Entries in Birthers (23)


Obama Campaign Uses Romney ‘Birther’ Joke to Raise Funds

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CHICAGO) -- The Obama campaign pounced on comments made by presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Commerce, Mich., Friday, in which he seemed to joke about the suggestion that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.

At a rally in which he talked about having been born in Michigan, Romney said, “No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

The reaction from the Obama team was swift. Obama campaign officials circulated video of the remarks before Romney even finished his full speech.

“Throughout this campaign, Gov. Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. “It’s one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio and Kris Kobach. But Gov. Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”

“Video of a campaign unraveling: @MittRomney goes full birther ... ,” tweeted Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith.

Tweeted “Barack Obama,” the official campaign Twitter handle: “Our take: Gov. Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”

“[H]as he outsourced his brain today, or offshored it?” tweeted Teddy Goff, digital director for the campaign.

“Romney gets more unhinged ahead of RNC. Goes full birther in MI,” wrote Obama campaign regional spokesman Michael Czin.

By Friday afternoon, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, calling the joke a “new low,” emailed a fundraising appeal to supporters, saying, “Take a moment or two to think about that, what he’s actually saying, and what it says about Mitt Romney. Then make a donation of $3 or more to re-elect Barack Obama today.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Won’t Tell Trump to Stop Birther Comments

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Nobody wants to tell Donald Trump what to do or say, and that includes the presumptive Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney.

In an interview this afternoon with CNBC, Romney declined again to condemn Trump’s remarks throughout the week that claimed President Obama was not, in fact, born in the United States.

Asked why he doesn’t just tell Trump to “knock it off” with the birther comments, Romney responded, “Well I disagree with it -- I think that there’s no question but the president was born in the United States of America.”

“I don’t go around telling all my supporters what they should think or what they should say but he knows what I believe about this,” said Romney. “I think the real issues of this campaign and the issues Americans care about are not issues of the president’s personality or matters of that nature, but instead the issue is the president in a position to lead Americans and get inside of these economic goal posts and put families back to work.”

Trump spent the beginning of this week monopolizing news coverage with his birther claims, the same week he held a high-dollar fundraiser for Romney in Las Vegas, leading to questions as to why the candidate did not distance himself more from the comments.

Romney said earlier in the week that he realizes he will not agree with everything his supporters say and that they will not always agree with him.

At the fundraiser, held Tuesday night at the Trump International Hotel, President Obama’s birthplace was not mentioned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Contradicts Trump, Says Obama Was Born in Hawaii

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Tuesday that he believes President Obama was born in Hawaii, despite the birther controversy perpetuated by Donald Trump ahead of a high-dollar fundraiser Tuesday night in honor of Mitt Romney.

“Governor Romney is not distracted, the Republican party is not distracted,” Gingrich said when asked about how Trump’s claims that Obama was not born in the United States might not serve Romney’s candidacy well. “We believe this is an American-born, job-killing president.”

Trump has spent the past several days calling into question the president’s place of birth. Romney has not explicitly distanced himself from the comments, saying only that he does not agree with everything his supporters say just as they do not always agree with him. A campaign aide later said that Romney has always maintained that he believes Obama was born in the U.S.

“Other people may believe that he was born somewhere else and still kills jobs, but that’s an argument over background,” said Gingrich, speaking in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel where he will attend a fundraiser expected to raise more than $2 million for Romney’s campaign.

“I’m happy to say I believe he was born in Hawaii,” Gingrich said.

Asked if he thought he should suggest to Trump to back down from his birther claims, Gingrich said, “Far be it from me to suggest to the Donald what he should do.”

“I’m not afraid of him, I just know it’s hopeless to suggest anything to him about what he should do,” said Gingrich.

Gingrich abandoned his bid for the presidency earlier this month and threw his support behind Romney.

Gingrich rebuffed a question about when he’d release the delegates he was awarded during the primary, answering bluntly, “When it’s appropriate.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says He Needs Donald Trump’s Support Despite Birther Views

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney did not distance himself from Donald Trump on Monday, despite the reality TV and real estate mogul’s continued skepticism about President Obama’s birth certificate.

A top Romney adviser said recently that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee believes Obama was born in the United States and the validity of his birth certificate, which has been released by the White House, should not be a campaign issue.

When asked about Trump’s remarks last week questioning whether Obama was born in the United States, Romney said he doesn’t agree with everything his supporters believe, but in the coming election he’ll need their support.

“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 told reporters on an airplane before taking off for a campaign appearance Tuesday in Colorado and Las Vegas.  “But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

In an interview with The Daily Beast last week, Trump pointed to old promotional material for Obama’s publisher that listed the president as being born in Kenya.

“A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book, he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia.  His mother never spent a day in the hospital,” Trump told The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove.

Romney is scheduled to appear with Trump in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Donald Trump Doubles-Down on Birther Issue; Romney Campaign Stays Mum

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In an interview with The Daily Beast Friday, real estate mogul and Mitt Romney surrogate Donald Trump doubled-down on his fact-challenged claim that President Obama was not born in the U.S. -- a claim that the Romney presidential campaign, currently raffling off a dinner with Trump and Romney to raise money for the campaign, made no effort to condemn.

