Quotes of the day

Mitt Romney’s campaign stood by its decision to use Donald Trump as a top surrogate even as the reality television host continues to insist President Obama was not born in the United States…

Today Romney adviser Kevin Madden said the candidate disagrees with Trump, but would continue to campaign with him

But Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said that’s not good enough.

“I could put the president’s birth certificate on my forehead and Mr. Trump wouldn’t accept that the president was born here in the United States,” LaBolt said in his own MSNBC interview. “It raises a question that’s come up before during this campaign as to whether Governor Romney will embrace the extreme voices in his party or stand up to them.”


What does this tell us about Romney? Plenty. Plainly in Romney World, only money talks. Nothing else. Certainly not integrity as a candidate. And, Mr. Romney, character does count.

If we elect Mitt Romney, remember this day when we knew for sure he would sell his soul to the highest bidder, no matter what that person stood for. Now imagine a Romney White House.


FEHRNSTROM: I can’t speak for Donald Trump, Gloria, but I can tell you that Mitt Romney accepts that President Obama was born in the United States. He doesn’t view the place of his birth as an issue in this campaign. We have many serious challenges facing this country dealing with jobs in the economy. That’s where we should center our discussion. And as I said, you know, Mitt Romney has made it clear that this is not an issue for him.

CNN HOST GLORIA BORGER: So why is Mitt Romney sort of throwing a party with Donald Trump to raise money?

FEHRNSTROM: Well, you know, not too long ago, Jay Carney, the spokesman for the White House, made a statement which I think is correct. That statement was that a candidate can’t be responsible for everything that their supporters say. And in this case, Mitt Romney has made it clear that the place of the president’s birth is not an issue for him. He accepts the fact that he was born in Hawaii. And we have many important challenges facing our country, and that’s what we’d rather talk about.


None of this will matter a whit by the time voters do their duty in November.

But it offers an interesting contrast with the blink-and-it’s-over kerfuffle that surrounded the resurfacing last week of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright…

The Wright controversy “was adjudicated four years ago,” said Republican strategist Don Sipple, back when Americans were just getting to know Obama and character witnesses were welcome, wanted even. But after watching him for 3½ years in the White House, voters have seen enough to make their own judgments, without the need for others to vouch for or vilify the president. Summoning Wright forth at this point “just looks like someone trying to drag it out of the past for political advantage,” Sipple said.

Ah, but Trump! Still fresh. Still topical. Still featured in prime time. And so the Romney campaign was forced Friday to restate the candidate’s acknowledgment that, yes, Obama was born in the United States and, yes, there are more important issues to discuss than fringy questions about his opponent’s origin.


Romney doesn’t have to agree with Trump for this to hurt him. The middle-of-the-road voters who Romney and Obama are fighting over don’t think Obama is a secret Kenyan. In fact, they like Obama, on a personal level. Romney often reminds those voters that he likes Obama, too. So if the media, during this news-starved lull in the campaign, begins to focus on how Romney is pallin’ around with a birther, it might be kind of a turnoff for a key group of people.

Is it worth it?


Thinking I must be missing something here, I checked with a couple of top GOP operatives. “I got nothin’,” one says. Another offers the Godfather theory for dealing with Trump: “Yes, it reinforces the ‘I have wealthy friends’ stereotype,” the Republican strategist says. “And whenever Trump says something stupid it’s magnified 10-fold, so there are serious downsides to it. But in the end you would rather embrace it—like the Godfather line about keeping your enemies close.” It’s better to have Trump running amok inside the tent than causing trouble outside of it, in other words. Trump, remember, has floated the idea of a third-party candidacy, which could only serve to divide the anti-Obama vote (a December Public Policy Polling survey had Trump pulling 19 percent in a three-way race with Obama and Romney, with 7 in 10 of his supporters coming from Romney’s column). “We’d rather have Donald Trump saying ‘you’re hired’ than ‘you’re fired,” the strategist says.


Trump appeals to the non-political, entertainment-oriented demographic that makes up a large portion of the electorate. I’m talking about the people who bypass the national news in favor of reality shows which they watch religiously. I’m talking about the people who care far more about celebrity gossip and daytime judge shows than they do about the health of the U.S. economy and geopolitics. These are the very same people who are more likely to vote for candidates based on personalities, gut feelings or whims, rather than on merits. Sadly, they may very well be the most important voting block in our country because they are both sway-able and vast in number…

People certainly aren’t blind to Trump’s barefaced pompousness, but they also don’t begrudge him for his wealth the way President Obama’s campaign so desperately wants Americans to begrudge Mitt Romney. For the most part, the common man admires Trump’s success, and perhaps is even inspired by him to pave their own path to prosperity. Some of that conception surely comes from the platform of Trump’s Apprentice television series, but it also comes from the way he handles himself when speaking publicly. He’s a seasoned capitalist who speaks in blunt, politically-incorrect terms and makes no apologies for his success. The public doesn’t ask him for apologies either, because with him, they get it. If Mitt Romney could somehow absorb that gift, I’m sure he would. But that’s not going to happen… at least not in the next six months.

Thus, for the entertainment-driven demographic, Trump might just be a good, informal surrogate for the Romney campaign – an Entertainment Czar for lack of a better term. It wouldn’t be all that dissimilar to how Mike Huckabee used Chuck Norris during his 2008 primary bid – a move that, in my opinion, won Huckabee the Iowa Caucus.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


For a vice presidential running mate, “Donald Trump would be the best bet,” Trump told Newsmax.com after laying out potentials such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman…

The Donald dished with the ladies of “The View” yesterday, saying his friendship with Romney was the real reason to step away from the presidential race…

Asked by Barbara Walters whether he might accept a Cabinet position, Trump said “Who would turn it down? You have to do something to help the country,” he said.


“I don’t understand the benefit. What is Romney seeking?

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