August 24th, 2012
12:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney goes THERE: 'Birther' joke raises conspiracy theory

Commerce, Michigan (CNN) - Mitt Romney denied in an interview Friday that his reference to a highly charged political symbol - a birth certificate – was anything more than simply of homecoming humor.

"No, no, not a swipe," Romney said in the CBS interview referring to President Obama and the conspiracy theories over whether he was born in the United States. "I've said throughout the campaign that and before, there's no question about where he was born."

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"He was born in the U.S. This was fun about us and coming home, and humor - you know, we've got to have a little humor in the campaign as well," Romney continued.

Of course, humor needs a punch-line or it's not a joke.

It was a Friday campaign rally in Michigan, the state where Romney was born, where he chose to say, "Ann was born at Henry Ford hospital, I was born at Harper hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

A fringe of conservative Republicans continue to believe that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Those in that movement are referred to as "birthers."

A certification of live birth released by Obama during the 2008 campaign, and then the long-form certificate released by the White House in the spring of 2011, both stated the president was born in a Hawaii hospital on August 4, 1961. Contemporaneously published newspaper announcements also noted the birth in the Aloha State. Only "natural born" citizens of the United States are eligible to be president.

Romney said in the interview that the comment was some much-needed humor in this fiery campaign.

"Well we're in Michigan and Ann and I were both born in Detroit, and of course a little humor always goes a long way," Romney said. "So it was great to be home, to be in a place where Ann and I had grown up and the crowd loved it and got a good laugh."

But Obama's campaign was not laughing.

"Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them," spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement after the campaign stop, but before the interview.

"It's one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio, and Kris Kobach. But Governor Romney's decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America."

LaBolt's statement referenced some of the highest-profile figures who continue to perpetuate the "birther" line, including Donald Trump, who earlier this year endorsed Romney and has said he will have a high-profile role at the Republican National Convention next week. Trump increased the drumbeat for the White House to release Obama's long-form in the spring of 2011, just prior to its release. Despite the document being in the public sphere, Trump has continued to question Obama's birthplace in media appearances and in social media posts.

Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden said after the candidate's remarks, "The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States. He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised."

Another aide noted that Romney "wasn't using prepared remarks."

In his Friday remarks, Romney's reference was to his own birth certificate, not that of Obama. Nevertheless, the crowd roared when Romney made the quip, and many supporters afterwards said they remained skeptical about where Obama was born.

"I thought it was great because why should we have to worry about whether the president has a birth certificate or not," Guy Myers of Clarkston, Michigan, said.

Another supporter, Lauri Pierce of Midland, said it drew a contrast for her between Romney and Obama.

"Well Mitt's from Michigan. There's no question about where he's from," Pierce said. "And you hear a lot of questions about Obama. You don't know, but you hear questions."

CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, Jim Acosta and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Mitt Romney
soundoff (1,152 Responses)
  1. micfnnng

    since romney brought it up. where is romneys birth certificate? did you know Mitt Romney’s father George was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1907, the son of Gaskell Romney and Anna Amelia Pratt. Three generations of Romneys lived in Mexico because Miles Park Romney, a polygamist, moved the family there in 1884 as it became increasingly clear that the U.S. government would not tolerate polygamy in the Utah Territory. is this why his energy poliucy includes mexico or why his policy on illegal immagrants is self depotation, is that like dont ask dont tell?

    August 25, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  2. Dismas In Wonderland

    Romney could bite the head off of a live chicken in front of thousands of people, and I would still vote for him over Obama. And, I don't even like Romney, I think he's the lesser of two evils.

    But, Obama is such a blazing loser how could anybody still think Obama is worth voting for? Are you people paying attention? Are you even living in the same United States as I am? Obama is messing up everything. He hates white America. He hates Americas accomplishments. When he makes a speech it sounds to me like he was born in the land of gibber, and he's speaking his native tongue – gibberish.

    August 25, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  3. Toby

    There is a lot of middle income Republicans out here.

    August 25, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  4. mkriley39

    At least it didn't take Mitt 2 years to produce, i mean fabricate, his birth certificate.

    August 25, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  5. Toby

    Hey DocHollywood. i feel the same way about the Democratic Party.

    August 25, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  6. waitforflash

    grasping at straws

    August 25, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  7. Joey The Bull

    Well if he hadn't submitted a fraudulent copy on the WH website, I am sure the joke would not continue to stick. I think it is pretty clear, the reason for hiding his real BC was not because of HI, he was born there-but his father is Frank Marshall Davis; and to go to school in Indonesia, he had to change his citizenship and when he went to Columbia, he got in as a foreign exchange student. So, the "birther" issue is not was he born here or not, but who is his father and since he can't have dual citizenship with Indonesia and he went to school there-and he could only be a citizen to go to school there-simple deduction indicates that he is hiding his real background and it should be joked about.

