Gingrich at Trump fundraiser: 'Romney's not distracted' by ‘birther’ issue

"Gov. Romney's not distracted," Gingrich told CNN outside a Las Vegas event hosted by the real estate mogul and reality television host. "The Republican Party's not distracted. We believe that this is an American-born, job-killing president. Other people may believe that he was born somewhere else and still kills jobs, but that's an argument over background."

On a day when Romney was poised to secure the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the GOP nomination, the news cycle was dominated by Trump, who in two television interviews — including a testy exchange with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer  — doubled down on questions regarding Obama’s birth certificate. Democrats, including top Obama campaign officials, called on Romney to repudiate the reality television host ahead of Tuesday night's fundraiser, expected to net more than $2 million for the Romney campaign.

But Gingrich insisted the story wouldn't derail Romney or Republican efforts in November, and denied that the "birther" questions from Trump carried racial overtones.

"I know that there is a desperate need to attach racism to everything, but in fact I think that Donald Trump said what he said because he thinks that it's the right thing for him to say," Gingrich said.

Gingrich added that other black politicians did not face a similar line of questioning.

"Nobody runs around and asks whether Col. [Allen] West [R-Fla.] was born in the United States. He's an African-American, you know. He's a congressman. Nobody runs around and says, 'Was Tim Scott born in the United States?' He's a congressman. He's an African-American. So the idea of asserting that any charge against Obama somehow manages magically in the media to get back to racism, I think it is just one more device to protect Obama."

Gingrich said that he had no plans to discuss the issue with Trump, nor would he presume to ask him to avoid the subject.

"He has made his fame by being who he is," Gingrich said.

And apparently, Romney is taking a similar tack. According to pool reports of the event, there was no discussion of the birther issue with Trump during the proceedings, although the billionaire businessman did raise some eyebrows with his comments on the war in Iraq.

"We have wars; we get nothing from them. We have wars. You know, in the old days, you won a war — to the victor belong the spoils," Trump said. "With us, we win a war, what do we do? We leave Iraq. What did we get out of it? They're having a field day with the second largest oil reserves in the world; we get nothing."