 29, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Charlie

    And Trump's hair was born in China!

    May 29, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Laurence Ringo

    Wow,Mr.Romney.A bloviating buffoon on one side,and an amoral,pontificating serial adulterer on the other! What the what,dude? You wholesome,"white-bread"image is on its way to being dirtied beyond repair!

    May 29, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Niuhc

    A good and decent man sits in the White House -- Boy has he got you fooled!!!

    May 29, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. OPEN400

    You can sovle your current problems with your current level of thinking. It was millionares with thier puppet Congressmen that deregulated the banking industry,shipped the jobs and businesses abroad that destabilized the tax base that got the us into this mess.

    May 29, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. nilla

    I just awoke from a 3 month coma and was shocked to learn that the GOP now considers Mitt Romney a great choice for President? What happened?

    May 29, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    I dare the next news reporter who talks to Donald Trump or Mitt Romney to ask them to explain how President Obama got a Social Security Number and/or US passport if he was indeed born in Kenya to a mother who was a US citizen.

    If you reporters have any stones at all, you will do this; and after Trumpster or Mittens stumbles on their answer, you can then educate them to the FACT that if President Obama had been born in Kenya, he would have had to be a naturalized US citizen to get his SS number and US passport. And that this process leaves a paper trail, not the least of which is the naturalization papers signed by the US Secretary of State at the time of the naturalization. (I know this, because my naturalization papers were signed by then-Secretary Henry Kissinger.)

    Trumpster and Mittens: WHERE'S THE PAPER TRAIL?

    Follow-up to Trumpster: Where are your tax records?

    May 29, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. CueBallSTL

    Why should Romney address Trump's statements? Does he have to denounce every supporter who says anything that he doesn't agree with? He's already addressed it by saying he's sure Obama was born in Hawaii. Case closed.

    If anyone sticks to the demand that Romney speak on this matter, then Obama must also speak on the matter of Reverend Wright. Remember him, Obama's spiritual leader for most of his life, also known as Mr. "God DAMN America!!". Yeah, that guy.

    May 29, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Quercus42

    The birthers are merely racists who haven't got the courage to admit it. They are in disbelief that a black man is in the White House; and convinced that black Americans are mentally inferior. The birthers are a disgrace to all freedom loving intelligent Americans.

    May 29, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. elizabeth

    If Romney cannot stand up to Trump.....he cannot lead us in this "dangerous world". What sort of leader would stand with his wife, looking like a little kid wanting approval from the teacher, while Trump blatters on ......made me sick to my stomach. Obama is a leader....he does what he believes is right regardless of the fall-out...that is what leaders do. You may not like his decisions, but they are his and is does not back down in the face of criticism.

    May 29, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. Guest

    The only thing I want to know is why the Hawaii airline records are missing for the week of Obama's birth. and then there is the fact that he has closed his academic records-I can't imagine why. Most people are proud of their transcripts. Then there is his bio from his book that was "incorrect" until 2007. Nobody has good reasons for all the really troubling facts.

    May 29, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. christine


    People are crazy.....I just wish the white american people will be truthful and say, we are sorry but we are not ready to be led by a black person.....Not too sure why they are afraid to say it......We all know what it is!!! I wonder why white people don't need papers?

    Debbie, do you have any idea how many millions and millions of white people voted for Obama and will again this year? Are you truly that dense or just pretending?

    May 29, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. cigarman

    I am not a Birther on Obama, but I certainly need to see Romney`s and Rubio`s Birth Certificates.

    May 29, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. jpmichigan

    Not everything that comes out of the mouth of Obama and his campaign is true regarding Romney. Bankrupcy of a steel mill happened years after Romney left Bain, but does Obama acknowlege his mistake stating it was Romney's fault , NO! You take what you hear or read from either candidate with a gain of salt, don't let the bitter taste of falsehood by either candidate imjpare your judgement. Look at the facts that are true and judge for yourself. Ask yourself, "Are you better off then you were before Obama took over the White House? If the answer is no, then vote for the other guy".

    May 29, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Johnnie

    For Romney, he is dancing with the "devil" Trump. For Trump to be obsessed with birthing campaign, standing side by side with Romney is jealousy and resentment of being incapable to run in the nomination process. Trump is fake and pretender, always going for the cheap shots. At his age and background, he should spend more time doing acts of charitable courses for children affected by wars instead of divisive acts that goes nowhere, but of evil. Trump is childish and needs to grow up from his self ego, and instead at this Pentecostal period, read what the word of God is calling about being one nation, and one people to care for another, instead of spending wasteful time of President's birthing. Romney is timid to distance himself from this evil foolishness from Trump, because I expect Romney’s spiritual knowledge and obligation to run campaign with faith instead of being seduced to follow only money even if its source is foolishness and unjust.

    May 29, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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