Obama makes "birther" joke in N.H.

NASHUA, N.H. While wanting to be seen keeping an eye on Hurricane Sandy and overseeing federal preparedness for the storm, President Obama came to swing state New Hampshire to slam Mitt Romney for upping taxes and fees in neighboring Massachusetts.

"He raised fees to get a birth certificate which would have been expensive for me," said the president to laughter and cheers. It was a veiled reference to so-called "birthers" who doubt he was born in America and question the veracity of his Hawaii certificate of birth.

On the flight from the nation's capital to the Granite State, Mr. Obama was updated on steps being taken by FEMA and other agencies to help states and localities prepare for severe weather.

In a statement, the White House said the president again directed that his storm team "bring all available resources to bear" and "ensure there were no unmet needs as states continue to prepare" for Sandy's unpredictable onslaught.

The hurricane is affecting some campaign schedules. A spokesman said Mr. Obama would leave Sunday night instead of Monday morning for a previously-scheduled campaign event Monday in Orlando, Fla.

"He will continue to focus on the storm, even as he campaigns," Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One. He said it's another example of the president putting his responsibilities as commander in chief and leader of the country first, while also fulfilling his responsibilities as a candidate.

Earnest said Mr. Obama's priorities are clear: making sure state and local officials have what they need to prepare for this storm.

It was a mild day in New Hampshire, where sometimes there's snow on the ground at this time of year. But at 63 degrees, it was warm enough for Mr. Obama to deliver his campaign remarks in rolled-up shirt sleeves. He said the temperature felt closer to 70.

On the front steps of Elm Street Middle School, addressing a crowd estimated by the local fire marshal at 8,500, the president sought again to portray Mitt Romney as a politician whose promises could not be trusted.

Close to the border with Massachusetts, Mr. Obama spoke of Romney's campaign for governor there.

"He said he'd fight for jobs and middle class families. But once he took office, he pushed through a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited 278 of the wealthiest families in the state. And then he raised taxes and fees on middle class families - to the tune of $750 million."

  • Mark Knoller On Twitter»

    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.


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