President Barack Obama's latest video attack on Mitt Romney keeps the spotlight exactly where reality television star Donald Trump likes it: On reality television star Donald Trump.
The 96-second video never shows Romney, but it ties the presumptive Republican nominee to Trump's embrace of the discredited "birther" claims that the president was born on foreign soil. The Obama campaign unleashed the ad as Romney prepared to attend a glitzy Las Vegas fundraiser with the wealthy entrepreneur on Tuesday evening.
The online ad sets up a contrast between Romney and Obama's Republican opponent in 2008, Senator John McCain, whom it shows batting down supporters' assaults on the Democrat four years ago. "You do not have to be scared" of an Obama presidency, McCain tells a man at one campaign event. "He's a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with," the senator tells a woman at another.
"Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?" the video asks, showing Trump on television suggesting that Obama was born overseas or that his birth certificate labels him a Muslim. The video closes with Trump delivering the catch-phrase of his television series "The Apprentice": "You're fired."
The Romney fundraiser is being held at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, where the former Massachusetts governor is also scheduled to appear with both Trump and his former rival Newt Gingrich. The event will mark the first time that Romney and Gingrich have shared a stage since the former speaker officially bowed out of the race earlier this month.
Asked about Trump's birther comments, Romney told reporters Monday: "You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is that they don't all agree with everything I believe in." He added, "I need to get to 50.1 percent or more, and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people." (That line recalled failed Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson's potentially apocryphal rejoinder to a woman who told him on the trail in 1956 that he had the support of "every thinking person." "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority," he supposedly replied.)
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul noted Tuesday that the former Massachusetts governor "has said repeatedly that he believes President Obama was born in the United States."
"The Democrats can talk about Donald Trump all they want — Mitt Romney is going to talk about jobs and how we can get our economy moving again," she said in an email to Yahoo News.
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