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. Andrew

    It is OK to question Romney's school actions, but not ANY of Obama's past ???? Liberals are the most worthless people.

    The birther issue had already been played out last year, over and over. His past was already questioned. Get your head out of the clouds.

    May 29, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. CalmerVoice

    Even if there is a slightest chance that the candidate is not legitimate, he needs to br removed from the list. Our president needs to have a clean record.

    May 29, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. GI Joe

    Romney's father was born in Mexico – maybe we should demand HIS long-form birth certificate and then say it is a bogus one. Maybe he should see how it looks on him.

    May 29, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Curt

    If Mitt had any parts, he would not accept any help from Trump. Shows you he will align himself with anybody he wants to be President so bad. Real poor judgement to be associated with Trump who is probably one of the most hated people in the country.

    May 29, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. escher7

    Even if the birther nonsense is true (which it clearly is not) Obama became American the day Bin Laden died.

    May 29, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Thomas

    Why doesn't Romney push back against Trump ‘birther’ questions?

    Because Mitt Romney is a bully ! And he will never stand up and do the right thing !

    May 29, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. ObamaJoe

    Romney says world 'not safe',,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    His wife says she is not rich,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Come on,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    the world is safer than 4 years ago,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and DOW Jone s is 12605.66 +150.83‎ (1.21%‎) today,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    May 29, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. alan

    Mitt isn't saying anything because after he loses in November he wants to appear on Celebrity Apprentice, On the show he will continue his losing tradition.

    May 29, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Eddie The Barber

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

    So Trump is "good" in Mitt's eyes. Mitt will do or say absolutely anything to get elected. Doesn't that worry you? I'm not sure if I ever saw a politician with as little conviction as this guy and you need a backbone and thick skin to be president of this country – that's a basic requirement – and this guy continiously demonstrates that he has neither. He'll say yes to anything and anyone in order for he and Ann to be crowned King and Queen of America. "It's Mitt's time" as Ann Romney explained. This man wants the job so very badly and if he gets it – we will be so very sorry – because he's already demonstrated that he's not fit for the posisition and we will all pay for it in the end.

    May 29, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Jennifer

    Remember how Obama was expected to totally repudiate the crazy things Rev Wright said? Guess there is no guilt by association with Romney.

    May 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Mr. D

    Again Romney will do ANYTHING to get elected no matter how deslicable it is; just like he said during the debates..." iam running for office for Pete's sake" not because it is illegal and wrong. So he wants 50.1% and it does not matter how he gets it. NO CORE , a spineless wimp!

    May 29, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. ObamaJoe

    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney told Fox News today that while his views on gay marriage are firm, he is fine with gay adoption. “If two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship, even want to adopt a child in my state, individuals of the same sex are able to adopt children,” he said. “In my view, that’s something which people have the right to do, but to call that marriage is, in my view, a departure from the real meaning of the word.”

    May 29, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. ObamaJoe

    Stu White, a close friend of Romney, told ABC News that the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign wants him to help push back on today’s Washington Post story about the candidate’s youth. He said he was “still debating” whether or not to get involved, because “It’s been a long time since we’ve been pals.” White says he was not present for the haircutting incident at the center of the piece.

    May 29, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Mr. D

    Again Romney will do ANYTHING to get elected no matter how despicable it is; just like he said during the debates..." iam running for office for Pete's sake" not because it is illegal and wrong. So he wants 50.1% and it does not matter how he gets it. NO CORE , a spineless wimp!

    May 29, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. aggie95

    That comment about being born on a US army base was directed towards John McCain.

    May 29, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. Beverly - NYC

    Why doesn't Romney push back against Trump? Because he needs thecash from the Vegas fund raiser, Mittens will jettison The Donald around convention time and depend on the short menories of the electorate. Mitt will regret this association in the end , The Donald loves the spotlight too much to be sent packing so easily he will be like gum under Romney's shoe.

    HeyDonald we are still waiting for your investigators findings in Hawaii.

    May 29, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. fletc3her

    If we were talking about school children not knowing where the President was born we'd all be wringing our hands about the failure of our education system. It is beyond embarrassing that adults don't even know these basic facts. And, simply astounding that Romney is actually campaigning with these clowns.

    May 29, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. David

    Do the birthers honestly think that the Government doesn't legitimately know where Obama was born? When I became a citizen, I had to produce dozens of documents in triplicate proving my nationality. C'mon now people.

    May 29, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. A W Messenger

    Taking an audacious and shocking angle against the constitutional eligibility mandate, Obama’s lawyer, Alexandra Hill, admitted that the image of Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery and made the absurd claim that, therefore, it cannot be used as evidence to confirm his lack of natural born citizenship status. Therefore, she argued, it is “irrelevant to his placement on the ballot”.

    May 29, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Mitt Romney is so desperate to be president that he will say anything, do anything and side with anybody, even Donald Trump, and that says a lot. Sad!!! A Romeny presidency would look like this: 1. We will be at war with Iran or Syria within six months. 2. Many necessary enviromental rules will be weakened or done away with to suit the "job creaters" and, of course, if the air and water are polluted, tough!! 3. More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. 4. The Republican attack on education will continue as monies for education are cut while monies for weapons and defence will grow. The Republican Party has purged most reasonable legislators and replaced them with Tea Partiers who have never held office, refuse to compromise and are willing to HARM the county to get their way. Remember we had our credit rating reduced! Sometimes I truly fear for our county.

    May 29, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. DC Observer

    Mitt Romnety does not work for the Obama campaign – so why should he spend 2 seconds workig for them? Crazy premise.

    The only folks keeping the birther issue alive is CNN and thge other liberal media - they believe talkknig about anything except the debt-deficit-jobs-economy-energy et al will be in Obama's best interests

    \And Obama loves the birther issue --

    Welcome to the crazy campaign season in America

    May 29, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. tony

    Elections have become a farce, perpetuated to make the American people believe they still have some tiny say in who (or more accurately WHAT) governs them. In truth we don't. We now have a tax-immue Aristocracy instead.

    May 29, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. snakebite201

    If the President had not been so "hush hush" about his birth certificate and his school records(which he never released) there would have never been a questions about either. The people of the US have every right to know the entire background of any person seeking public office. Since there are qualifications for the job, these should be mandatory and made available to the public.

    May 29, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Getitright

    Hopefully when Mitt looses in Nov he'll finally go away for good.

    May 29, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. Name otown

    We Americans are not fools, ask GWB we lone from our mistakes. The biggest fool is Karl rove then Romney. As far as trump what can we say that's not said over and over again. We American will pick a winner again. With class something lacking in the GOP. Ask the Donald he need the attention.

    May 29, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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