Romney makes dig at Obama over birth certificate
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. (AFP)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a dig at President Barack Obama on Friday over his birth certificate in comments that re-ignited a controversy over the Democrat's eligibility to be president.
"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate," Romney told a rally of some 7,000 people in his home state of Michigan.
"They know that this is the place that we were born and raised," he said to the laughter of the crowd, speaking alongside his wife, Ann.
Romney's comments were a reference to widely discredited theories that Obama, whose father was from Kenya, was not born in the United States and thus is not eligible to be president.
Conservative fringes of the Republican Party - including high-profile Romney backer Donald Trump - have argued that Obama was not born in Hawaii as he says.
Obama has released multiple copies of his birth certificate that show he was born an American citizen to try to end "birther" controversy.
Romney's camp tried to dampen the effect of his birth certificate remark, which was made at an outdoor rally at a farm near Detroit.
"The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States," advisor Kevin Madden said. "He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised."
Romney, who has been pressed by Democrats to release his complete tax records, mentioned the birth certificate despite saying recently that the campaign had taken a nasty tone.
"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.
"Governor Romney's decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America."
It was the second controversial comment by Romney in less than 24 hours, even as he tries to focus his campaign on Obama's job record.
Romney said in Minnesota on Thursday that "big business is doing fine in many places," seemingly contradicting his message that companies are struggling under Obama.