Mitt Romney is standing by a joke about his birth certificate he made on Friday, despite complaints from President Obama’s campaign that the line was a nod to racially charged conspiracy theories regarding the president’s origins.
The Republican nominee told CBS Friday, after the campaign appearance where he made the remark, he saw nothing wrong with the comment, in part because it drew cheers from the crowd.
“Well we’re in Michigan and Ann I and I were both born in Detroit and of course a little humor always goes a long way” he said. “So it was great to be home, to be in a place where Ann and I had grown up, and the crowd loved it and got a good laugh.”
Romney, reminiscing about his childhood at an event earlier Friday, said that “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”
The Obama campaign found it less amusing, noting that Romney has consistently refused to denounce campaign supporters at the forefront of the birther movement like Donald Trump. It didn’t help that Trump tweeted about his conspiracy theory the very same hour Romney spoke.
“Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America,” Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.
Romney reiterated to CBS that he does not agree with those who question the president’s birthplace and denied that the line was a “swipe” at Obama.
“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.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.