For Some Reason, Mitt Romney Releases His Birth Certificate

Shortly before he hit the stage with Donald Trump for a big Las Vegas fundraiser last night, the Romney campaign decided to release a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate:

(Reuters) – Finally, there is definitive proof: The presidential candidate was born in the United States, and his father was not.

Yes, Republican Mitt Romney appears eligible to be president, according to a copy of Romney’s birth certificate released to Reuters by his campaign. Willard Mitt Romney, the certificate says, was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947.

His mother, Lenore, was born in Utah and his father, former Michigan governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate George Romney, was born in Mexico.

Of course, the document does remind us that Barack Obama wasn’t the first Presidential candidate to be subject to a “birther” controversy, it happened in 1968 when George Romney ran for President:

Records in a George Romney archive at the University of Michigan describe how questions about his eligibility to be president surfaced almost as soon as he began his short-lived campaign.

In many ways, they appear to echo today’s complaints that Trump and some other conservative “birthers” have made about Obama while questioning whether Obama – whose father was from Kenya and mother was from Kansas – was born in Hawaii.

In George Romney’s case, most of the questions were raised initially by Democrats who cited the Constitution’s requirement that only a “natural born citizen” can be president.

As early as February 1967 – a year before the first 1968 presidential primary – some newspapers were raising questions as to whether George Romney’s place of birth disqualified him from the presidency.

By May 1967, U.S. congressman Emmanuel Celler, a Democrat who chaired the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, was expressing “serious doubts” about George Romney’s eligibility.

The next month, another Democratic congressman inserted a lengthy treatise into the Congressional Record in which a government lawyer – writing in a “personal capacity” – argued that George Romney was ineligible for the White House because he was born outside U.S. territory.

Romney’s campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, although it had nothing to do with where he was born. In fact, that issue ended up being largely resolved before the 1968 primaries even started:

The New York Law Journal published a lengthy argument by a senior partner from Sullivan & Cromwell, one of Manhattan’s elite law firms, arguing that the fact that both of George Romney’s parents were U.S. citizens clearly established him as a “natural born citizen” who was eligible to be president.

George Romney himself was unequivocal.

“I am a natural born citizen. My parents were American citizens. I was a citizen at birth,” he said, according to a typewritten statement found in his archives.

At one point, the Congressional Research Service – an arm of the Library of Congress that is supposed to provide authoritative but impartial research for elected members – advised that its analysts agreed with George Romney, according to a congressional source.

In a paper in November aimed at clarifying presidential eligibility, the Congressional Research Service declared that the practical, legal meaning of “natural born citizen” would “most likely include” not only anyone born on U.S. soil but anyone born overseas of at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen.

One wonders why people forgot this simple fact between 1967 and 2008.


FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    For Some Reason, Mitt Romney Releases His Birth Certificate

    Romney releases his birth certificate on the same day as he has a meeting with a prominent birther, and you can’t see the reason for it?

    Romney may not be a birther, but he’s more than willing to fan the flames.

    This is the Southern Strategy 2.0. The Birther Strategy.

  2. But, but, for four years they’ve been telling me that a “certificate of live birth” is not a “birth certificate”?

    Also where are the footprints? I was told there were footprints!

    And his father was born in Mexico! Romney is clearly not a native born citizen!


  3. PJ says:

    Also, Romney requested it in January, Some time before the primary in South Carolina. Why would Romney feel the need to have one ready in January?

  4. mattb says:

    One key difference between the Obama and George Romney birtherism — George Romney was at least actually born outside the US. We’re not even that far along with Obama.

    BTW, extra points for those who note that Romney only released his “Certificate of Live Birth” — we all know that doesn’t really count… at least not to Trump.

  5. John Peabody says:

    Michigan was not always part of the United States. It used to be in French hands. Clearly, Mitt is a Franco sleeper agent, probably ready to void the entire Louisiana Purchase.

  6. Lit3Bolt says:

    I’m more interested in the SECRET Mexican-Mormon Gospel-spreading ideology that Mitt Romney was raised with! What is this “good news” he desperately wants to spread to NORMAL, DECENT people? The only “good news” he believes in is the destruction our homes, our marriages, our businesses, and our children! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!

  7. DRS says:

    Okay, so live birth – whoopie. Now where’s the Mitt-bot’s maintenance manual and life-time warranty? Hmmm?

  8. al-Ameda says:

    Looks faked to me.

  9. Tsar Nicholas says:

    One wonders why people forgot this simple fact between 1967 and 2008.

    Bad demographics, poor education systems, four separate wealth manias, an airheaded media. A toxic recipe for large-scale implementation of the lowest common denominator principle.

