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. Dr. KnowItAll

    " Selling his soul to the highest bidder is nothing new to Mitt"
    At least the devil would get something of value. Obama gave his away and we have found out since it isn't worth a dollar.

    May 29, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. mms55

    and this is the man who say's he'll stand up too china and he can't stand up too limbaugh,trump or any of the lunatics in the regressive party.

    May 29, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. vatoloke

    If Willard Chameleon can't stand up to the likes of The Chump, or Rush, is he expected to stand up to the Russians, or the Chinese, if need be?

    May 29, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Steve

    Someone should explain how the election process works to Romney. Getting 50.1% of the popular vote does nothing (ask Al Gore). I think he needs to brush up on the rules of the electoral college.

    May 29, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. rs

    Mr. Roney doesn't "push back" because it is his party that is behind that insanity. For any rational American, Birtherism really ought to be the defining lens through which we should judge the action of Republicans. This hearty self-delusion, that somehow if they say it often enough, the poor wretches that actually believe the Birther line will buy it (or that Obama is Muslim, Communist, Socialist, etc...) one more time and vote for Romney instead.

    Republicans- love to play the game, lousy at leadership.

    May 29, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. What Now

    The scariest part of this article is Mr. Romneys comment regarding his need to get 50.1%. This comment should be a huge red flag to all. Basically, Mr. Romney is saying that he will do whatever it takes to get elected. This in itself is not surprising, however, the real problem continues to be that we do not know the real Romney. We really do not know what he truly believes. How can you vote for someone who takes no real stand on any issue and who changes his mind to suit his audience? Who is Mr. Romney?

    May 29, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. g

    like the romney,s said its his turn–its all about his standings on the mormon plant afterlive–to be king

    May 29, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. REPUBLICAN ARE THE GREATEST

    Mit Romney an Americam will defeat Barack Obama an Anti American.

    May 29, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Aunt Esther

    Obama's literary biography claimed from 1991 until 2007 that he was born in Kenya. But somehow the birthers are bad guys?

    May 29, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. Andrew

    The ONE good thing Romney has done in this campaign is to not respond to these ridiculous paranoid delusions. He did not respond to Trump because he knows Trump is a side show...Romney is doing exactly what he should do to Donald Trump...IGNORE HIM!

    May 29, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Well Well Mitt did the right thing because Romney was born in America but his father was born Mexico so the may Romney a Mexican with American decent. You mite want to ask how did Romney father get back in America back in the . Remember Romney family move to Mexico and some are still there What a country?????

    May 29, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. rs

    Joan-what you say *might* make sense if it had grounding in fact. That said- Mr. Romney did lead an attack on a gay teen. Mr. Obama however, wasn't born in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mars or any place other than Hawaii. You cannot compare fact with willful fiction. If you buy the birther line you really ought not be able to vote. You're clearly incapable of rational thought.

    May 29, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Jimva8

    I blame CNN. We all know where Trump stands, Romney has said he believes Obama was born in Hawaii, the birth cert has been viewed and verified. That makes it a non-story.
    YET: I've been watching CNN for the last 4 hours (it's piped into my office). It's the lead in every CNN segment.
    Even on CNN's website it's a non-story. It doesn't appear on the first page of the Most-viewed, and on the Politics page, it doesn't appear before the advertisements.
    CNN is pushing a story about which no one cares.

    May 29, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Larry L

    @Dean

    "Romney doesn't need to get involved. Why doesn't Obama bring forth evidence to make Trump (and all of the others) drop his charges?"
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    1. The birth certificates have been provided a thousand times. It's good enough for the FBI, the Governor of Hawaii (Republican), John McCain, and anybody with a brain.
    2. Copies of the birth announcement from the Honolulu paper have been recovered from hundreds of sources (archives, scrap-books, attics, etc.) showing the details of the birth – in Honolulu on the correct date.
    3. His mother was an American citizen – making him an American by law even if he was born on the moon!

    Birthers are a product of racism, ignorance, delusion, and dishonesty. It's what hate is all about.

    May 29, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. zaggs

    coughVANJONEScough

    I mean its not like Romney launched his campaign from a terrorists house or anything.

    May 29, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. Paul

    Will Donald Trump be in the Romney cabinet?

    May 29, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. zaggs

    Also, when has Obama stood up to Bill Maher? Guess that million dollar check buys alot of quiet.

    May 29, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. lies from the right but mostly hate

    They must be drinking out of the same glass trump and romney they are both on a intoxicated ego trip

    May 29, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. jimbo0117

    There it is – from the horses mouth. I want to win the election and will accept, say and do anything necessary to do so.

    May 29, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. zaggs

    Lets not forget, Obama question McCain's birth right as well. Condescendingly sponsoring a bill for McCain to be eligible to run for president.

    May 29, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. OnetermBama

    Well, this just means Romney is not like Obama who routinely throw his own supporter under the bus whenever he thinks is necessary.
    Obama will try anything to get re-elected, but the more he attacks, the more I am disgusted by him.

    May 29, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Wes Monroe

    Personally I don't think this issue has any relevance............Obama is gone in November either way.

    May 29, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. Kahuna

    After Trump's investigators came bak from Hawaii, Trump proclaimed "YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT WE FOUND"!!!

    We're still waiting for you to come forth with what you found.

    May 29, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. ObamaJoe

    Trump is a pure business man,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he will sell America for a good price ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,if it can make him money ,,,,,,,,,,,,

    May 29, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. ObamaJoe

    Romney doesn't back away from 'birther' Trump,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,It's good,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Where is Michael Bachmann ????????????????

    May 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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