President Barack Obama’s campaign attacked billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump in the wake of Mitt Romney’s reference to the Obama birth certificate question.
Speaking in Michigan, the Republican presidential nominee said, “Now I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born.
"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate," Romney added. "They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”
The Obama campaign fired back a statement which said, “Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them.
"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.”
The birthplace comment marked a departure for Romney, who previously kept his distance from questions raised by so-called birthers who question whether Obama was born an American citizen and thus may not be qualified to serve as president.
Romney’s campaign played down the candidate’s comment. “The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States,” Kevin Madden, a Romney adviser, said in a statement.
“He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised.”
The controversy comes just days after Trump blasted Obama’s senior adviser Robert Gibbs Sunday as “vicious and hateful” after the former press secretary called Trump a “right-wing nut job” on Fox News.
Gibbs had said Romney was “auctioning off dinners with the birther in chief, right-wing-nut-job Donald Trump, who still questions whether or not the president was born in the United States of America. Trump’s special counsel Michael Cohen responded that Gibbs was using Trump's name and fame in order to distract from the nation's worsening economic problems.
Comments from left-leaning websites were outraged that Romney would wade into the birther debate but Twitchy, a Twitter aggregation site founded by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, pointed out that on Obama’s own campaign website there is a coffee mug for sale that zeroes in on the birther controversy.
The text alongside the “MADE IN THE USA” coffee mug reads, “There’s really no way to make the conspiracy about President Obama’s birth certificate completely go away, so we might as well laugh at it — and make sure as many people as possible are in on the joke. Get your Obama birth certificate Made in the USA mug today.”
Around the same time as Romney’s remark, Trump tweeted, “Former Navy SEAL Questions @BarackObama's birthplace,” which linked to a story about Larry Bailey, a retired veteran who founded Special Operations Speaks (SOS), a group that aims to “illuminate the failed operational security environment” of the Obama administration.
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