    P.S. — Back in 2008 not only were there anti-Obama wingnut birthers there was a separate albeit much smaller subset of anti-McCain birthers. Yeah, seriously. Back then I still was blogging and on occasion they’d infest the blog on which I posted. The latter group of cement heads didn’t think McCain was eligible. When you tried to explain to them that McCain was born in what at the time was a U.S. possession under formal federal control, and that obviously both of McCain’s parents were U.S. citizens, they would begin twitching, foaming at the mouth and basically acting out like loons. Essentially that latter group of freaks were the Obama birthers on 11. Scary dumb. Remarkably insane.

  10. PJ says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:
    Whatever the McCain birthers were, they never were a force within either party, there were no prominent supporters, and they disappeared rather quickly.

  11. mattb says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: On the McCain Birthers, can you point to anyone who wasn’t either:
    (a) already an Obama Birther
    (b) a Dem/Liberal who were joining the cause in protest over Obama Birtherism

    Generally speaking, it always seemed that McCain Birtherism was a half-baked effort to provide the cover that “they weren’t only targeting Obama.”

  12. LaMont says:


    Jokes aside – this is a prime example of fanning the flames. I truely do not believe the theory that many Ruplicans are racist. However, that does not stop many republicans from abusing the fact that we have racist bigots (those that are aware they are bigots and those that are unaware which are many) who vote! It is sad that Romney is using the dog whitsle method in an attempt to get “50.1%” of the votes. The guy has no principles whatsoever.

  13. mantis says:

    One wonders why people forgot this simple fact between 1967 and 2008.

    Faulty premise. No one forgot anything.

    When will you wake up and realize that the Obama birther craze is based entirely in racism, and not a misunderstanding about US citizenship?

  14. Apparently, I need to make it clearer when I’m being sarcastic in my observations

  15. Scott O. says:

    For Some Reason, Mitt Romney Releases His Birth Certificate Demonstrates That He’s An A$$hole

  16. Gustopher says:

    I’m sorry, but it’s pretty clear that ain’t the real thing.


    What is Willard hiding?

  17. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Apparently, I need to make it clearer when I’m being sarcastic in my observations

    Not really. I’m trying to make the point that while you and many others seem to have the position that birthers are stupid, I contend that they are not (or at least not all of them are). They are lying racists. They know what a natural born citizen is, but they just cannot accept that a black man is president, so they twist themselves in knots and concoct elaborate conspiracy theories to convince other racists that he is illegitimate. And they make up about 40% of Republicans.

    Good thing you’ll never vote for a Democrat, Doug. On principle, of course. A Republican is ok if he recites the right shibboleth. Such lofty principles you have.

  18. Rob in CT says:


    The Right went nuts over Clinton too. “He’s not my President,” etc. I think it’s gotten worse and I’m sure racism plays its part, but I actually think it’s something like 2/3 hatred of the other team, 1/3 racism.

    It’s hard to parse out, of course, because some of that my team/your team stuff started with/still is about race, at least in part. How much is hard to say.

  19. LaMont says:


    Where I disagree is that 40% of the Republican party are racist.

    But what is worse – being racist or pandering to racists?. At least racist people can be ignorant and oblivious to the factors that make them racist. Those that may not necessarily be racist but fan the flames of bigotry are arguably the least responsible of them all and should be held accountable to the highest degree.

  20. mantis says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I’m sure racism plays its part, but I actually think it’s something like 2/3 hatred of the other team, 1/3 racism.

    I’m only talking about the birthers, not all Republicans.


    Where I disagree is that 40% of the Republican party are racist.

    If it quacks like a duck.

    According to new polling from PPP, 37 percent of Ohio Republicans, 45 percent of Tennessee Republicans, and 38 percent of Georgia Republicans do not think Obama was born in the United States.

    That polling is from early March, 2012, just under a year after Obama had to request a special favor from the State of Hawaii to release yet another, longer birth certificate. It was immediately labeled a fake and dismissed.

    I wish it weren’t the case, but large portions of the American population are just ignorant, stupid people. Large portions of Republicans are racist, ignorant, stupid people. I won’t pretend they are just “playing for their team” and don’t really care about race. They do care, a lot. They are pissed that a damned n*gger lives in the White House, and they’ll believe anything that suggests he is there illegitimately.

  21. DRS says:

    Just noticed something: Romney’s mother’s last name: Lafount.

    That…that…looks….French!!! AAUUUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (Interesting though that Mitt is a real name; I always assumed it was short for something like Mitford.)

  22. MM says:

    That font wasn’t in use in 1947. Somebody notify Joe Arpaio about the layers and such.