The Obama campaign has released a new video slamming Mitt Romney for his failure to stand up to birther conspiracy theorist Donald Trump.
The video compares Romney to John McCain — who memorably stood up to some conservative wingnuts during the 2008 campaign — by declaring: “McCain and Romney: Two Republican nominees. Only One willing to lead.”
The video comes in advance of Romney’s fundraiser with Trump, which will take place Tuesday night in Las Vegas. When Romney was asked whether Trump’s crazy rants make him uncomfortable, the Republican nominee claimed that he’s not responsible for the actions of his surrogates.
“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 said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”
Putting aside the fact that he does not actually need 50.1% of the popular vote (see: George W. Bush,) Romney’s answer ignores the history of the 2012 campaign. As Steve Benen points out:
[W]hen Hilary Rosen noted Ann Romney may not be qualified to serve as her husband’s economic advisor, it was national news for weeks, despite the fact that Rosen (a) was correct, (b) had no formal role whatsoever in President Obama’s campaign; and (c) was immediately denounced by high-profile members of the Obama team.
And yet, here’s Trump, spewing obvious garbage, which won’t diminish his role on Team Romney and won’t stop the Republican candidate from fundraising with Trump.
Between Romney’s embrace of several birthers on his campaign team, his willingness to cut ties with a foreign policy adviser over his sexual orientation, and his countless pivots to the far right during the Republican primary, it’s hard to argue with the Obama campaign’s point.
UPDATE: Trump rewarded Romney for his support this morning — and played directly into the Obama campaign’s narrative — by unleashing one of his craziest rants ever:
“I never really changed — nothing’s changed my mind,” Trump told CNBC, reassuring that his birtherism is as rock solid as it was last year when he briefly led Republican primary polling. “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.’”
“I’ve been known as being a very smart guy for a long time,” he 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.”