Should Mitt Romney Distance Himself from Donald Trump?

Mitt Romney wants Donald Trump's money and star power but not his controversy.

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Real estate magnate and reality TV star Donald Trump, who toyed with a presidential run himself, is yet again stirring up the waters surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate, continuing to question whether the president was born in the United States. Despite the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate last year, the “birther” conspiracy abounds, with Trump still raising doubts that the president was born in Hawaii.

Trump has been campaigning this week for Mitt Romney, who secured the Republican presidential nomination with his Texas primary victory Tuesday. On Tuesday evening in Las Vegas, the former Massachusetts governor appeared at two fundraising events with the real estate mogul while at the same time Romney’s campaign attempted to distance him from Trump’s birther claims.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Mitt Romney.]

When asked by reporters what he thought about Trump and the birther conspiracy, Romney responded, “I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in … But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

Romney wants Trump’s money and star power, and is willing to put up with Trump’s antics to get it. But Romney, who has repeatedly stated he believes Obama was born in the United States, could be hurt by his association with Trump’s inflammatory claims. Furthermore, the more the media is focused on the birther controversy, the less it is talking about the economy, the strongest point of Romney's platform against Obama.

U.S. News and World Report's Susan Milligan says it is to be expected that Trump will draw attention away from Romney's real campaign issues.

[T]o Trump, this isn't about Romney. It's Trump, so it's all about Donald. He is foolish and self centered but not actually stupid. He knows very well how badly he's hurting Romney with his ridiculous displays. Trump is not going to be president. So he doesn't want anyone else to be president, either.

And birthirism isn't the only Obama conspiracy Trump has gotten behind. U.S. News and World Report's Robert Schlesinger explores Trump's new position among the "transcripters," or those pushing for release of Obama's college transcripts.

Of course Donald Trump, who is fast becoming the impresario of the political fringe is a follower of the movement. After Obama released his birth certificate last year, Trump quickly shifted gears to his educational records. "The word is, according to what I've read, that he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental," Trump said then. "He then gets into Columbia; he then gets to Harvard ... How do you get into Harvard if you're not a good student? Now maybe that's right or maybe it's wrong, but I don't know why he doesn't release his records."

What do you think? Should Romney distance himself from Trump? Click here to vote and comment below.