Romney camp stands by decision to appear with Trump after latest birther comments

Donald Trump announces his endorsement of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, during a news conference in Las Vegas. Romney's wife Ann is at left. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Donald Trump announces his endorsement of Mitt Romney on Feb. 2 during a news conference in Las Vegas.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson


Updated 3:40 p.m. ET

(CBS News) Mitt Romney's campaign stood by its decision to use Donald Trump as a top surrogate even as the reality television host continues to insist President Obama was not born in the United States.

Romney is scheduled to appear at a Las Vegas fundraiser Tuesday with Trump, who made headlines last year with his "investigation" of Mr. Obama's birth certificate.

In an effort to put persistent questions about his background to rest, the White House in 2011 released Mr. Obama's long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii in 1961.

In a new interview, Trump pointed to a recent report that Mr. Obama's literary agency listed him in a 1991 booklet as having been born in Kenya.

"He didn't know he was running for president, so he told the truth," Trump told The Daily Beast. "Now they're saying it was a mistake. 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."

A former assistant at the literary agency has said the printing was a clerical error.

Today Romney adviser Kevin Madden said the candidate disagrees with Trump, but would continue to campaign with him.

"He'll stand up next to Donald Trump and he'll talk about why he wants to be president," Madden said in an interview on MSNBC. "Any time the subject goes off of that, where it's something where...Governor Romney would disagree, he's going to make that very clear. Just as he has in the past, and he'll do in the present, and he'll do in the future."

But Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said that's not good enough.

"I could put the president's birth certificate on my forehead and Mr. Trump wouldn't accept that the president was born here in the United States," LaBolt said in his own MSNBC interview. "It raises a question that's come up before during this campaign as to whether Governor Romney will embrace the extreme voices in his party or stand up to them."

In fact, Romney has disavowed Trump's comments when he's been asked about them in the past.

"I believe the president was born in the United States," Romney told CNBC's Larry Kudlow in April 2011. "The man needs to be taken out of office, but his citizenship isn't the reason why."

Romney has two major fundraisers planned with "The Apprentice" Host next month. The first, on Tuesday, is at Trump's Las Vegas hotel and will feature an appearance by former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. The campaign is also raffling off a dinner with Trump and Romney in New York later in June.

After flirting with his own presidential bid, Trump endorsed Romney in a joint appearance in February.


  • Caroline Horn On Twitter»

    Caroline Horn is CBS News' senior producer for politics.

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