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Romney: No one's asked to see my birth certificate

By Beth Fouhy and Julie Pace

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:29 a.m. HST, Aug 25, 2012

COMMERCE, Mich. >>  Republican Mitt Romney raised the discredited rumor that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, jokingly declaring "no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate" as he campaigned Friday near his own Michigan birthplace.

Romney later insisted the remark was just a joke and not meant to question Obama's citizenship. But the comment risked creating an unwanted distraction for Romney in his last few days of campaigning before the Republican National Convention begins Monday. It came a day after Romney caused another stir by declaring that big business was "doing fine" in the current struggling economy in part because companies get advantages from offshore tax havens.

Romney made his birth certificate remark at a large outdoor rally in Michigan, where he grew up and where his father, George Romney, served as governor. He was joined onstage by his wife, Ann, and running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Romney told supporters that he and Ann had been born at nearby hospitals.

"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised," Romney said.

The crowd of more than 7,000 responded with hearty laughter.

But Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt swiftly denounced the remark, saying Romney "embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them."

Romney was asked about his comment in a CBS interview later in the day.

"No, no, not a swipe," Romney said. "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."

The authenticity of Obama's birth certificate has been questioned by some Republican critics who insist Obama is not a "natural-born citizen" as required by the Constitution. Obama released a long-form version of his birth certificate last year as proof that he was born in Hawaii in 1961. But polls show some Republicans remain unconvinced. A Pew Research Center poll taken in April found 19 percent of Republicans, when asked where Obama was born, said they weren't sure, and 6 percent believe he was born in another country.

Friday's remark came as top Romney advisers were announcing convention themes designed to feature Romney's personal side and life experiences as he introduces himself to a broad national audience with many who have yet to tune in to the presidential contest. It's also an opportunity for Romney to cast himself as a compassionate and serious candidate for the presidency after a summer of unforced errors and tough Obama campaign ads that have portrayed him as an out-of-touch multi-millionaire.

The joke also threatened to undercut Romney's recent complaints that Obama has been the one to inject a corrosive tone into the campaign.

Romney gave Democrats another opening Thursday when he attempted to sympathize with the struggles of small business owners.

"Big business is doing fine in many places," Romney said during a campaign fundraiser. "They get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses."

His comments resembled Obama's declaration earlier this summer that the "private sector is doing fine" — a remark that Romney and other Republicans pounced on to portray the president as out of touch with the nation's economic pain. By invoking tax havens, Romney also drew indirect attention to the fact that he has kept some of his own personal fortune in low-tax foreign accounts, including in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

Romney's joking flirtation with the "birther" rumor was a departure for the former Massachusetts governor, who has largely steered clear of the controversy and has said when asked that he believes Obama was born in the U.S. Those around him have sometimes brought up the issue.

Romney's son Matt apologized earlier this year for saying that his father would release more of his tax returns "as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate."

Romney has also embraced the support of Donald Trump, who aggressively questioned Obama's place of birth during his own flirtation with a presidential run. It was Trump who was the impetus for Obama releasing his long-form birth certificate.

Trump has hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for Romney and is expected to have a role at the Republican convention.

Romney adviser Kevin Madden stressed that Romney has said he believes Obama was born in the U.S. and that his view had not changed.

"He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised," Madden said.

Obama campaign officials said the comment was evidence that Romney is trying to curry favor with conservatives — some of whom remain unenthusiastic about Romney's candidacy.

"Governor Romney's decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America," LaBolt said.

Obama's campaign tweeted from the president's Twitter account: "Song of the day: Born in the USA" along with a link to the Bruce Springsteen song.

And the Obama camp promptly held up Romney's remark in a fundraising email to supporters: "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 $5 or more to re-elect Barack Obama today."

