Soledad O'Brien and contributor Will Cain had a heated discussion about Mitt Romney's reference to the president's birthplace and citizenship in a recent speech on Wednesday's "Starting Point."
Romney was campaigning in Las Vegas on Tuesday. He said that he had spoken to a business owner who wanted the Constitution to require that the president have business experience, in addition to the existing provisions about the age, citizenship and birthplace necessary to hold office. In the wake of Donald Trump's resurrected birther argument, O'Brien wondered if Romney had intended to raise doubts about whether Obama was born in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the CNN host asked Cain what he thought Romney was trying to say in that particular line of his speech. "I think that was about promoting businessmen as appropriate leaders of the United States," Cain responded.
O'Brien was skeptical. "Really?" she asked. "You don't think there was sort of anything interesting in talking about the Constitution saying the age of the president and the birth place of the president and the citizenship of of the president, that long run-up to something about business which the Romney campaign campaign consistently says is their focus?"
She turned to speak to another contributor when Cain interjected. "You said ‘Will Cain’ and you didn’t get the answer you liked," he charged.
"No, it's not the answer I like,” O’Brien returned. “I think you’re not being honest with me."
He proceeded to argue that it was "an unfortunate happenstance" that Trump's birther claims have tainted "every little thing that Mitt Romney says." He also echoed other critics' comments that Romney should not align himself with Trump.
Romney has said that he believes Obama was born in U.S., but he has faced criticism for being associated with the real estate mogul, who continues to question the authenticity of the president's birth certificate.
Later, O'Brien said she didn't believe Romney's words were just "happenstance" as Cain had suggested. "When everybody is watching Donald Trump to see what he's gonna say about birthers, you're gonna talk about the president's birthplace and citizenship?"