Obama camp takes aim at Romney’s ties to Trump

Mitt Romney walks off his campaign plane past Donald Trump's plane after landing in Las Vegas. The Obama campaign used the Romney-Trump meeting to try to associate the GOP candidate in voters' minds with the tycoon's more extreme views.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- The way the Obama campaign sees it, every day that Mitt Romney and Donald Trump share a headline is a good day. Tuesday was a very good day.

Obama’s campaign was happy to add fuel to the mini-media firestorm over the former Massachusetts governor’s decision to raise money with the real estate and reality TV tycoon, who is currently the nation’s most vocal believer in the debunked conspiracy theories that claim President Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, criticized Romney for “his complete lack of moral leadership.” Earlier in the day, the campaign put out a video contrasting Romney with Sen. John McCain, saying that the 2008 GOP nominee “stood up to the voices of extremism in his party” while Romney, the presumptive 2012 nominee, has not.

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“Now he’s even standing by silently as Trump assails John McCain’s courage in standing up to the most extreme and hateful voices in the Republican Party — all in order to raise money for himself,” Cutter said in a statement. “If Mitt Romney lacks the backbone to stand up to a charlatan like Donald Trump because he’s so concerned about lining his campaign’s pockets, what does that say about the kind of president he would be?”

Trump is something of a trifecta for the Obama campaign – he’s a symbol of the right-wing fringe, a symbol of extreme wealth and somewhat lacking in the presidential gravitas department. If the Obama campaign folks can make a hint of those elements rub off on Romney, they’re happy.

For his part, Romney could make it harder. Asked about Trump’s “birther” views, the former governor was careful.

“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 Monday evening. “But I need to get 50.1% or more, and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

Romney’s campaign later stated directly the candidate does not share Trump’s skepticism about the authenticity of the president’s birth certificate.