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. ARqueen

    How is this ANY different than Obama refusing to denounce the filth that came out of Bill Maher's mouth, that was directed toward innocent members of candidates families? If I remember correctly, Obama's excuse was that Maher is an "entertainer" and that he couldn't control what he said, and anyway, the money that Maher donated went to a super PAC, not "really" to Obama's campaign. Well, Trump is also an entertainer, thus falls into the same camp as Bill Maher. I think CNN is just trying to exerce their influence over the eletion by printing one-sided articles about non-issues. As usual.

    May 29, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. winky

    Sue was Arnold Swarzy born in the US? So how did he become governor of Cali was he sent thru the ringer!

    May 29, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Dragon

    Really right now its a choice between the lesser of two evils. Obama's mucked up a few things over the last 4 years but he's far better then if Mitt got in. One problem that's plagued Obama over the last 4 years has been the partisan congress. Frankly everyone in congress needs to leave and we re-elect a whole new set as this congress is either too far left or too far right.

    May 29, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. for freedom

    Interesting how this needs to be investigated by CNN but Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers doesn't. Trump may have a big mouth but at least he doesn't blow up buildings! how ridiculously easy it is for the media to distract people from the main focus of this election which is the Economy.

    May 29, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. David Jones

    I said it 1 year ago and I will say it again. The Birther issue will be the undoing of the GOP in this election. The GOP is basically caught in a between a rock and a hard place after years of pandering to the religious right and the bigots of the south. How the GOP ever thought they could include the radicals and not push away the moderates and independents is mind blowing.

    May 29, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. J. Olver

    Amazing, the President got his fraudulent birth certificate past the FBI, the Supreme Court, the Republican Party and GOP candidate campaigns, the Clinton campaign and countless other investigations. People will believe what they want to believe. There are lots of people who think Americans never landed on the moon. Birthers are fools in some cases and racists in other cases. I hope they continue their idiocy because it hurts the Republican Party which has become a Party opposed to the continued progress of human kind and a Party in opposition to the success off future generations.

    May 29, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Carolyn

    I am waiting to see Romney's birth certificate.

    May 29, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Doug T

    So – is anyone going to ask Obama about his "Truthers"......?

    Of course not – the media et al will attempt to drag Barry across the finish line again......

    .

    May 29, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. MPeters

    "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"
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    I have to wonder....does he even know how he is going to be elected President, if that is going to happen? Cause, I'm pretty sure he doesn't need 50.1% of the popular vote to become President. He needs electoral votes, which as we all learned in 2000, are not based on the popular vote. But why would he have to know how America works...he just wants to run the place, it's cool.

    May 29, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Ron in California

    Really DEMS is this the best you've got? As far as the Bain attacks go the more I think you don't have a record to tout and are looking to distract form your poor record..

    May 29, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. RD

    I grow tired of this argument. he has not proven anything in court. as a matter of fact he has spent millions of dollars an thousands of man hours to be sure it NEVER sees the inside of a courtroom. almost every case was turned away on some techicality. you cannot fight the truth forever. IF he was born in Hawaii it doesn't matter! He was born to a mother of US citizenship and a father of British citizenship! that makes him at least having dual citizenship and disqualifies him to run for president. and a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN(a requirement for running for president) requires a person to be born of a mother and father that are U.S. Citizens. just being a citizen doesn't fulfill the requirement. i agree with the Donald and Sherrif Joe. there is enough reasonable doubt that it should be sent to the courts to decide. THIS IS THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE LAND ISN'T IT. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE ON A SCAN ARTIST GETTING IN AND RULING THE COUNTRY?

    May 29, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. cf

    Hey Romney! Where is YOUR birth certificate?!

    May 29, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. willard

    Just like Romney can have his supporters say what he thinks. He has already stated that he believes Obama was born in Hawaii. Kinda like Jeremy Wright and Obama's ability to have him sat what he wants him to say. Remember that folks, Jeremy Wright, the preacher and Obama.

