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. Martha in CF

    Trump lies.....he needs attention is all this amounts to. If Romney gets elected, say good bye to the middle class. We will also be in up to our eyeballs in uncalled for wars..........Romney, if elected, would not be running this country. He would be bowing to the Trumps, Norquists, Roves etc. of the redumblican party. It would be a sad day in hell...............

    May 29, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. sassysticks53

    Mitt Robme is a con man, liar and coward.

    May 29, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. sassysticks53

    Romney – Coward and Liar

    May 29, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    hens are coming home to nest.
    half the GOP are going to feel like fools for believing in this stuff, the other half are going to be furious their party leadership lost an election due to rookie political mistakes.

    there's a reason why politicians distance themselves from the radical fringes of society. GOP is in a free fall, romney is a horrible candidate, he can't even take a stand on the birther movement, yet alone another country. Worst political campaign I can remember in a long, long time.

    May 29, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Niuhc

    @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.
    Ummm, that would apply to any politician, including your messiah obama. A perfect example is his stand on gay marriage.

    May 29, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Blue

    Mitt is the one that should be concerned about where his family was born. His father is a Mexican because he was born in Mexico. So, would that make Mitt a US citizen? I rest my case. You can stretch the truht whatever way you want. Leave this President along. He is a US citizen. If that is all that they have, they are a litle too short.

    May 29, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Lando

    I want to see their tax returns as they have promised to disclose...

    May 29, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. DNC-CNN

    Why would he? Everytime DNC outlet like CNN raise the issue, it reminds voters that Obama has not been forthcoming on what should be public information. Why has Obama been secretative about his birth information? Is it because he lied for 17 years through his PR firm in claiming that he was born in Kenya to sell books? Why won't he release his college transcripts? Is he hiding poor grades or is there other informtion on his transcript that does not match up with the narrative supported by DNC-CNN?

    May 29, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Johnnie

    The sad truth about this question of birthing is exposing how some of Americans are extremely ignorant of other cultures, and the baffling questions that reveal lack of limited knowledge that prompts very plausible questions such as this birthing even from some elite that proves money is not everything but knowledge is power. Most African cultures never take for granted their cultural connection especially if one becomes worldly renowned and this even transcends to African-Americans in America. The lack of African history as a teaching curriculum from the elementary schools to high schools except in the schools of higher learning; has created a huge ignorance and vacuum of our melting culture and rather reveals and questions sometimes our pledge of allegiance of one nation under God. As long as our first black President has links with Africa, Africans would feel very proud of their son and always receive him as one of their own simply because of their history. Some may see it as unlikely of what has happened, just like Jesse Jones winning the 100 yards dash at the Olympic Games before Hitler. President Obama is one of us and that’s what this week of PENTECOST, calls us all as ONE. His color, race and birth should rather empower and encourage our stride for one nation under God instead of being seduced by the demonic spirit of division. Obama never knew he would become President of this United States as a child except his creator God. He was hidden until revealed, if not may have been cut short. His creator allowed is emergence and history to challenge and reveal our hearts; and truly has revealed some hidden hearts and minds. Donald Trump and others are revealed.

    May 29, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. The Republican Side

    Is this site fair and balanced – oh I forgot it is cnn! Obama is not a great leader! He has done nothing he promised and is only in this to get relected again. I could give a crap where he was born – he is just a bad president on everything and it will take years for either a dem or rep to fix everything he has done. I am a democrat and I would not vote for this guy again! I would vote for Kermit the Frog before I would vote for this guy! People post comments out here that republicans lie – really!! This president will will say anything and do anything to get re-elected and it is time everyone wakes up. By the way CNN is in the tank for OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 29, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Niuhc

    Obama is a con man, liar and coward, a true product of the chicago organized crime machine.

    May 29, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Al-NY,NY


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

    please show me the newsreels where Obama is out actively campaigning with any of these people.........duh

    May 29, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. Hmm

    Maybe Mr. Barack " Hustlin' " Obama played his "birther-baiting" gamea little too long, before doing what a responsible public servant should do, produce the proof – , of course that is actually proof – heh, heh. (;-})

    May 29, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. mm

    When all else fails, the GOP nut jobs bring on the birther issue!

    May 29, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. rs

    Hey Guest-

    As to closed academic records: Ever hear of FERPA? Go ahead and Google it. Meanwhile what about Romney's academic records..... or yours?

    May 29, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Linda

    If Romney belives Obama was born in America then he needs to stand up and defend it.....if he can't stand up and defend his own beliefs then he will not have the courage to stand up to Russia, China, Iran or any other country, he will not be able to stand up against Al Quida......when you see who is supporting Romney....... the Rich and Powerful then you can see the writing on the wall as to who he will protect and defend if he is President and that will be the RICH and Powerful....goodbye Poor and Middle Class.....

