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. ToldUso

    Romney, Trump and Newt all together? What is this, the Three Stooges II?

    May 29, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  2. Boo

    Who in their right mind gives a damn what that megalomaniac Donald Trump thinks about ANYTHING?

    May 29, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  3. Jack

    Here is an example of what will happen if Romney is elected. He'll have to follow the extreme right-wing agenda. Not the moderates or conservatives but the EXTREME right. He can't stand up to them now how can he when he is in office? It will be impossible.

    May 29, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  4. Daddy tang

    The number is zero because thats what he means to most americans...

    May 29, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If Romney can't standup to Trump how can he standup for the American people against terrorist or any other enemy of the U.S. Our military men and women deserve a strong Commander in Chief like President Obama and not a whimp like Romney.

    May 29, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. SadlySensible

    Why is anyone even listening to this blather by this moron? What is Trump trying to get publicity for now, another book? Romney, aren't you rich enough to forgo having to deal with this person whose beliefs smear the Republican Party?

    May 29, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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"

    I wish Mitt Romney the best of luck in reaching that 50.1 goal%. Selling his soul to the highest bidder is nothing new to Mitt Romney. It has after all gotten him this far in promoting his self serving ambitions. There is nothing "good" about Donald Trump, TeamRomney. For America, or for politics. Living with himself once Mitt's got what he wants is another thing entirely. I wish Mitt Romney good luck there as well.

    May 29, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  8. VVVV

    Because this is a irrelevant story. Fox does the same thing with Obama. Why doesn't Obama denounce this? It just your usual partisan news.

    May 29, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Mass

    Thats funny, Im from Massachusetts and I dont support Romney ask around Massachusetts and I think 75% of the people here dont support him either. So, I dont see how he thinks hes 0.01 percent away from winning. Why dont they ask the voters in Massachusetts what they think? Most of the people here like Obama!!!

    May 29, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  10. alleygator

    Trump is serving as Romney's surrogate on the birther issue, giving him deniability.

    May 29, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. Sneezy

    Another deflection from the bad economy and the failureS of this presidency. What a farce!

    May 29, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @msbetz

    You said trump should run for president because he is a real American? Really? Trump is a real American? Trump's father was born in Nazi Germany and his mother was born in Scotland! Is there proof that Trump is a true American? And where is Trump's birth certificate?

    May 29, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. Chris MI

    When will we all learn, we must not Question Obama, there could be a drone in the sky with our name on it. If a Republican had any question about his nationality or any part of his life you people here would not shut up until it was played to death (i.e. a 15 y/o Romney in 1965), but because Obama is at least half black and a Democrate you people do not care about his past, his friends his pastor or anything else, that is what is going to destroy this country, blind faith. At Republicans are willing to question and challange our elected leaders, if Democrates are get Obama to release his transcripts from undergrad and high school, explain Ayres, tell us about Rev. Wright. He is not a saint and based on how he has lead (or not lead), maby now we can vet. this guy before its too late!

    May 29, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. Terry

    As a Republican, I cannot understand why the GOP has allowed the fanatical far right wing of our party to allow the Democrats the use of this "birther crap" once again. Donald Trump is a wacko, and Mitt Romney has made a huge mistake in not calling this entire matter to a "STOP". I continue to hope that the GOP is going to take control at the convention, otherwise we are doomed. We need a candidate who can win in November, and I currently believe that Romney is not the person who can beat Obama.

    May 29, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. American

    Where have Americans heard the "50.1%" before?

    No coincidence it was the Bush administration's divisive governing strategy = Romney now.

    May 29, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. Daniel/ Tennessee

    Joe wilson was 100 % correct, How can you tell when he is lying? His lips are moving ! Our leader thinks all the people are too stupid to know what is going on in our country,,ex. the only reasn our unemployment % is going down is because some genius in this admistration can tell how many million people have stopped looking for work this week.Our oil production is up because of what was done years ago , in spite of what his administration has done not because of their policies." ALL OF THE ABOVE " , energy options don't include coal. if you want to get millions in goverment backed loans and grants just bundle money for Obama.An open and transparent administration ? We don't need voter ID because there is no voter fraud. 88,000 people lost their jobs from Chrysler in the auto bailout. On and on. Give me a break !!!

    May 29, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. Billy, NYC

    He needs Trump to raise money for him. That's exactly what he always does – Money First, then More Money, then ALL the Money. He never puts the American people first. Look at Bain as an example.

    May 29, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. JPX

    Wow, I've never been a fan of Trump but all this "birther" nonsense really makes him seem like an idiot. I get it, Trump is trying to get Romney support by appealing to stupid people but I think it comes at a cost to his image.

    May 29, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. Grady

    50.1% includes all the "fringers" who, these days, dominate the republican party.
    Therefore we should look into possibly renaming the GOP.
    Let's call it the "X-Files" party.

    May 29, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. sqeptiq

    "If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas." Mitt should remember that.

    May 29, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. love344@tiscali.it

    the Elephant is still sitting.

    May 29, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. Mrs G

    Romney doesn't believe in gambling, smoking or drinking but spends his time in Las Vegas with Mr. Trump and who cares who Trump endorses? Trump can't even seem to find the right woman to spend his life with. Romney won't release his tax returns, puts his money in off-shore accounts, can't stand up to Trump and his ridiculous claims, wants more wars. He would make a LOUSY president.

    May 29, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Kevin O.

    I don't tend to care about the thoughts of a man who has filed multiple bankruptcies. Today is no different.

    May 29, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. American

    DC Johnny,
    It is actually the Romney campaign stoking the "birther" nonsense again from his son, to "birther" Trump, to Romney's "birther" co-chair in AZ, etc.

    May 29, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  25. ct

    if he can't stand up to his own party how could he be prez..what a chump

    May 29, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
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