    May 29, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Gotta Be Kiddin

    Will someone please explain to Mr. Romney that it's not the popular vote that gets someone elected – it is the electoral votes. You would think that after running for president all these years he would know that. If he doesn't understand how the voting works to elect someone president why should we believe that he would know what to do once he get in office?

    OBAMA 2012

    May 29, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Charlie

    So....when is Senor Romney going to show proof of where he was born? Or do we have to put in a call to Mexico?

    May 29, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Randy

    who cares, $15 trillion in debt and record unemployment and this makes the news.

    May 29, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Bob Quinn

    I saw part of a CNN discussion on why the birther issue will not go away and the commentator asked for opinions so here is mine: I attended a meeting in Sun City West, AZ a couple months ago and saw a very convincing presentation showing how the long birth form released by the White House was a complete fabrication. This whole issue could and should have been resolved 4 years ago by opening public records in HI and releasing a copy of a certified birth certificate then, if one really exists. This whole thing raises a question of trust in my mind but is nearly in the same category as who was responsible for the death of JFK. A much more important question in my mind is how has Obama done as President over the past 4 years and do we want 4 more of that or is it time for another change. I would say the first 4 years have been disappointing and it is time for a change. I am supporting Romney.

    May 29, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Orwell Sees it

    Why?

    Because bishop Romney needs every wingnut to build his army of Republistan.
    He is part and parcel. Cut from the same cloth.

    May 29, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. LiberaLIowan

    Craig/Kansas

    They still teaching creationism there in kansas craig? Sounds like you got a kansas education.

    May 29, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. ST

    Trump as a big birther is disqualifying everybody. Not only the President but also Justice Robert who inaugurated Pres. Obama presidency and took the oath. Not once but twice. Is Romney really thinking to stand side by side with the birther Trump????????

    May 29, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Martin Walters Seattle

    George Bush claimed he too was going to be the “ CEO in Chief “ just as Mitt Romney / Trump are doing now. That ended with tanking our economy. Who wants a rerun?

    May 29, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. AmazedinFL

    It amazes me that the birther thing continues. I even see people referring to 'Barry Soetoro' as if that had even a shred of truth to it. People, go to objective sites (e.g., snopes.com) that actually research these urban legends if you're too lazy to research them yourself. Others refer to a 'forged' long birth certificate, ignoring the fact that the state government of Hawaii clearly stated that the birth certificate (which was PROVIDED TO OBAMA BY THE STATE OF HAWAII–DUHHHHH!!!) was not forged. I refer to this as the dumbing down of America. It's making the Republican party look pretty bad, and detracting from discussion of the REAL issues in the race.

    May 29, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. beevee

    These two Romney and Trump are crookish politicians and want to make an issue of a non-issue. By not saying anything Romney would like to keep the doubts in some gullible voters' mind about the birth place of the president. The voters need to think clearly whether they want to havesuch a lier to WH.

    May 29, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. IndependentOne

    No doubt this is old, and idiotic. If Hawaii says he was born there and Fox "News" hasn't found anything different, let it go.

    I'm an independent voter (fiscal conservative, social moderate, environmental ultra liberal) who left America and forged a life in Europe after Bush became president because I just couldn't stand to see where America was heading. I had hoped that things might change with Obama, but the political system in America has broken down even further with neither the Dem's nor the GOP knowing anymore what governance means. The whole process has come down to money and until that element is taken out of the election process and term limits instituted, Amercia will never again be what it could...should be. That Trump is considered important at all instead of the baffoon he so clearly is, should be a sign to even the thickest that a problem exists. America is run by those with money, not people with vision and morals.
    Hell, even John McCain (who I respect greatly) lost his way under the pressure of the money....

    Mitt Romney is the epitome of what's wrong, and the thought that he could become president, that someone with half a brain can't see him for what he is, leaves me with this quote in mind; "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" Isaac Asimov

    May 29, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. David Jones

    @Bob Quin.. Did they also address how it was possible that two separate newspapers have Obama's birth announcement in Hawaii on Aug 4th? Or did they just chalk that up that liberals had been plotting since that time to fabricate the birth, knowing that one day this would be there man.

    May 29, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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