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Romney won’t repudiate Trump on birther issue

    Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks to reporters on board the campaign charter airplane, Monday, May 28, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
    "Celebrity Apprentice" host Donald Trump arrives for the NBC network upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall, Monday, May 14, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

SAN DIEGO >> Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney isn’t taking a position on supporter Donald Trump’s return to the controversy over where President Barack Obama was born.

Romney said Monday evening that while he doesn’t agree with all the people who support him, he appreciates their help to get him at least 50.1 percent of the vote in November.

Romney’s comments come about 24 hours before appearing at fundraiser in Las Vegas that Trump is hosting.

Earlier this week Trump again stated that Obama was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. That view has been debunked repeatedly. Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011 showing he was born in Hawaii while Trump weighed entering the Republican primary race.<

Aside from the funds raised for his campaign, “there’s no real advantage for Romney to appear with Trump,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a communications professor and longtime Romney watcher at Boston University. “Anything Trump does is to benefit Trump. At this point, it’s not like Romney needs publicity.”

he fundraiser comes the week after Trump repeated his longstanding questions about whether Obama was born in the U.S.

“He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth,” Trump said in a May 24 interview with the Daily Beast website, referring to a literary agency that once worked with Obama and included false information in a biography that he was born in Kenya. A former employee has said she made the error.

Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011 and it showed his birthplace to be Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Donald Trump has become the birther-in-chief,” Obama re- election spokesman Ben LaBolt said, a reference to those who insist Obama was not born in the U.S. “This once again raises questions about whether Mitt Romney will stand up to the extreme elements of his party or embrace them.”

Obama’s campaign released a web video today that sought to contrast Romney’s response to Trump with how Senator John McCain of Arizona handled a situation in 2008 when he was the Republican nominee and a supporter called Obama “an Arab.”

“No, ma’am,” McCain replied. “He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

The Trump fundraiser will happen on an evening when Romney is poised to win enough additional delegates in the Texas primary to secure his party’s nomination.

The fundraiser will be at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Romney will be joined by former Republican presidential primary rival Newt Gingrich, who will be making his first appearance with Romney since ending his White House bid May 2.

Romney’s campaign is raffling off a meal in June with Trump and the candidate as a fundraising pitch.

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