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. B Shah

    Republican are getting the taste of their own medicine and can't handle it now. They have been negative about Obama from the day one. Now he is fighting back. Was Trump born in the US?

    May 29, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. The Choobs

    anoel2005: Please cite just one example of Obama writing himself in his books that he was born in Kenya. Funny thing is how nobody else who reads those books spots that admission. Have YOU read them? Citations and quotes please...or else, stop making stuff up and repeating lies please.

    May 29, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Excitizen

    Firstly: Obama has been the most hated, disrespected president in all time. Do you really seriously believe that if he wasn't born in the U.S. that some republican wouldn't have already found that out??? Seriously? Even Chump, with all his money that he's hidden from numerous bankruptcies, sent "his investigators" to Hawaii and lied on national TV. saying that you wouldn't believe the stuff he was finding out – yet had NOTHING! Truly frightening how ignorant and uneducated at least 50% of the U.S. is!!

    I think Romney and Chump make great partners – they are so much alike. Trump called Romney a liar and now campaigns for him. Chump claimed to have real "proof" that Obama was not born in the U.S. and that he would release his tax information; in the end he had no "proof" and did not release in tax information. Liars, liars, liars and these are the people that the right put their faith in and vote behind. Value voters?????? I don't know what kind of values you people stand for, but they sure have nothing to do with intelligence, integrity, decency or honesty. Just do whatever it takes to get what I want mentality. We had 8 years of that with Bush – enough is enough.

    May 29, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Mark

    Since the state of Hawaii is the one producing the birth certificate shouldn't birther's be charging the state of Hawaii with fraud ??? So much for state's rights ....

    May 29, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Tea Party

    Republicans lie about WMDs to kill millions. Democrats lie to save millions.

    May 29, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Tea Party

    A great leader is a great leader. Even if they are born on the moon. Why would you not want them to be your leader?

    May 29, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Chris

    Romney like many politicians engage unashamedly in distortions, duplicity, hypocrisy, and are disingenous. The sad commentary is that "we the people" do not hold them accountable. Use the social network to demand that politicians do the work we sent them to do, or we will withhold our vote...

    May 29, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Jean

    Steve..Using your logic, why should we vote for a man who thinks God lives on the star Kolob and is a "flesh and bone" man? Also there are many gods for the planets out there and he, as a Morman/ Latter day Saint, could eventually become a god too. Look it up if you dare, it's facinationg.

    Frankly I doubt you have read Obama's bio.. or much of anything else. Barack Obama was born to an American woman ..a natural born citizen from Kansas ..in Hawaii. That makes him as American as you or I. Cut the hate issue, it's unbecoming.

    May 29, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. D

    Boy, it sure would be nice if R-Money would show some spine/leadership and repudiate this garbage/nonsense. Oh wait! Then he'd be attacking his base that he has to keep courting to have any shot at winning! Drat it all!

    May 29, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. BobAD Iowa

    Rob-Me is to weak to stand up to the donald. That tells you how he would be against foreign leaders.

    May 29, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Mensaman

    This is great for Romney. He gets the publicity, but unlike McCain, he just says he disagrees with Trump but Trump has a right to his own opinion. No sense giving Obama an out on this silly subject. Mitt is focused on the econnomy.
    Like it or not, Trump has power and popularity. Why get involved in trivia?
    Despite the full court media push to support Obama, an aweful lot of people still have doubts about his origins. It has been made worse by the recent revelations of his book bio. It seems that Obama morphed into whatever background position would move him forward (no pun intended). If it made money to say he was born in Kenya – fine. If it helped to be born in Hawaii – fine.

    May 29, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. gill

    If you open Obama's "long form" birth certificate PDF file in Adobe Illustrator- you can immediately see it is fake- a background pattern was inserted with a "bleed" for printing- even if Obama was indeed born in Hawaii, this form/file HIS WHITEHOUSE sent out and references, does not prove that.

    May 29, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. mcskadittle

    The republicans know that they can state outright lies and their sheep will just eat it up and spit it back out on forums like these

    May 29, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. Jryan3045

    Willard can't take the heat

    May 29, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. fooloog

    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.
    ------------------------

    glad to know that he's a decent family man and not an Arab. Obviously, no Arabs are decent family men, to say nothing of being citizens.

    Kenya isn't even an Arab country....

    May 29, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. ellid

    I believe that Romney is now learning the truth of the statement "lie down with pigs, you'll smell like garbage."

    May 29, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Jack

    Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like a genius !!

    May 29, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. scmom

    Thank you "Christine" two different men diffierent skin color and we need to see the black man's birth certificate. We do need to see Mitt's certificate.

    May 29, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. protank

    The Obama campaign launched its latest attack ad Tuesday, linking Mitt Romney to Donald Trump's "birther" comments and suggesting the presumptive Republican nominee is allowing "voices of extremism" to flourish in the party.

    Just what do you call the ravings of Louis farahkan, Van Jones, Al Sharpton, George Soros/ Hmmmmmm

    May 29, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. stewart

    mitt stand up for something PLEASE, not going to happen

    May 29, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. CalmerVoice

    One good doctor said it's so easy to operate on libs: they have no brain, no heart, no spine, no guts, no balls. Just read any of their posts.

    May 29, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Thor4

    Romney has not got the "guts" to hit back at Trump. People who are "bullies" are usually "cowards" and this sums up Romney. Trump is a "frog full of wind" and is not a credit to the party he represents.

    May 29, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Gerry Daley

    Having had the misfortune to live in Massachusetts during Romney's governorship, I know that anything he says – or doesn't say – is likely to change depending on which way the wind is blowing. His position will "evolve" based on the polls and nothing else...or which interest group he panders to. He has no convictions whatsoever.

    May 29, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. hingie68

    Well well, look at the pathetic comments from the libs on the lib news channel. Lol. You libs / democrats are pathetic and your loser in chief is without a doubt the worst empty suit president of all time and I could care less what you have to say about it.

    May 29, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. God bless the Tea Party

    Republicans lie about WMDs to kill millions. Democrats lie to save millions. And the Tea Party does not know the difference between truth and a lie.

    And of course the Tea Party supports both the Bush:
    1. George WMD Bush
    2. George RML Bush (Read My Lips Bush)

    May 29, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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