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
2 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. ellisz

    .. and Obama manages to find yet another way to take the focus off of the economy. Worse, many will be fooled into following this frivolous issues.

    May 29, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Don

    This time" Mitt the Flip" will have to pick a side. Because birthers will not have it any other way.

    May 29, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Slick

    What good would come from Romney scolding Trump? Make liberals who won't vote for him anyway happy? Most people agree that Trump is out there in left field, but so are lots of other people – should every candidate go down a list of celebrities and say whether or not their stance is 'ok'? It's not his job to tell other people how they should or should not act – he's a candidate, not their father.

    May 29, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. ST

    Romney hasn't shown boldness in leadership. Pres. Obama has shown it already by eliminating bin Laden. A lot, especially from the opposition side, do not see Romney as a decisive leader!

    May 29, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Ferret out the BS

    I still want to know why Grandpappy Romney went to Mexico to practice Polygamy and no one brings that up? If mittens gets elected will polygamy be accepted in this country and legitimized? It's the Mormon way.

    May 29, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Jack

    Why? Because Mitt is either desparate for the low-life voters or he is afraid of Trump--maybe both. Figure, if George Will, who is a top GOP pundit says it's going to hurt alexithymic Mitt to be seen with Trump-–that's advice Mitt should really think about.

    May 29, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. FLIndpendent

    Didn't Trump send people to Hawaii to investigate the birther claim? Where's the results of that? They didn't dig up anything, just as the Sheriff in Arizona didn't dig up anything. But, there are still some out there that won't let go of it and Mitt is taking advantage of those gullible people.

    May 29, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. snowdogg

    "Romney has said in the past that he firmly believes Obama was born in Hawaii, and is thus constitutionally eligible to be president."

    He could re-state this opinion and end the "controversy"

    May 29, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. peckbag

    If Mittens can't even stand up to Donald Trump, then why should we believe he'd stand up to actual world leaders?

    May 29, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. ShawnDH

    HenryMiller wrote: "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."
    _______________________________________

    President Obama is the best president of my lifetime and he has succeeded remarkably well turning the country around from the absolute disaster he inherited. I am very excited to vote for him again. We remember the state Bush (I bet you loved him) left this nation and by every standard, things have improved under Obama. And stop making excuses for your pathetic, cowardly candidate, Mittens. He's weak, cowardly and a pathological liar.

    May 29, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Anonymous

    "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?"

    That's a HUGE falsehood. A recent study of media coverage this year shows Rmoney is getting much more favorable coverage than President Obama.

    May 29, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. Mark

    I don't see sincerity in Romney's face. I see self interest. We need a president that is other centered and not self centered. Only way to get today is to re-elect Obama. He has done more sensible things that political things. Romney would be a step backwards into the the irrational politics advanced for the 1% by the Republican party.

    May 29, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. sonny1973

    Every week another diversion from the Obama camp, the guy has lived his life with diversions from who he is, how he got into the best colleges while skipping the last two years of high school to do drugs and get drunk. I believe that is why he is so arrogant because he can fool people into believing he is something he is not, a leader!

    May 29, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Joy

    Why doesn't he push back? Because he's a panderer, will do anything for a vote.

    May 29, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Marie MD

    He sounds like McCain whenever he was asked about his choice of vp. She has a very nice family.
    That's not what you were asked but since he tabled your last chance, like the Kola bishop, they let hoers, like bush #43, make important decisions he should make as the one running because you will NEVER be president so we don't have to go there!

    May 29, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Anonymous

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

    Where do you get off spouting your nonsense? You're the afterbirther who can't believe the evidence staring you in the face. You also mistakenly believe Rmoney is getting less favorable coverage than the President when the truth is just the opposite according to recent studies.

    May 29, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. emma

    The Obama haters love this, no? It does make a statement about Romney not wanting anything to get in the way of him getting what he wants. There is no clear evidence he has the integrity and patterns of being sensitive to the needs of all Americans, not just the moneybags. Also, his hawkishness seems as though it would interfere with building America.

    May 29, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Gerald

    The Birther question would have been settled long ago if Obama HIMSELF had not allowed writers and speakers to perpetuate the claim that he was born in Kenya. It came out a couple weeks ago that in 1991 there was an autobiography that Obama HIMSELF saw and reviewed that said he was born in Kenya and he did not refute it. Why? This is a fact, not anit-obama fiction.

    May 29, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. justthefacts

    Romney & Trump – Birds of a feather flock together

    May 29, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Potrzebie

    "Dinner with the Donald"? I'd rather have a root canal, thanks.

    May 29, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "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."

    Or, you know, you could draw your own conclusions aboutt he fact that Mittens himself seems to be taking him seriously enough that he's accepted his endorsement and is doing campaign and fundraising events with him.

    May 29, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. rta

    How many strings are attached to romney? He has allegiance with so many people who pulls his strings, so he would be a puppet president. let's see, what donald wants, he'll get, what mccain wants he'll get, what the koch brothers wants , they will get. this is real scary, because if romney wins he'll make america a puppet country.

    May 29, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Sniffit

    Push back? That's on tomorrow's schedule. Today it's all birther. I believe Mittens is also scheduled to throw out a little "secret muslim" talking point grenade on Thursday and then admit that Obama is a Christian on Friday, followed by a weekend of saying religion is off limits while attacking Reverend Wright. Deputy Doublethink is in the hizzouse.

    May 29, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. joesixpackjr

    Romney bad for associating with Trump. Obama's association with Rev. Wright is taboo. Hmmm. Methinks CNNs coverage is tilted.

    May 29, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. Dee

    I am so sick of the p;artisim of CNN, MSNBC and NBC I never turn them on. There is factually NO TRUTH to what they say which has been proven in many instances. They are all in for Obama. I will say if he is re-elected he will ruin American as he already almost has. His dribble about bringing us together is just that dribble. He opens his mouth and another lie comes out. He has good speech writers and knows how to deliver a speech. Speechs don't run countries or make decisions. Someone is behind this man advising him. I don't think he has a brain of his own.If he doesn't get his way in a meeting he huffs and puffs and walks out. He NEEDS to be vetted. Say what you want against Romney ANYONE will be better then Obama who has cut our service men to the quick just aski a vet.

    May 29, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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