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. Observer91

    I don't know why Romney is trying to avoid this issue because he needs to come out fully disaproving the birthers and their stupidity. The sad thing is, had Obama been white and had a white sounding name they wouldn't even be questioning his status.

    May 29, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Trump is AH....all BS. Bain capital is an idiot, he knew, entire USA knows....obama12.

    May 29, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. w l jones

    Mr Trump know what he is durning serving his country as well his investment by keeping Mr Romney out of real headline he know the smart money with Mr Obama. Bless.

    May 29, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. KasichFatCat

    Fox News = Pravda

    May 29, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Mark

    Yes Obama's father used his DeLorean time machine to travel forward and then back in time to plant the story in the paper about his son being born in Hawaii because he knew one day that he'd be running for President.

    May 29, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Why isn't Mitt Romney campaigning with Gary Busey ?
    Gary Busey may have been voted off Celebrity Apprentice , but that won't keep him from casting his ballot for Donald Trump.

    Romney / Trump
    The best hair , money can buy !

    May 29, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Sue

    There is an article in the Washington Times today wondering/asking why Obama has not released his college transcprits/records!! Obama will be vetted this time before anyone votes in November!! Hopefully, this question comes up during the debates as well......

    May 29, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Al

    If the certificate talk is such a large issue to the Obama's and their bid to keep living rent free for their family and the MOTHER in law at the cost of the tax payers then there might just be some truth to it being false, it's what Obama showed back in April 2011 is real then he should let it rest.

    But what if.........................

    May 29, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Lucky18

    This is what you'll get from Romney, alot of stupidity!

    May 29, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. r b

    Hey you all, don't forget to donate to Barack's campaign on his website. I'm donating the bank on him. Hell no, if were going to let anyone else screw up the mess that was left behind again.

    May 29, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Church

    I'm waiting for Romney to tackle Trump and cut of his(?) hair.

    May 29, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "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."

    That's because the economic meltdown WAS the fault of Bush and the GOBP cult. And private sector jobs are back and have offset the Bush/GOBP losses. It's the GOBP governors and state legislatures now who have caused public job losses. Do you even pay attention to anything besides Fakes News and hate radio?

    May 29, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. monnie11

    please romney, keep appearing with donald trump; the democrats are loving it

    May 29, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Alex

    I'm not a GOP supporter by any means, but part of me really wishes McCain was running again. My worry is that if Romney wins he won't be able to push back against the extremists.

    May 29, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. kakaraka

    The 1% club with private planes. Hum, wonder. These folks don't understand the struggle of the average american. Out of touch millionaires, billionaires.

    May 29, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "There is an article in the Washington Times today wondering/asking why Obama has not released his college transcprits/records!!"

    The WT is a rightwing propaganda rag. I'll support your demand though, if Rmoney agrees to release his transcripts, the MA public records he concealed, his tax returns for 10 years and his Bain job creation records. Deal?

    May 29, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. NeedNewGov

    Why no pushback? Because he really wants that job. How about we stop all these stupid articles until 2 weeks before the election.

    May 29, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. monnie11

    yes mitt, we love it when you appear with donald trump, that buffoon

    May 29, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. PaulMoATX

    "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

    Actually, you need 270 electoral votes, genius.

    May 29, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Kyle McCullough

    Donald needs to shut up and For Republicans you cause more problems on our plates as it is war is your answer to everything and we need to focus on THE UNITED STATES.

    May 29, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Obama will be vetted this time
    -------------------------------------------------
    What an idiot. You bring American stupidity to a new low.

    May 29, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. anoel2005

    in 1991 Barack Obama’s literary agent published a booklet that included a biography of the future President. The audience was “business colleagues” in the publishing industry and it was designed to promote Obama’s anticipated first book (later abandoned) called Journeys in Black and White. Here’s how it describes the author’s origins."

    "Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University ..."

    May 29, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Debby

    He didn't make the comment so why should have to say anything about it. He can't be responsible for what everyone says and does just like Obama isn't.

    May 29, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Thomas

    @Sue
    There is an article in the Washington Times today wondering/asking why Obama has not released his college transcprits/records!! Obama will be vetted this time before anyone votes in November!! Hopefully, this question comes up during the debates as well......

    Harvard .com
    Thats look at Romney's as well ? See if Mitt continued bullying through college.

    May 29, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. Newport Pagnell

    Why doesn't CNN interview the book publisher that kept writing he was born in Kenya?

    May 29, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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