“A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book, he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital,” Trump told The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove.

As Grove pointed out, that’s not even an accurate re-telling of the latest birther “evidence,” in which Obama’s literary agency two decades ago published a catalogue of clients that included the false information that he had been born in Kenya. A woman named Miriam Goderich has since come forward and said the error was hers.

“That’s what he told the literary agent,” Trump told Grove. “That’s the way life works … He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said … He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia … Now they’re saying it was a mistake. 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.”

One might think, given the ample evidence that the president was born in Hawaii -- long-form birth certificate, contemporaneous newspaper accounts -- and the ugly side of the zeitgeist that “birther” claims uncover, that the Romney campaign would be quick to distance the candidate from Mr. Trump -- especially given how quickly the Romney campaign jumped on the remarks of Democratic activist Hilary Rosen when she seemed to belittle stay-at-home mothers. But one would be wrong.

In addition to the dinner with Romney and Trump later in June, Romney will appear on Tuesday with Trump at his hotel in Las Vegas. And the campaign made no effort to distance itself from Trump when asked if the association wasn’t “embarrassing” for Romney by CNN’s Gloria Borger on Friday afternoon.

Senior Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said, “I can’t speak for Donald Trump, Gloria, but I can tell you that Mitt Romney accepts that President Obama was born in the United States. He doesn’t view the place of his birth as an issue in this campaign. We have many serious challenges facing this country dealing with jobs and the economy. That’s where we should center our -- the discussion. And as I said, you know, Mitt Romney has made it clear that this is not an issue for him."

Fehrnstrom, asked about the campaign’s association with Trump, said, “Well, you know, not too long ago, Jay Carney, the spokesman for the White House made a statement which I think is correct, and that statement was that a candidate can’t be responsible for everything that their supporters say.”

That’s a reference to the “Hoffa Standard,” from Labor Day 2011, when White House press secretary Jay Carney refused to condemn incendiary remarks made by a labor leader attacking members of the Tea Party at an event where the president spoke.

“Donald Trump has become the birther-in-chief,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said on MSNBC. “I could put the President’s birth certificate on my forehead and Mr. Trump wouldn’t accept that the President was born here in the United States. And it raises a question that’s come up before during this campaign as to whether Governor Romney will embrace the extreme voices in his party or stand up to them.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Birthers' Still Doubtful Despite Obama's Birth Certificate

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Whether it's Donald Trump or the Arizona secretary of state, it's clear that there are people who will never be convinced that President Obama was born in Hawaii.  And thanks to recent movements in the Republican Party, Democrats may have an opportunity to tie these nonbelievers to Mitt Romney.

The birther "controversy" reignited this week in Arizona.  There, secretary of state Ken Bennett had asked Hawaii to verify Obama's birth certificate -- the long-form document that the president released last year in response to demands by reality TV host Donald Trump.  A key detail: Bennett is the co-chairman of Romney's campaign in Arizona.

Hawaii told Bennett that the birth certificate was real, and Bennett, apparently satisfied, declared the matter closed.

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, responded by pointing to Romney's previous quotes about Obama's citizenship (Romney thinks Obama was born in the United States).  But when asked if it was inappropriate for Bennett to investigate the matter altogether, Saul didn't respond.

Some liberals have parodied Bennett's effort by asking him to investigate Romney's birth certificate from Michigan.  Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Bennett, said the office is considering the request.

"Right now, we are determining whether or not that's necessary, and it's under consideration," Roberts said.

Democrats also revived Trump's flirtations with birthers on Thursday, as Romney announced a contest to share a meal with the real estate mogul for a $3 donation to his campaign.  Trump famously crusaded against Obama's claims of citizenship last year, creating a media frenzy that led the president to put his long-form birth certificate online for everyone to see.

"Once again Mitt Romney is failing the moral leadership test," Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said in a statement.  "Instead of rejecting Donald Trump's 'birther' conspiracy theories and divisive attacks, he's endorsing them by campaigning and fundraising with him.  Romney has shown time and again that he's not ready to have his John McCain 2008 type moment by speaking out against these types of attacks against the President.  This type of false and extremely divisive rhetoric has no place in the political discourse of our country and Mitt Romney should stand up against it instead of standing with Donald Trump to raise money for his campaign."

Newt Gingrich has tried again to distance himself from the birther movement.  Asked Thursday evening on MSNBC why some Republicans continue to beat the birther drum, Gingrich smiled and said, "Beats me."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Secretary of State Satisfied with Obama Birth Documents

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- The state of Hawaii has confirmed the birth of President Obama in the state, so now his supporters in Arizona who wish to vote for him will get their chance.  Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who earlier this month threatened to keep the president off the Arizona ballot and called for more information about the president's birth certificate, said Wednesday that Hawaii had provided the confirmation he was seeking.

"Late yesterday, our office received the 'verification in-lieu of certified copy' from officials within the Hawaii Department of Health that we requested in March.  They have officially confirmed that the information in the copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for the President matches the original record in their files," Bennett said in a statement Wednesday.

