Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is coming to the defense of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who's fighting allegations that he embellished his family's history by saying his parents fled Cuba before Fidel Castro's communist revolution.

Romney says Rubio _ a rising GOP star who's often discussed as a potential vice presidential pick _ and his family deserve the highest praise and recognition. Romney calls the recent news reports an attempt to smear Rubio, and Romney describes the stories as "unfortunate" and "bogus.

Romney made the comments to reporters Saturday in his New Hampshire campaign headquarters.