Romney Sticks With Trump, Despite Birther Comments

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(Photo credit: CNN)

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

CNN) — Donald Trump, whose penchant for questioning President Barack Obama’s place of birth showed no signs of abating Friday, is helping presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney raise money. Isn’t such close proximity to the “birther” conspiracy embarrassing for a candidate who’s serious about becoming the next president?

That was the question posed by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger to Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom Friday.

“I can’t speak for Donald Trump, but I can tell you that Mitt Romney accepts that President Obama was born in the United States,” Fehrnstrom said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

Fehrnstrom, it turns out, doesn’t need to speak for Trump. The celebrity business magnate spoke out for himself in a Friday interview with The Daily Beast, saying he still had questions about Obama’s birthplace.

“Look, it’s very simple,” Trump said in the Daily Beast interview. “A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book.”

The interview continued, “He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital.”

Trump was referring to literary agency who, in a promotional catalogue from the 1990s, listed Obama has having been born in Kenya. An employee of the agency recently acknowledged that it was her mistake.

Trump isn’t buying it.

“Now they’re saying it was a mistake,” he told the Daily Beast. “Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”

Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate in April 2011, showing he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Soon after it was released, Trump announced he would not make a bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

Trump’s latest foray into birtherism comes just days ahead of a big campaign event with Romney in Las Vegas. The event, which will also feature former candidate Newt Gingrich, is set to take place Tuesday at Trump’s International Hotel on the Strip.

Romney’s campaign is also raffling a chance to have dinner with Trump for supporters who donate $3 to the campaign.

“I want you: Dine with the Donald,” a campaign flier proclaims, along with a drawing of Trump in the post of Uncle Sam.

The campaign offers: “Airport transportation in the Trump vehicle; Stay at the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York; Tour the Celebrity Apprentice Boardroom; Dine with Donald Trump and Mitt Romney.”

Will such close proximity to an avowed birther damage Romney’s credibility? Their rivals certainly hope so. Obama’s campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt labeled Trump the “birther in chief” on MSNBC Friday.

But Fehrnstrom, quoting a member of the Obama White House, said a politician’s supporters don’t speak for the candidate himself.

“You know, not too long ago, Jay Carney, the spokesman for the White House made a statement which I think is correct, and that statement was that a candidate can’t be responsible for everything that their supporters say,” Fehrnstrom said. “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.”

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