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. Tex71

    Those who choose their associates from among the ranks of the ridiculous should expect their own credibility to suffer.

    May 29, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. WhereIsMassMittens

    Glad to see people are picking up on the lie which is the Romney campaign. He criticizes Obama for wasting taxpayer money by supporting Anerican businesses instead of gutting them and sending them overseas, then he fails to take a stand against the birther movement which cost us taxpayers money to defend against such lunacy – all so he can win the election by his own admission. Mittens doesn't care where the support comes from, or which opinions he needs to sell, to get to "50.1%.".

    May 29, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. george of the jungle

    It has been disgrace ful the way the repos have insisted on this birther thing. Our president has had to show his birth certificate even after the state of Hawaii said he was born there and that has still no shut them up. Romney is a ball less wonder who couldn't stand up for anything and our future is in the hands of the money men and norquest and koch bros who are running the republican party. Joan you are a jerk. Obama 2012.

    May 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. apple pie

    Wow. If a phony like Mittens can be nominated, anyone can. Don't trust Flippin Mittens as far as I can spit.

    May 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. mike

    romney will sell out to anyone just to be president...this is kind up upstanding person you want to represent the USA OMG!

    May 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. OReally88

    Why is it that Romney is hit on every point, no matter big or small, and Obama gets a free pass for everything? Don't we have to at least try to measure them by an equal standard?

    May 29, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. chitownarkie

    Once again, Romney proves that he is a weak candidate and would be a weak president. Not a ball in his bag as the saying goes. Romney will be beholden to everyone that will put a few bucks in his pocket or says a kind word about him. He is a slug and doesn't deserve to hold the highest office in the land.

    May 29, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Lookout4

    I am not a "birther" because it does not meet the pragmatist's test of "so what are going to do about it anyway?"
    But when a politician lies as much as Obama has, it is certainly reasonable to suspect that he lied about the circumstances of his birth.
    Again: "so-what"

    May 29, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. SuperD

    "IF" Obama was not born in the USA, would the Democrat party try to hide that fact? Thinking that they could win the election in 2008? Do rules matter to the Democrats? (for example, producing a budget, which has not been done in years). What do you think the answer is?

    The correct answer is ABSOLUTELY

    Also, all this is Obama's fault, when this first started, he could have extinguished the fire, but he did not. Why not? Was there a document that might indicate something other than what was being sold?

    My point is not being a birther, but the Democrats don't care about any stinking rules.

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

    "And now that it's quelled, here he is, stoking the fire again."

    quelled? he is stoking it?
    how about you actually be honest about it.......Trump was the one the brought it up again the other day. Arizona actually asked Hawaii to 'prove it' the other week because they claimed so many of their supporters were pushing them for it. Some repubs states are actually trying to actively change their constitution because of it.

    ...and you want to claim it was quelled and he is stoking it?

    May 29, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. MTATL67

    Just more confirmation that Romney would be a puppet president...God what a disaster a Romney Presidency would be.

    May 29, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Craig/Kansas

    Why does President Obama want Governor Romney to stand up for him? Perhaps because Obama lacks the spine to do so for himself? Despite the Obama Girl mainstream media's best efforts to portray millions of ordinary Americans as crazy, questions remain about the legitimacy of Barack Obama's birth certificate, most recently highlighted by an author's bookliner notes that clearly state that Obama is Kenyan. Why are so many people allergic to the truth?

    May 29, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. CJG

    Again Mr Romeny takes the low road , a very very low road with the likes of Trump!

    May 29, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. flippy floppy2012

    Why should Romney defend Obama? Obama can say and do anything and the media will defend him, yet when someone calls Obama out it is Romney's fault for not defending him? I don't understand that thinking.

    May 29, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "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.'

    I think what Mittens meant was that all he needs to do is get close enough that he can hand the election to his buddies in the SCOTUS.

    May 29, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. BunnyBunny

    What a wet noodle Mitt Romney is. Flopping this way and that way. Disgusting.

    May 29, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. FLIndpendent

    This birther thing is getting real old and it's a loser. If Trump is so concerned about Obama's birthplace why isn't also concerned about Mitt's father being born in Mexico, why isn't he concerned about Mitt's off shore accounts, why isn't he concerned about all the computer records from Mitt's governor days that he had destroyed. There is a lot of dirt to dig up on Mitt that we would like to know answers to. How about Trump focusing his efforts there? Also, I love it that Mitt said he just needs 50.1% of supporters to back him – in other words, I'm going to pander to those that will provide those extra "votes" for me, whether legitimate or not!

    May 29, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. marcia

    Romney needs to stand his ground. Behind every conspiracy theory is a bit of truth. We have a foreign born president.

    May 29, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. OReally88

    Is there anything logical which will ever be understood by libs? We are talking the future of our country.

    May 29, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. HenryMiller

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

    First, because the question is no longer relevant–Obama is an utter failure as a President regardless of where he was born.

    Second, because this is just a very transparent attempt by the Democrats to keep alive what they think is an issue that will embarrass the GOP. The truth is that Trump is a clown that anyone with any sense takes seriously. You may draw your own conclusions about the fact that the Democrats seem to be taking him seriously enough that they're demanding a response from the GOP.

    May 29, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. wolfpackbob

    Last week's diversion was Romney's high school story. The real story is the economy, but you won't see that on CNN.

    May 29, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Jim Brody

    "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."

    In what world would "birthers" be "good people". They are either incredibly ignorant or, as I suspect of most of them, incredible liars.

    May 29, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. FLIndpendent

    I heard on the radio this morning that, when Mitt gets the delegates he needs to win the nomination (probably in today's Texas primary), he will be the first to do so within his Church! What does that mean and why is that important? I truly believe the Mormon Church has been pushing this guy for the Presidency and it is scary to think what their agenda may be.

    May 29, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Tyceson

    I am still waiting for Obama to release a legitimate copy of his birth certificate. As noted by professional police investigators, and anyone who has ever used adobe photoshop, the copy released by the white house is a forgery. Label people who don't trust that phony document whatever silly word you want, but it doesn't make them wrong!

    May 29, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. DL

    Till I see Romney's Birth Certificate in person, I will continue to believe he was born in Mexico. However NOTHING will ever convince me he's a Christian since he's admitted to being a member of the Mormon cult – founded by 'Joe Smith'... yeah right!

    May 29, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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