Presidential races

Trump, Romney’s surrogate, goes on ‘birther’ offensive

While the Obama campaign actively works to tie Mitt Romney to the controversial “birther” assertions of Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality show host is ramping up his focus on the purported conspiracy ahead of a campaign fundraiser for Romney in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

“@BarackObama is practically begging @MittRomney to disavow the place of birth movement, he is afraid of it and for good reason,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “He keeps using @SenJohnMcCain as an example, however, @SenJohnMcCain lost the election. Don’t let it happen again.”

{mosads}An Obama campaign Web ad released Tuesday, called “Two Republican nominees,” shows then-presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) rebuffing statements from those who questioned then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s citizenship while on the campaign trail in 2008.

“As the Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his own party,” text from the ad reads.

“Why won’t Mitt Romney do the same?” the ad says, before launching into a montage of Trump questioning the president’s birthplace and citizenship.

Romney is scheduled to campaign with Trump at a fundraiser in Las Vegas on Tuesday, where donors can compete to win dinner with the host of “The Apprentice.”

Romney told CNN over the weekend that he shouldn’t be held accountable for everything his surrogates say.

“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,” he said. “But I need to get to 50.1 percent or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

Still, Trump could be stepping on Romney’s preferred message that he is the candidate better equipped to turn the economy around.

“I never really changed — nothing’s changed my mind,” Trump told CNBC on Tuesday morning. “And by the way, you know, you have a huge group of people. I walk down the street and people are screaming, ‘Please don’t give that up.’ Look, a publisher came out last week and had a statement about Obama given to them by Obama when he was doing a book as a young man a number of years ago in the ’90s: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia.’ ”

Trump was referring a report last week from conservative website that showed the president’s literary agent erroneously claiming he was born in Kenya as part of a pitch for a book on race he never completed. The literary agent said last week that she was mistaken in making the claim.

“That’s not the way life works,” Trump continued. “He’s a young man doing a book and he said what he believed to be the truth.”

“I’ve been known as being a very smart guy for a long time,” Trump said. “I don’t consider myself birther or not birther, but there are some major questions here that the press doesn’t want to cover. Now, if that were somebody else they’d be covering it and they’d be throwing people out of office, but they don’t want to cover it.”

After flirting with a presidential run earlier in the cycle, Trump re-emerged recently, advocating for a speaking role at the Republican National Convention, suggesting he should be considered as a vice presidential candidate and fundraising for the Romney campaign.

Trump has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the long-form birth certificate released by the White House, and has doubled down on questioning the citizenship of the president.

The president was born in Hawaii in 1961.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the campaign will continue to focus on jobs and the economy.

“Governor Romney has said repeatedly that he believes President Obama was born in the United States,” Saul said in an email to The Hill. “The Democrats can talk about Donald Trump all they want – Mitt Romney is going to talk about jobs and how we can get our economy moving again.”

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump John McCain
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