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
3 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. ww

    Well at least someone gave birth to Obama. Can't say the same for Trump.

    May 29, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "How is this ANY different than Obama refusing to denounce the filth that came out of Bill Maher's mouth, that was directed toward innocent members of candidates families?"

    If you can't answer that yourself, perhaps you aren't smart enough to post here. Please provide examples of Maher making equivalent comments about Rmoney and that he is campaigning with the President. Oh wait, you can't.

    May 29, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. Larry L

    @Jeff

    "Why Can't Obama campaign on the issues rather than make a problem out of Trump??? "
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    The issue is the "birthers" and Trump pretending to be one of them. Negative campaigning? Hello? Can you look yourself in the eye and say that is not negative campaigning? Did you hear Ted "Mr. Crappy-Pants" Nugent"s comments? Was that negative?

    May 29, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. anoel2005

    Obama himself said in his own books that he was born in Kenya BUT we are suppose to believe that was a mistake that the Publisher made. LOL......if you believe that, I have some swamp land in Fla. I'd like to sell you.

    May 29, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Katie

    Those birthers will cling to their falsehoods because to believe otherwise would mean they would have to open their minds a little. They will never be persuaded to do that, so let's just move on and stop giving them any press. There are also people who believe the Earth is flat, that Elvis lives, and that Apollo landing on the moon was a Hollywood stunt.

    May 29, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Lucky Lucy

    If Romney were human, he would be the 2nd person to loose the presidency to President Obama...

    May 29, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Alan

    Why? Should Obama rebutt the ridiculous claims of som3 of his big donors claims that ALI3NS ARE TRYING TO CONTR0L THEIR M1NDS...(sc1entol0gy). Besides which, it'd be a lot easier to fight the birther crap if he hadn't put in his 0wn au7hors bi0 that he was b0rn in k3ny4. Should we take his w0rd for it that he was? Or sh0uld we take his w0rd for it that he wasn't? Either way, you can take his w0rd for it.

    May 29, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    "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."

    Dude, posting that in every item and under different names doesn't make your comment any less delusional. Europe was hammered by the same meltdown the Wall St. criminals and their GOBP enabler created. OWS has nothing to do with Europe's situation and we haven't bailed out anyone there. So pretty much your entire post was fictional.

    May 29, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Alan

    Authors bio? We can take his word for it that he was, or we can take his word for it that he wasn't. Nice that either way we can take his word for it. Suweet.

    May 29, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. cardog

    Not sure if Anonymous is asking about the President denouncing Bill Mahr and equating this to Trump's stupidity?
    Bill Mahr is a comedian, not a politician. Bill Mahr can and does say a lot of things a Mitt Romney or President Obama should not/cannot say. As for Donald Trump, everyone knows that he is a CLOWN, and he too can say whatever he wants.

    May 29, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Jo Jo

    Okay, does the GOP really want to rehash the "birther and Jeremiah Wright" story? Wow, if this does not clearly show how deperate republicans are and how they have absolutely nothing to offer but stale and fabricated lies, then I don't know what will. Romney has made a total mockery of the entire RNC. How do you elect a moderate when you tout conservatism? If elected, Romney will be even worst than Bush because he is bought and paid for by the 1%ers and this is where his loyaty lies. As for the Trump issue, if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

    May 29, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. bandgeek1

    @ Anonymous: Maher smears everyone regardless of political affiliation.

    Romney won't call Trump out on this birther foolishness because he wants the cash Trump can help him rake in. Pure and simple.

    May 29, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Lucky Lucy

    Who the Hell is Donald Trump, I don't care for Rap Music, so I never heard of him...

    May 29, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Mitt

    Hey everyone! Read about ME in this months SALT LAKE CITY MAGAZINE! I'm on the Cover! The story is called, "THE MYTH of MITT! Wow! Neat, huh!? I wouldn't even vote for me!

    May 29, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Terry

    Better yet, why doesn't Romney speak out against a church that allows a man to have multiple wives? What about the magic underwear Mitt?

    May 29, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. Jean

    All sensible ,educated people know 100% for sure that president Obama was born to an American woman from Kansas in Hawiian hospital. It has been proven over and over again. Saying anything else is sheer stupidity on anybodies part including....or especially.. Donald Trump. So do we assujme that Romney, by appearing with Donald Trump, is consorting with an irrational idiot only for the sake of the almighty buck or that Romney quietly supports Trump's ideas. Either way Romney looks bad. It would seem that Romney not only follows the almighty dollar no matter how low he has to stoop but will also SAY anything to win the ultra right vote, even when it contradicts what he has said before. What a weak man! I have no respect..

    May 29, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. scmom

    @Jeff
    "Why can't Obama campaign on the issues rather than make a problem out of Trump?? So you think that the President has a negative campaign and you just can't vote for someone running a negative campaign. Then you won't have anyone to vote for because you can't get anymore negative than the Romney campaign from the jumpstart especially during the primaries. You were not going to vote for President Obama anyway.

    May 29, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Happy

    I love how questioning where Obama was born makes you a rascist. To lump all birthers into that category makes you a bigot.
    I also could care less about where he was born, I rather have him on the ticket instead of Hillary because he is more beatable. I also think that being in Rev. Wright's church for all those years are more telling than anything. Also his church's association with Farrakahn and the new black panthers.
    Remeber Obama specifically said his grandmother was a typical white woman who would walk across the street from black youths. That sounds quite rascist to me.

    However the two questions that bother me the most are:
    1. How was he an Indonesian citizen and attended Indonesian schools? There is only one of two ways, his mom renounced his citizenship or he was not a US citizen. There was no way around this back then.
    2. Why does he have a Connecticut Social Secutiy Number? He never lived there.

    May 29, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. AM

    anoel2005: Please post the exact book, page, paragraph in which the president HIMSELF states he was born in Kenya, and it wasn't posted by someone who just doesn't like he's president.

    May 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. TonyK

    Oh wait, Anonymous, I can!

    for one thing Maher isn't contributing huge amounts to Obama's campaign. Maher wasn't a presidential candidate (and thus held to a higher standard of behavior), and Maher may have been offensive (Ipersonally didn't think so) but he didn't lie.

    Well, let's just stop there. We have different views about who should be posting to this site, I think.

    May 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Doug in NYC

    OMG, George Romney, Willards father, was born in Mexico. Using the same "birther" argument, Willard Mitt Romney holds duel citizenship, Willard Mitt Romney can't be President because his father is a Mexican Citizen. I DEMAND to see Willard Mitt Romney Long Form Birth Certificate. Or is Willard Mitt Romeny an anchor baby? You decide!

    May 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Leucadia Bob

    Scary Times – I have no optimistic outlook for this country

    May 29, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Mitt

    Mitt, Mitt, Mitt.... You pal around with the sleaziest of the sleaz!

    May 29, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. edpeters101

    Are the people in Obama's group total idiots? Mitt can't reject the Birthers, they the base of his supporters!

    May 29, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. CAL USA

    Clearly, anoel2005 did not read any of President Obama's books. I have read both of them, and there is absolutely no place in either one where he claims to have been born in Kenya, or any other foreign venue. No doubt my saying so will not convince the birthers, on the other hand. I'm reminded of the saying that the reason people wil believe a lie is because they want to.

    May 29, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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