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kainalu wrote:
I have. I don't believe that Mitt is a U.S. citizen. He's from the star-planet, Kolob. Ask him.
on August 24,2012 | 09:10AM
Bean808 wrote:
Yes, I heard of Kolob. There is not intelligent life there.
on August 24,2012 | 09:54AM
burymeagain wrote:
I heard he's from the star-planet Hisanus.
on August 24,2012 | 01:12PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Aw, so this is the elevated discourse the President has called for - right here in his Hawaian home. Congrats to all.
on August 25,2012 | 03:16PM
H20 wrote:
He should be disqualified then, I believe that's a prerequisite for running for President
on August 24,2012 | 09:11AM
st1d wrote:
the problem is not obama's place of birth. the problem is where he's living now
on August 24,2012 | 09:57AM
Classic_59Chevy wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 25,2012 | 12:01PM
busterb wrote:
LOL baboose
on August 25,2012 | 01:36PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Well, he certainly appears to be one of us
on August 25,2012 | 03:14PM
allie wrote:
We believe that Romney was born the USA although he descends from a law-breaking, polygamous family that fled to Mexico.
on August 24,2012 | 10:24AM
Bean808 wrote:
NO. He's from Kolob.
on August 24,2012 | 11:11AM
Pacej001 wrote:
You can do better than this, I think.
on August 24,2012 | 01:17PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Not really.....
on August 24,2012 | 01:28PM
ross13moon wrote:
Mitt, it's your TAX RETURNS we want to see!!!
on August 24,2012 | 10:38AM
lee1957 wrote:
Like you would actually know what you were looking at.
on August 25,2012 | 12:58PM
akamaistyle wrote:
Mitt! Mitt! You the guy! Slam dunk! Great line, great wedgy!
on August 24,2012 | 10:50AM
EightOEight wrote:
"(Big business)..."They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses." Testing the tax evation waters, Robme? Thanks anyway for giving us a small glimpse into the direction you want to take tax reform.
on August 24,2012 | 10:50AM
Hawaiianhaole wrote:
I don't care what Romney has done with his money or tax returns, if I had his money I would do the same. What I am worried about is if re-elected what Obama is going to do with my money and tax returns. Just something to think about.
on August 24,2012 | 01:55PM
EightOEight wrote:
You (and everyone else) don't even know what Romney's going to do with " your money and tax returns(?)" if he's elected. If you know the specifics, please.....do tell! Think about it!
on August 24,2012 | 03:15PM
EightOEight wrote:
Tax evasion...can't believe I misspelled. The statement by Robme reveals what a true 'patriot' he is. He must also be getting comic advice from Jon Lovitz, another irrelevant pinhead.
on August 24,2012 | 03:21PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Now you think about this: What a tax return? Answer: A tax return is the tax payer's full disclosure of all sources of income and payment, if any due, of taxes required by the US tax code. Clue: Tax evaders do not include info regarding income they're hiding on their return. Unless you're referring to IRS tax form E (for evasion) on which the taxpayer list all the stuff he's hiding (made that form up). Clue 2: Tax evaders don't show income they don't intend to pay taxes on. Conclusion: Tax returns, all of them, show income fully divulged and taxes paid, period.
on August 24,2012 | 06:05PM
EightOEight wrote:
Pace, you need to stop vacationing in LaLa Land. New York Times, in reference to last year's IRS tax amnesty program: "The voluntary disclosure program, which was in effect from February until last week, is part of an initiative to deter tax evasion via offshore bank accounts. Since the I.R.S. began its previous amnesty program in 2009, more than 30,000 taxpayers have reported their secret overseas accounts, and the federal government has collected $2.7 billion in taxes and penalties.". Apparently, at least 30k tax evaders didn't "divulge" all taxes due, as required by the US tax code, when they were due. Maybe Robme was one of them; he sure knows what offshore accounts are for.
on August 24,2012 | 07:36PM
Paulh808 wrote:
Great source the NewYork Times, AKA lib supporter times.
on August 25,2012 | 05:13AM
EightOEight wrote:
Disputing the IRS figures?
on August 25,2012 | 07:53AM
