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. Boomer in Mo

    Stillarose, President Obama did not write he was born in Kenya. A PR person at the book publisher wrote that and has since said she made a mistake. And I think both parties are in the hands of total nuts. I'm thinking of not voting for a president this year, and just stick to state and local candidates.

    May 29, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. Niuhc

    For the last three years, Americans have been force-fed a set of narratives that exonerate the current administration: The recession and deficit are all Bush's fault, the stimulus package needs time to work, greedy businesses are sitting on their billions rather than hiring new workers, and so on. As a final measure to absolve Barack Obama of responsibility for his policies, any poor economic news is considered "unexpected."

    May 29, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Lando

    Rudy Gonzales – true and evident......well said

    May 29, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Skinsfan66

    Obama himself claimed he was Kenian born for years. Check out his book and publisher info.

    May 29, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Bren

    Yep, this is great....Romney can say that he does not agree with it, and separate himself from the issue.....But, Trump and others can expose/keep the issue alive. Hmmmm....this is just like what Obama does with Bill Maher and others. After the information came out about the literary agency stating 17 years ago that Obama was born in Kenya (until 2007, when they changed it)-–a literary agency that Obama hired/paid--that wrote the information that Obama provided for his Bio.......There are now many eyes/ears that have been opened regarding these questions. This new, continuous exposure is going to hurt Obama, not Romney.

    May 29, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. FLIndpendent

    Have any of you birthers asked yourselves why, if Obama wasn't born here, did he use the exotic state of Hawaii as his birthplace instead of say, Illinois? Also, if he had something to hide, why on earth would he not have changed or eliminated his middle name before running for office?

    May 29, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. pprty

    Romney & Trump have no integrity. Romney needs 50%, so he'll go along with trash rather than stand up to Trump! If these guys weren't billionaires they would be on the bottom of the pay scale.

    May 29, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. CBR

    We are known by the company we keep. Mr. Trump seems to believe that he is the deal-maker for the Presidency. He is sure his support for Governor Romney will be the "trump" card. Mr. Romney must agree with this because he has bowed to Mr. Trump's wishes.
    Money rules.

    May 29, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. michael

    first of all it doesnt make a bit of difference he will get reelected and second so f..ing what. Ide vote for him even if he was born on the moon. he is doing a better job than any of these gop jokers could every hope to do. These idiots seem to think that the litmus test for intelligence and worthiness if being born in the usa when lots of people born here actually dont deserve to be here its just a lucky accident. they do not do their nation proud they just take up space.

    May 29, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. dabpro

    Again the Donold wants the headlines,nothing else.If he was so serious,he would look to the court with his proof.It comes down HEADLINES .

    May 29, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Jay

    Romney = spineless!!!

    May 29, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. michael

    romney, what a great person (cough cough)

    May 29, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Wake up people

    Don't you idiots get it??? If there was the tiniest bit of truth to this birther bs do you think President Obama would have even been elected?? Every single part of his life has been gone over with a fine tooth comb and even the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz knows this. This is a country where it was legal to own black slaves and sadly many in this country wish blacks still had no rights. So please believe if they could find any evidence of President Obama doing anything wrong, they would have run him out of town on a rail. As much amusement as I am getting from watching the GOP clowns, I am almost embarrassed for them being so desperate to make the White House white again.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 29, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. LL

    There is a birth certificate for Barrack Obama in Hawaii and it has been shown and the hospital and the state of Hawaii stand by it. Why is this the first president that this has been an issue? With saying that I'm curious if I had borne my children in Ireland or Germany or Spain – would they have been citizens of those countries or when I returned would they be American citizens? Just wondering. This can't be anything new or out of the ordinary.

    May 29, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Felicia 123

    " The Donald" needs to shut up. He is only interested in being in the
    spotlight, even if it makes him look like the idiot he is.

    May 29, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Ozzie

    As Ricky Santorum said, "Romney has no core."

    May 29, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. lobo joe

    And all this time I thought it was his hair style that made him a clown.

    May 29, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. phd

    I'm sooooo glad trump is a republican...ditto for rush...ship all the morons over to that side and let the people with brains get going on the job of repairing the 8 years of bush misadministration..

    May 29, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. RINO Bil

    I am beginning to wonder about Romney's seeming lack of character and his definite lack of leadership. He seems to want others to campaign and fight for him while he tries to keep himself clean.

    Newsflash, this strategy is not working. You have got to earn the presidency. Considering it all, Mitt is making Obama look attractive ... something I did not believe was possible.

    May 29, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Donald in CA

    This birther stuff just showns you how low the right wing can go. They have lost all shame. America knows better.

    May 29, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. mitt the dim wit

    Please MItt, Keep being seen with Trump. No really... he is making your ratings go sky high. No no no he doesn't sound crazy or anything... he is perfectly sane. LOL

    May 29, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. thomas

    Romney can't afford to upset the Donald. He relies on him to supply all the aluminum foil hats and cool aid.

    May 29, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. glorydays

    I don't care what the birthers say. It's like asking a slug its opinion.

    May 29, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. trish c.

    mitt romney has his own jerimiah wright.obama got slammed for jerimiah wright,lets see if romney recieves the same treatment.donald trump is the biggest joke walking on two leg's.any black that votes for mitt romney is a disgrace to all blacks.

    May 29, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. walter wood

    I would pay $3 to dine with a rat before having a meal with Trump. He is a pompous, self-important windbag of the Llimbaugh variety......

    May 29, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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