Tonight Mitt Romney is poised to reach a major campaign milestone: Texas will likely give him enough delegates to officially become the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee. And when Romney finally does, the man standing next to him will be none other than Donald Trump. A spokesperson says Trump will appear with Romney at a Las Vegas fundraiser and congratulate him on reaching 1,144 delegates.
What does Donald Trump do for Romney, besides help him raise money? Most notably, Trump brings what he calls the “place of birth” issue front and center. Take a listen to what Trump said as recently as this morning on CNBC (video above), questioning whether the President was born in America. In addition to saying "a lot of people are questioning [the President's] birth certificate," Trump adds "they can't find any records that [Obama's] mother was in the hospital."
This afternoon, Romney's spokesperson Andrea Saul released a statement distancing Romney from the birther movement: "Governor Romney has said repeatedly that he believes President Obama was born in the United States. The Democrats can talk about Donald Trump all they want - Mitt Romney is going to talk about jobs and how we can get our economy moving again." Yesterday, when asked about the event with Trump, Romney told the press "I don't agree with all the people who support me...But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."
President Obama's campaign is not letting the optics go unnoticed, releasing a web video that asks why Romney won't stand up to "the voices of extremism" as John McCain did in 2008. Deputy Obama Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter released this statement: "Mitt Romney's continued embrace of Donald Trump and refusal to condemn his disgraceful conspiracy theories demonstrates his complete lack of moral leadership."
The issue may not be whether Romney agrees or disagrees with the so-called “place of birth” debate, but rather whether he wants Trump at his side on the first night America sees him as the official “Rominee.”
For more, check out the segment below on tonight's Romney/Trump fundraiser: