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Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen: "Nice try Mitt, but we heart McCain"

Mitt Romney, who told the Tampa Tribune editorial board that when it comes to Cubans arriving in the U.S., "the more, the merrier," also says he relies on advice in all matters Cuban from folks like Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart.

UPDATE: The Romney campaign takes issue with the Trib article, saying Romney didn't say that the pair have advised him, but that "as president" he'd consult with them.

(Observers suggested that after the former Mass. guv mistakenly associated Fidel Castro's trademark speech-ending slogan -- Patria o muerte, venceremos! -- with a free Cuba -- he needed some Cuban-American advisors.)

But Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen, along with a third Miami Republican, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, are staunch backers of Romney rival, Sen. John McCain.

"We haven't been advising him on Cuba," Thomas Bean, Mario Diaz-Balart's chief of staff said of Romney. "We're loyal with McCain."

Romney also noted he got advice from former Florida GOP chief Al Cardenas, who is enthusiastically backing his bid. And Ros-Lehtinen said she talks often with Cardenas.

"I talk to Al and Al probably transfers the conversation to Mitt," Ros-Lehtinen said. "When I run into Giuliani backers, I do the same thing. Maybe they transmit messages to the candidates, maybe not. But I talk to anyone and everyone about the need for Cuba to be free."

Romney told the Tampa newspaper he believes "as many Cubans as want to come here should come in," - a stance the newspaper said stands "in sharp contrast" to his calls to otherwise tighten the U.S. border.

Like the three Miami Republicans, McCain supported an overhaul of federal immigration laws which would have included a path to legalization for some undocumented immigrants. Romney was critical of the legislation, earning a rebuke from Republican Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, who has yet to endorse any of the prez candidates.

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