Commerce, Michigan, Aug 24, 2012 (AFP) – Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney on Friday appeared to wade into the birther conspiracy about President Barack Obama when he made a joke about his own birth certificate.
Speaking about his Michigan roots, Romney mentioned the hospitals in which he and his wife Ann were born, then said: “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”
The comment was received with applause and cheers from many of the estimated 10,000 people at a campaign rally on a Michigan farm.
But it was an awkward connection to a long-standing conspiracy fueled by right-wing conservatives who question whether Obama was born in the United States.
Obama has been dogged by the birther conspiracy since he ran for president in 2008, and it continued after he released his “long-form” birth certificate in 2011 which showed he was born August 4, 1961 in Honolulu’s Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital.
Romney’s campaign has stated in the past that the candidate does believe Obama was born in the United States.
The Obama campaign issued a swift response to Romney’s Michigan comments, saying he was bowing to extremist elements in his Republican Party.
“Throughout this campaign, governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.
“Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”
One of the most active proponents of the birther controversy has been real estate mogul Donald Trump, who routinely says he is not convinced Obama’s birth records are genuine.
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