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. znHcats

    Just can't believe so much fools still believe our President was born overseas, if so Republicans were desperately gotten the evidence a few years ago. Most disappointed, even the Obama's campaign use this to attack Romney, it's a futile strategy.

    May 29, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Professor Cole

    Have any of you "birthers" ever considered the fact that Obama's mother was born in the US? That she was an AMERICAN citizen from birth and that ALL of her children, including Obama, are automatically US citizens regardless of where they were born? Citizenship does not come solely from the father. It comes from both parents, and Obama's mother was an AMERICAN! And, as far I know she never renounced her US citizenship.

    May 29, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "How many strings are attached to romney? "

    Zero. He's a handpuppet. Wall Street and the Koch brothers are elbow deep.

    May 29, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Papaw Nick

    I am 76 yo. When I started to school my mom had to produce a certified copy of my birth certificate. When I joined the USMC I had to produce the certified photostat of my birth certificate. When I got my drivers license the same. When I registered to vote at our election office I had to produce it. When I enrolled in college the same thing. When I applied for a passport I had to produce the certified photostat of my birth certificate. Guess what? None would have accepted a statement of live birth as they could see that by looking at me. So what is the big deal?

    May 29, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. ja

    none of the ministers across the world are without reproach, so wright, graham the pope, these are mortal men with the same fralties as all humans, the birther $#^ is for the intolerant segment of america, donald trump floats with whale manure, despite

    May 29, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Sniffit

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

    Did you miss the part where Obama left that church and denounced the offensive things Wright said? All we're asking is for Mittens to do likewise to the birther nonsense, but he hasn't...and likely won't. That's a distinction that makes a difference, and it explains why you're wrong to think this is evidence of a double standard. Two different things getting treated differently. If Mittens comes out strongly against the birther nonsense tomorrow, I'll be first to say the issue is over unless he continues associating with Tramp. The real double standard is you guys: demanding that Obama renounce Wright but then whining when Mittens is criticized for not doing the same with this birther crap and Tramp.

    May 29, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Henry

    Nobody who hasn't already made up their mind about who they're gonna vote for gives a hoot about this birther stuff. It's a non-starter and a non-factor.

    May 29, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Mike from Calgary

    Romney is SILLY to allow this issue to fester. Romney won't stand up for the truth or for decency on this campaign dirty tricks the way John McCain did. No surprise though ...especially when you consider that John McCain served his country as a A4 pilot in the US Navy, GWB served in the National Guard (when he was not AWOL).

    ROMNEY DID NOT SIMILARLY SERVE HIS COUNTRY. He did not serve the American worker whom he liked to fire. and whose pension funds he liked to raid. He served himself, and he sent the loot extracted from Americans and their pernsion funds off to the Cayman Islands, to Swiss Banks and to his MORMON Temple.

    The Republicans could not have chosen a weaker or more flawed candidate than Romney!

    May 29, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Name scot

    Now that the automobile industry has come roaring back it's time to imagine what Romney's America would look like with a destroyed industrial base. An America where poor women can end for themselves with breast, cervical and uterine cancer not detected at Planned Parenthood centers or unwanted, preventable children

    And banks again looting the economy to feed the greed of a few on Wall Street And a living Osama bin Laden.

    And without the health care Romney once provided in Massachusetts but is now embarrassed about.

    Yes. We WANT a bishop of the Mormon Church as president. An out if touch 1%er who thought assaulting someone not like him was the VERY THING a leader should be good at.

    Heh heh

    May 29, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Pander Bear

    Love it! Keep it up! Nothing makes the GOP look as completely off the wall bonkers as continuing the "birther" meme.

    May 29, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Brian in DC

    Why didn't Obama push back, even remotely, against Media Matters, "General Betrayus"?

    May 29, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. roscoe66

    Does the name Barry Soetoro ring any bells on here. Google it and see what you come up with. Obamas attorney even admitted that the birth certificate was a fraud.Alexandra Hill. Look that up as well.So quick to let our pres off the hook. He should be able to hold office just because he is a popular guy, or so says Hill.

    May 29, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. luckjoe

    Obama may be a U.S. citizen but his not and will never be an American. Romney 2012

    May 29, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. ditty1991

    stop placing us into groups. We're all individuals. Obama is not qualified to be president. the long form he provided has been proven photoshopped. How can anybody support having a president who has no proof he is a natual born american citizen?

    May 29, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Stan

    The mindset of these birthers. I mean they just will not let it go. Everything is a conspiracy.

    I have found that there is portion of the population that just hates obama. Not just because he is liberal.

    Never seen a president so opposed and supported at once.

    May 29, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Punisher2000

    Romney is shooting himself in the foot if he continues to associate with the likes of Trump.

    May 29, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. dkhhuey

    The debates are going to be priceless!!! Mittens will be publicly humiliated and eviscerated by Obama. Mittens has done so many flip flops on the issues that there is literally a company that sells flip flops with his picture on them!

    May 29, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. YoursIsNoDisgrace

    Confirmed in snopes. Agent made a mistake. NYT article a year prior said Obama born in USA.

    May 29, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Peace

    I believe the saying: "It is expensive to be poor". Romney is not poor in the real sense, but he is lagging behind with money to carry on with the real fight (General Election). He is using Trump to get something, but which can turn out not a help but a big disaster!

    May 29, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    "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.."

    Don't be ridiculous. You act like none of us actually know any vets. I've not heard a single one complaining.

    May 29, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Really

    luckjoe

    Obama may be a U.S. citizen but his not and will never be an American. Romney 2012

    So, luckjoe, what do you have to do to be a "real American"? Have a bank account overseas? Lie us into a war?
    Cut aid to poor and unemployed citizens? Fire people? Be white?

    May 29, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Austin

    More desperate attempts by Obama, his campaign and the media to make this about anything but the economy or Obama's pathetic excuse of a record.

    May 29, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "None would have accepted a statement of live birth as they could see that by looking at me. So what is the big deal?"

    That doesn't even make sense so try again. What the President produced, both the first time and the second time, is acceptable proof of birth in every jurisdiction in the US based on the rules of evidence regarding certification of documents. The afterbirthers are basically trying to rewrite those rules of evidence for political purposes.

    May 29, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Damian X

    Would someone just once and for all crazy glue a sock in Trump's mouth? Enough already of this bafoon.

    May 29, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Rudy Gonzales

    Romney has no backbone. Character traits: Ambition – both have this trait. Romney's ambition is to make money on the backs of others, milk every cent he could and pay less taxes using the current tax code. Obama's ambition has been to move up the ladder with education and work in the projects for the betterment of people. Brilliant – both are brilliant. Romney masterminded the taking over of companies, taking them to the pinnacle and then selling them out after taking every cent he could, while paying less taxes using the current tax code. Courageous – Romney proved he was courageous by funding with his own money and brilliant planning his run for the presidency. Obama is courageous as well by showing that he would shut down the wars that 60% of the people do not want to continue. Using drone aircraft he has taken out over forty Al Qaeda operatives while limiting troop exposure. fortunate – Both are very fortunate as both are millionaires, except Romney is part of the top 1% with elevators for his wife two Cadillac's, while Obama makes good money and still pays more in taxes in proportion to earnings than Romney. Romney is brilliant with this also.

    May 29, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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