The Obama campaign is not giving Mitt Romney a pass on his “birther” joke, releasing a web video on Saturday saying “America doesn’t need a birther-in-chief.”
“Holding out hope Romney had a vision for the middle class?,” The narrator says in the short web video. “Think again. Embracing unfounded conspiracy theories, distracting from real issues. America doesn’t need a birther-in-chief.”
Romney made a joke on Friday referencing the conspiracy theories surrounding the president’s birth certificate.
“Now I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital," the presumptive GOP nominee said at a campaign rally in Michigan.
"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised," he added.
Romney said in an interview Friday that he did not intend his recent comment as a swipe against the president.
“No, no, not a swipe,” Romney told CBS News. “I've said throughout the campaign and before, there's no question about where he was born. 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 a campaign.”
And while the president has himself joked about the conspiracy theory, Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt says it’s not a joke coming from the Romney campaign.
“Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America,” LaBolt said Friday, before alleging that Romney has “embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them.”
Campaign manager Jim Messina also raised Romney comments in a fundraising email to supporters sent on Friday.
In the CBS interview, Romney reiterated that he believes Obama is the “legitimate president of the United States.”
“I've said that probably 30 times by now, and 31 certainly won't hurt,” Romney said.
President Obama was born in Hawaii, and the White House has provided a long-form copy of his birth certificate.