Donald Trump’s Birtherism Not a Dealbreaker for Mitt Romney

Photo: Ethan Miller/2012 Getty Images

With Mitt Romney and Donald Trump scheduled to appear together at a fund-raiser in Las Vegas today, the GOP candidate has opted not to ask the reality-TV billionaire to cut it out with the relentless birther stuff. "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 told reporters yesterday. "But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

The Obama campaign, however, isn't going to let a blissfully ignorant shrug be the end of it.

In a new video titled "Two Republican Nominees," the Obama team declares: "As Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party." McCain is seen correcting a woman who calls Obama "an Arab," telling her, "No ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with." The video then asks, "Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?" before a barrage of clips that show Trump acting like a clown.

"Mitt Romney has made it clear that this is not an issue for him," said Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom late last week. "A candidate can not be responsible for everything that their supporters say." But already this election cycle, we've seen both sides harp on the big mouths of surrogates, from Hilary Rosen to Cory Booker and Rudy Giuliani, with varying levels of outrage. The difference is that instead of walking back his blatant misinformation campaign after a scolding from his candidate, Trump has continued to sound off while suffering no consequences. As usual, Trump's main interest appears to be his own airtime, and as it increases, so do the odds that he'll cross the line even further. For some reason, the Romney campaign just keeps handing him more rope.