Anonymous wrote:
Ad hominem attack? How effective.
on August 25,2012 | 08:02AM
jess wrote:
No, people are hounding you for your tax returns bozo.
on August 24,2012 | 10:59AM
Tony96822 wrote:
or his DL. Probably never got carded either. Just hand over the overseas bank statements.
on August 24,2012 | 12:15PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 24,2012 | 01:01PM
Paulh808 wrote:
And Obama is squeaky, so the libs don't want to know anything about him.
on August 25,2012 | 05:15AM
EightOEight wrote:
If you mean we don't believe the Repulican spin and propaganda you are correct. NO human is "squeaky".
on August 25,2012 | 08:39AM
hukihei wrote:
Barack Obama was born at Kapiolani Hospital, not anyplace USA. Perhaps there these "birthers" question the legitimacy of US sovereignty in these islands. And I would wager Barack Obama does not own stocks in off shore companies nor does he have an off shore bank account.
on August 24,2012 | 03:26PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
I just don't understand why Mitt does stuff like this. The race shuold be about the economy, but when he brings up non-issues like this is just detracts from what he needs to be talking about. Worse yet now he has to defen himself against charges that he is pandering to the birthers. Instead of trying to be funny the guy needs to be smart. Geez.
on August 24,2012 | 03:41PM
Anonymous wrote:
Perhaps he knows he won't win and is just setting the stage for Mr. Ryan to run in 2016?
on August 25,2012 | 08:04AM
EightOEight wrote:
Romney's been chasing the Presidency for 10 years now so I doubt that he's setting Ryan up for 2016. Ryan's young, still has time later, and Romney's ego is too big so he would want a second term. Of course, Grover Nordquist and Karl Rove run the party and pull all the strings so maybe they would throw Romney under the bus if that fit into their plans. Romney doesn't focus on the stuff that matters because he doesn't want the media to badger him for specifics. As he has said many times, he won't disclose specifics until after the general election. One has to wonder, being that he is the Flip-Flopper in Chief, who he thinks he'll disappoint or anger if he goes into specifics now.
on August 25,2012 | 08:35AM
KelleeMalia wrote:
Show us your tax returns, slime ball.
on August 24,2012 | 03:45PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Slime ball? Classy....
on August 24,2012 | 04:24PM
Changalang wrote:
Florida just flipped over to Romney via running poll average, but Obama still has 302 of the 270 needed via modeling on toss up probability. The choosing of Ryan for his running mate may have delivered him Florida via counter-mediscare tactics, but Mitt, part-Mexican, doesn't have a prayer with Latinos. Latinos are the new majority racial segment in America via the last census, eight years ahead of schedule. Had Mitt gone with Rubio, he would have Florida and a chance to get the Latino vote. Obama is safe, and of course born and raised in Hawaii like a lot of us. :)
on August 24,2012 | 06:09PM
Brixac3 wrote:
Amazing that the StarAdvertiser selects this as an important story. How about the story about the 1st POTUS in history to try to keep our soldiers from voting!!! http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/13/obama-failing-military-voters/ Even the left leaning Washington Times has integrity to be balanced in their reporting! You say you support our troops. SHAME on you for not holding the Commander in Chief accountable to these heros. The StarAdvertiser is about politics and power not about telling the truth folks. That is why they endorse candidates. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Don't let this publication feed you propaganda. There's other souces of information. If you don't do your homework, you're letting them control what you think.
on August 24,2012 | 08:38PM
EightOEight wrote:
Okay, if you're going to cite a conservative source, I'll cite a liberal one: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/06/13144744-romney-gets-caught-lying-about-obama-military-voters?lite Who are the real bamboozlers?? Do YOUR homework: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/masters-of-voter-suppression-republicans-employ-many-techniques-to-keep-low-income-voters-away-from-the-polls-648218/ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-21/republicans-voter-suppression-project-grinds-on.html http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/05/10711/voter-suppression-bills-sweep-country http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2011-06-12-Republican-ID-laws-smack-of-vote-suppression_n.htm Let me know if you want more...