    August 25, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  8. JD

    The left just goes nuts whenever anyone mentions Obamas birth certificate, it's amazing.

    August 25, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  9. Obozotheclown

    As far as I'm concerned, he also needs to remind everyone of his 20 years relationship, listening to Reverend Wright, and the G D America comments. This is your life Obama. Let's talk about it.

    August 25, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  10. Repugnant

    A "natural born citizen" simply means you were a "citizen at birth". as opposed to being "naturalized" Not that you were physically born within borders. Only a total ignoramus would not know that, or someone who thinks the voters are that gullible.
    It seems that would include Romney along with all the birthers. Even the writer of this article doesn't seem to know that Obama's mom was a citizen of the U.S., and as such her child would be citizen, period. That's right folks, even if they were born abroad (like in Indonesia) the child would be a "natural born citizen". Its "natural born citizen" not "naturalized". GET IT STRAIGHT!

    August 25, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  11. Jim Meyer

    It's comforting to know that our President and his campaign staff are as capable of overreacting to little verbal jabs as Jr. High girls. Whatever happened to turning the other cheek or ignoring small offenses? Seems to me that politicians need to acquire thicker skin and save their diatribes for issues that affect the entire country.

    August 25, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  12. Mittens 2012

    Juat a little push back for saying he killed a woman. Mittens isn't John McCain and this makes Obama supporters sad.

    August 25, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  13. obayjuan

    Maybe they should look at his birth certificate, Romney was born in Mexico.

    August 25, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  14. Mittens 2012

    I don't care to see his tax returns. He could pay zero since the government would just invest it in government motors, a fail solar panel maker or propping up a thug dictator, yeah Obama does that too. Meet the new boss, well actually 3 1/2 years of the same. Third term of Bush.

    August 25, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  15. Gary

    Those fake followers are also demwit voters, rofl... They may be dead, but they sure are active, rofl!

    August 25, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  16. CPhase2

    I don't so much mind the back and forth attacks. I expect it. I do wish supporters on both sides would stop whining about how mean or unfair the other side is being, and hiding behind notions of uprightness.

    August 25, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  17. Jonas Kniger

    How come this fool barry doesn't ahve his own social security card instead of one from Connecticut? Splain that one obummer babies!

    August 25, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  18. CppThis

    Question is, if someone *did* ask to see Mr. Romney's birth certificate, would he show it or would he spend millions trying to suppress the question?

    August 25, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  19. mom4hope

    Why hasn't the press asked to see Romney's birth certificate? He said his family lived in Mexico for awhile. He should have to prove he is also an American. Also where did he go to college? All we really know about him is that he was a bully in high school and cut another kids hair off against his will. America has no morals and ethics anymore, and Romney is proof of that. What a narrative for a statesman, bully, put pet on roof of car, and refused to show taxes, because he is hiding unscrupulous tactics. Wow! Very unimpressive.

    August 25, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  20. Phishhed444

    Wow...look at all the libturds on THIS page! Twisted, jello-brained libtards. Please excuse the spelling dear spelling nazis? Thanks...OH! I forgot dumbocretins don't forgive? They are too manically violent. I really wish I could understand the likes of Reid, Pelosi, Boxer, the media and of course the anti-christ in charge....Barry Soetero?!!! Our Kenyan dirtbag. Say G'BYE y'all mentally deranged freaks!!!! Cuz he's a GONER. An embar-assment at best? After all, the King has NO-CLOTHES!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  21. Anonymous

    I'm loving it. I love to see you libs getting nervous. By the way... How's that Hope and Change working for ya, Ha Ha

    August 25, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  22. Anonymous

    I love watching you libs squirm as you leaders favor-ability sinks day after day. By the's that hope and change thing working for ya'll Ha Ha

    August 25, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  23. doc

    The Cold Case Team of Arpaio proved that the so called original birth certificate of Barak whosinsane Obama was a Forgery. Maybe it is time the American People knew the complete truth about this interloper. BO put on his first book publication that he was borne in Kenya. Obama himself said that, so, was he lying then or is he lying now?
    Never ever vote for a Democrat.

    August 25, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  24. Kip Noxzema

    That was a beautiful and brilliantly executed jab at Bambam, and it's got the Libs seething! I'll add up the name callers in this section and laugh at them because they realize this failed president is in his last year as president.

    August 25, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  25. Tim Berends

    Recently I was in Kenya and the two things that stood out were the Kenyan's telling me that Pres. Obama was born there and secondly, they believed he was a Muslim. I remember we drove by a sign outside Kisumu which declared "Welcome to Kenya birthplace of Barack Obama" and then it said the same thing in Swahili. I remember when Obama was interviewed by George Stephenoupolus on ABC and referred to "his Muslim faith" and had to be corrected by George "you mean your CHRISTIAN faith." i don't care if your Rick Perry on Vicodin, you don't make THOSE kinds of mistakes.

    August 25, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
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