Continued from page 1

Breitbart was also instrumental in the ouster of Shirley Sherrod, an Obama appointee in the Department of Agriculture. Breitbart publicized a video clip of Sherrod, who is black, addressing an NAACP meeting in which she appeared to be condoning anti-white practices by the department. She was immediately fired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, even though her comments had been pulled out of context in the clip and misrepresented. Obama called Sherrod to apologize, and she filed a lawsuit against Breitbart.

That wasn’t mentioned as one Republican leader after another weighed in to praise Breitbart.

“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Andrew Breitbart: brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father,” Romney tweeted.

Gingrich called Breitbart “the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America,” while Santorum called his death “a huge loss for the country and the conservative movement.”

Trump, the real estate mogul and host of the reality show “Celebrity Apprentice,” has risen to become another leading voice in the Republican Party. Trump considered running for the GOP nomination last year and his tough, anti-Obama message helped him rise briefly to the top of polls.

But Trump ventured out on a limb, aligning with the discredited “birther” movement that claimed Obama was not been born in the United States and thus is ineligible to be president.

The furor Trump unleashed led Obama to release his long form birth certificate, showing he had indeed been born in 1961 in Hawaii. Obama labeled Trump a “carnival barker” and skewered him in a dinner speech a few days later.

Trump eventually chose not to run for president and was embraced by the other GOP hopefuls, most of whom ventured to Trump’s office in Manhattan to seek his advice and endorsement. Trump endorsed Romney last month in Las Vegas and has been campaigning for him.

___(equals)

Associated Press writer Philip Elliott contributed to this story.

Follow Beth Fouhy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/bfouhy