COLUMBUS, Ohio – Mitt Romney told CBS News that he was not taking “a swipe” at the president when he mentioned his birth certificate during a Friday rally in Michigan.
While campaigning with Paul D. Ryan at a farm outside of Detroit earlier in the afternoon, Romney had touted his roots in Michigan, where his father was a three-term governor. After telling a crowd of thousands that he loved “being home” and mentioned the hospitals where he and his wife were born, he added “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where we were born and raised.”
CBS anchor Scott Pelley asked Romney in an interview why he had made the comment.
“Well we’re in Michigan and Ann and I were both born in Detroit, and of course a little humor always goes a long way,” Romney said. “The crowd loved it and got a good laugh.”
“But this was a swipe at the president and I wonder why you took it,” Pelley said, pressing the presumed Republican nominee.
“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.”
President Obama has faced persistent questions from the so-called birthers within the Republican Party who insist that he was born overseas. Obama released his long form birth certificate last year showing he was born in Honolulu to refute the conspiracy theories that have persisted, even though they have been repeatedly disproved.
Romney’s campaign has long held that the birthers’ comments, including those of Donald Trump, are a distraction. And Romney has largely steered clear of the issue — stating last year that he thought Obama’s “citizenship test has been passed.”
CBS reported that in the interview with Pelley, Romney said Obama is the "legitimate president of the United States.”
“I've said that probably 30 times by now, and 31 certainly won't hurt,” Romney said, according to CBS.
Follow Politics Now on Twitter