on August 24,2012 | 09:25PM
Paulh808 wrote:
Amen bro!
on August 25,2012 | 05:17AM
EightOEight wrote:
If you want to believe the Republican spin there's no convincing you. Have a good life anyway.
on August 25,2012 | 08:13AM
Venus1 wrote:
His father was born in Mexico!!! All of them were illegal Immigrants!!!
on August 24,2012 | 11:08PM
64hoo wrote:
what you really mean is his father was born in mexico but the rest of them were born in america so all of them are not illegals.there u.s.citizens.
on August 25,2012 | 12:31AM
EightOEight wrote:
Perhaps the father should self-deport.
on August 25,2012 | 08:11AM
64hoo wrote:
hay all you people making comments the movie 2016 is comming out go watch it might be intresting.
on August 25,2012 | 12:23AM
EightOEight wrote:
Is that the movie that talks about how Paul Ryan's hero Ayn Rand said tthe traditional family is not a necessary unit of society (Johnny Carson show, 1967) and that God does not exist? Hmmmm, maybe that should be added to the Republican platform.
on August 25,2012 | 08:10AM
Pacej001 wrote:
No, I think it's the movie that goes into Obama's communist mentor, membership in a splinter socialist party, twenty year associate with Black Liberation Theology (AKA socialism/communism), his disdain for the constitution, lack of job experience or any qualifying experience at all, and his radical/anarchists friends and criminal benefactors.
on August 25,2012 | 02:27PM
localguy wrote:
Mitt Boy has the worst case of "Foot In Mouth" disease the world has ever seen. Mitt is his own worst enemy and lucky for us, has no chance of becoming president.
on August 25,2012 | 12:49AM
Paulh808 wrote:
So Biden doesn't exist,
on August 25,2012 | 05:18AM
Anonymous wrote:
Mr. Biden isn't running for President. Big difference.
on August 25,2012 | 08:06AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Aren't you gonna be in for a surprise...
on August 25,2012 | 06:18AM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
on August 25,2012 | 02:33AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Probably the most important movie any of us will ever see.
on August 25,2012 | 06:48AM
NITRO08 wrote:
Entertainment for republicans PLUS IT'S SCIENCE FICTION!
on August 25,2012 | 07:09AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Dream on. Check out Detroit. It's a perfect example of what's ahead.
on August 25,2012 | 08:36AM
entrkn wrote:
No one that I know of has asked to see Romney's birth certificate, but millions of people are rightfully demanding to see Romney's financials for the last 10 years... and he is running from that like a criminal would... so when it quacks like a duck it probably is a duck.
on August 25,2012 | 07:17AM
EightOEight wrote:
High five.
on August 25,2012 | 08:15AM
Graham wrote:
The Prez can joke about Romneys' dog...but Romney can't joke about the Birth Certificate...come on...
on August 25,2012 | 08:14AM
hawaiikone wrote:
It's that famous liberal sense of fair play, as long as they get to define "fair".
on August 25,2012 | 08:38AM
EightOEight wrote:
Never mind the President. Keep insulting everyone born in Hawaii (like the "lots of brownies there", according to Sarah Palin).
on August 25,2012 | 08:44AM
SomebodyElse wrote:
What he said was humorous. Yes, the issue is sensitive because there are idiots out there, but c'mon! It's funny! Reagan started a press conference with a mock announcement that he had just passed legislation and was going to begin bombing the Soviet Union in 5 minutes. Nuclear war, not funny. Reagan having a sense of humor, wonderful and human. Then again, by reading many of the posts, some people here weren't born with a funny-bone.
on August 25,2012 | 09:46AM
Pacej001 wrote:
--- or other critical organs, like the one between the ears.
on August 25,2012 | 11:12AM
ufried wrote:
on August 25,2012 | 12:50PM
allie wrote:
you don't have any money hon so relax
on August 25,2012 | 02:47PM
ufried wrote:
on August 25,2012 | 03:58PM
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