    May 29, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. marctheduck

    Funny how this is reported. Trump isn't exactly a birther. He is asking to see the birth certificate. At this point Obama's reluctance to show it (or his grades from Harvard) is the real story. Why won't he? I'd like to see these now, too, just because he has some problem with showing them. We know less about Obama's history than any other president in history. He authored no legislation as a state senator in Illinois, and no legislation during his brief stint as a US senator. We know he was a community organizer. But what did he do? What are his accomplishments? Nobody knows. And the left stream media doesn't want to know apparently. We knew all about Bush's antics in college and the Air National Guard. Dan Rather even lost his job while misreporting on that. But Obama's life is one big secret and, apparently, Romney's bullying is the only thing of interest to the media. Kinda suxx.

    May 29, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. MillieBea

    Considering all of the hits Romney takes about his religion being a cult- you would think that he had a different prospective.

    May 29, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. marctheduck

    We know Romney was a bully. And that George Bush was a party animal. But Obama's history is strictly off limits in the mainstream press. Why is it such a big thing that he can't show his birth certificate and put an end to it? That has become the story now. And why not share his grades at Harvard? We know Bush had mostly C's. What did Obama do as a community organizer? Nobody knows? He hung out with Bill Ayers and Rev. J. Wright, but talking about that is off limits and crass. Obama is one big secret. If anyone does know anything about his past please post it here.

    May 29, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Stillarose

    What I find most interesting about all of this is if there were not any truth in the matter why is the Obama team (media included) so anxious to denounce anyone who still has questions about where Obama was born. Since Obama stated in his own book that he was born in Kenya and his grandmother stated it as well, it is only reasonable that there should be doubts as to where he was born. The Obama team is acting like it has something to hide even if it doesn't. If I was really born in the USA and there were those who believed I was born out of the country I would not pay any attention to it because there would be no way of anybody being able to prove it to be other than what it was. If I had hidden the fact and forged a birth certificate then I would not want anyone to keep bringing it up. If Obama wants it to all go away then he should ignore it and not condemn anybody for believing something that is just a "conspiracy theory".

    May 29, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Niuhc

    "Since I've been president, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years." –Obama

    Not to absolve George W. Bush of all blame, but Democrats have controlled the purse strings since 2007. And technically, none of Obama's budgets has passed Congress, but if one had, deficits would have been even larger. He has presided over deficits more than three times the size of his predecessor's largest one, and he has kept in place the new spending floor at historic highs - as if the 2008 crisis were permanent. Unusual though it may be, he is responsible for most of FY2009 spending - when the trillion-dollar ball really got rolling with the "stimulus" and such - having signed nine of the 12 appropriations bills after taking office. And then there's ObamaCare, for which spending doesn't kick in until 2014.

    May 29, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Loopman

    I'm beginning to think that Romney and Trump are twin brothers from different mothers. The only thing Mitt is missing is the real bad combover. The faster he distances himself from this idiot the better his campaign is going to go. Not that I want him to win because he will be another "Little Bushy", a spoiled little rich kid that has no idea what the common working man is going through in this economy. And I can't sign off without commenting that this crappy economy is completely on the shoulders of "Little Bushy" and his administration. He and his excuse for a backbone, Dick Cheney, engineered the whole bail-out knowing full well that they had painted Obama into a corner that he couldn't get out of without having serious egg on his face. Heck, the Repubs spent most of our money on the Iraq war based on unsubstantiated rumors of WMDs. All so that Cheney's buddy's at Haliburton could make a killing providing security, based on a contract that they didn't even have to bid on. Their contract was accepted sight unseen with no other bids allowed. Is that crooked or what?

    May 29, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. T. A. Martin

    Why is this even news? According to US Law, a person is a naturalized citizen in the following cases:

    For persons born between December 24, 1952 and November 14, 1986, a person is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true (except if born out-of-wedlock):

    1.The person's parents were married at the time of birth
    2.One of the person's parents was a U.S. citizen when the person was born
    3.The citizen parent lived at least ten years in the United States before the child's birth;
    4.A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent's 14th birthday.

    For persons born out-of-wedlock (mother) if all the following apply:

    1.the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and
    2.the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person’s birth.

    There has never been a question of Obama's mother's status as a citizen; she mostly lived in Kansas and Seattle until her family moved to Hawaii in 1959. Therefore; no matter where Barak Obama was born, he would be a naturalized US citizen, thanks to his mother.

    May 29, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Marie MD

    The Kila bishop doesn't show leadership because his handlers are late in telling him how to react to the bad hair man and his continued insistence that the President is not an American citizen.
    I would like to ask the press and others who are sick and tires of this four year old BS to start asking the flip flopper about HIS 2011 TAXES AND HIS LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE.
    I am surprised his new found rich friend who is on his fourth wife (the flip flopper must be jealous) why his birth certificate ism't as important.

    May 29, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. mm

    MARCTHEDUCK: 911 was a conspiracy and the non-American, Muslim prez is going to take your guns, round you up and put you in FEMA camps!

    May 29, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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