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Joe Arpaio Doesn't Think Birther Issues Should Be Raised At Debate By Romney Or Moderators

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Even Maricopa County sheriff and preeminent birther barker Joe Arpaio appears willing to concede that some forums are simply too serious to play host to conspiracy theories about the supposed inauthenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Here's what his camp told U.S. News & World Report ahead of Wednesday night's presidential debate between Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

According to a spokesman, Arpaio -- who last year appointed a "cold case posse" to inspect Obama's birth certificate and in March held a press conference at which he declared the document "a computer-generated forgery" -- doesn't think debate moderators should broach the topic either.

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he does not feel it is appropriate to advise Mr. Romney on what questions to pose to the president during this important debate," said spokesman Lisa Allen. Asked if Arpaio would like moderators to inquire about the birth certificate, Allen merely responded, "No."

Arpaio, a Romney supporter, has been one of the most prominent voices of the birther movement. Though he hasn't been its most litigious champion, much to the dismay of more active birthers such as Orly Taitz, his decision to mount a high-profile investigation into Obama's birth certificate drew a wave of media coverage earlier this year.

It also prompted backlash. Polls in the wake of Arpaio's bluster showed a marked decline in his approval rating, and colleagues in law enforcement have leveled harsh criticism at the sheriff for wasting time and resources on what they've called a misguided crusade.

While Arpaio appears to believe questions about Obama's birthplace are not befitting presidential debates, another Romney surrogate begs to differ. Earlier this month, real estate mogul Donald Trump took the exact opposite view, urging Romney to come out swinging with a birther barb. Romney is expected to have some zingers lined up for the debate, but that's probably not exactly what he had in mind.

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