Birthers believe President Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and have sparked debate about his eligibility to be president.  Bennett has insisted that he is not a birther, but defended his request Wednesday, saying that it was his "responsibility to certify the ballot to the state's 15 counties."

"At the request of numerous constituents, I merely asked Hawaiian officials to verify the information contained within President Obama's original both certificate.  They have complied with the request and I consider the matter closed," Bennett said.

Bennett has not confirmed whether he will request a formal verification of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's Michigan birth certificate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ariz. Sec. of State Wants to See Proof of Obama’s Citizenship 

Office of the Secretary of State, AZ(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett wants you to know that he is not a birther, but he says he wants proof of Barack Obama’s citizenship before putting his name on the Arizona ballot.

In an interview Friday, Bennett said he is just doing his job of making sure “that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications for the office they are seeking.”  He says he has been trying for eight weeks to get documents from Hawaii.

In a statement just released, Bennett says:

“First, I have been on the record since 2009 that I believe the president was born in Hawaii.  I am not a birther.  At the request of a constituent, I asked the state of Hawaii for a verification in lieu of a certified copy.  We’re merely asking them to officially confirm they have the president’s birth certificate in their possession and are awaiting their response.”

Matt Roberts, Bennett’s spokesman, said in an email that Bennett had not asked for Romney’s Michigan birth certificate because “This was simply in response to some constituents asking us to ask Hawaii,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Lawmaker Stokes ‘Birther’ Drama

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Cliff Stearns, a senior Republican investigating the White House’s Solyndra energy loan guarantee, told reporters Tuesday that he is still not convinced that President Obama’s birth certificate is valid.

“I am, shall we say, looking at all the evidence,” Stearns, R-Fla., said at the Capitol Tuesday, just weeks after he waded back into the debate during a town hall meeting with constituents last month.

In April 2011, the White House released President Obama’s long-form birth certificate to the public, showing that he was born in Hawaii and is a U.S. citizen, but skeptics from the so-called “birther” movement have continued to question his eligibility for the presidency.

When Stearns met with his constituents on Feb. 25 in Belleview, Fla., one man insisted that the president was not born in the United States and should be impeached. Stearns then asked the audience, “Is it legitimate?” -- drawing the score of the White House.

Last week Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s communications director, called into question the legitimacy of Stearns’ Solyndra investigation into the Energy Department’s $535 million loan guarantee to the now bankrupt energy company, considering his concerns over whether the president is a natural born citizen. Stearns is the chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.

“One of the GOP members leading the Solyndra investigation is a birther, which raises all sorts of questions,” Pfeiffer tweeted. But last week, Stearns’ spokesman Paul Flusche told ABC News the story was “old news” and he had no further no comment on the issue.

But that did not stop Stearns from weighing in again Tuesday.

Asked if he thinks the president’s birth certificate is authentic, Stearns suggested the issue is not settled for him personally yet, as first reported by The Hill and Roll Call. Before coming to a conclusion, Stearns says he is awaiting the results of another independent investigation by Maricopa County [Ariz.] Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who claims he has proof the birth certificate is a “computer-generated forgery.”

Flusche did not respond to an ABC News request seeking an explanation of the Florida Republican’s latest comments.

The president’s father’s birthplace in Kenya was the basis of unfounded claims that he was born in Kenya, not the U.S. The Constitution stipulates only natural born citizens are eligible for the presidency.

Among the documents distributed last year by the White House were the president’s “long form” birth certificate and correspondence between the White House counsel and the state of Hawaii. Obama’s personal attorney, Judith Corley, flew to Hawaii to pick up the original certified copies and carry them back to the White House. The certificate of live birth includes the original, handwritten signatures of Obama’s mother Ann Dunham Obama, the attending doctor, and the local registrar. The verified document also reveals the location of Obama’s birth to be Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jon Huntsman: ‘I Cringe’ When Rick Perry Goes Birther

LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jon Huntsman has a stark warning for Rick Perry on his apparently playful suggestion that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States: Don’t go there.

On ABC’s Top Line Wednesday, the former Utah governor said Perry is in danger of alienating independent voters by wrongly suggesting that there’s doubt about the president’s birth status.

“When I see one of my colleagues, Gov. Perry, who starts talking about birtherism again, I cringe.  I say, as a party if we are going to win this election we have to focus on the issues that are germane for the American family,” Huntsman said.  “That’s expanding the economy, that’s jobs, that’s our position in the world.  And when we get off on those fringe issues, we lose the independents in particular.  The independents are looking for a home, and the independents largely are gonna drive the outcome of the election.”

“They hear some of that chatter, some of that nonsensical talk, and it causes them to turn and walk away.  And we can’t afford to have that happen,” he added.  “It’s been settled folks.  It’s been settled: The president is a citizen of the United States.  I mean, how much more do we have to talk about it?  Let’s move on to the real issues of the day.”

Huntsman said that while he’ll commit to supporting whoever wins the Republican nomination, “of course” the GOP can still lose to Obama.

“If we take our eye off the ball called debt, if we take our eye off the ball called our position in the world -- continue going with you know, two wars simultaneously -- of course we can lose it," he said.  "And if we kind of begin wasting time on the nonsensical and the silly issues like birtherism…”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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