Tag: Mitt Romney immigration

Huge surprise – Romney flips on immigration

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney serves sandwiches to supporters outside Jackie’s Diner in Nashua, New Hampshire November 20, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

Romney’s chronic flip flops have been well documented. Last week he went after Newt Gingrich on immigration, but it turns out Romney once held the position he is now criticizing. What a shock.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who charged Republican presidential primary rival Newt Gingrich with proposing “amnesty” for certain illegal immigrants, took a nearly identical position in a 2006 Bloomberg interview, saying some foreigners who entered the U.S. illegally should be allowed to remain and gain legal status.

Romney, who at the time hadn’t yet declared his first presidential candidacy for 2008, told reporters and editors in Bloomberg News’s Washington bureau that the 11 million immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally “are not going to be rounded up and box-carred out.” Law-abiding people who pay taxes, learn English and don’t rely on government benefits should be allowed to “get in line” to apply for citizenship, he said.

“We need to begin a process of registering those people, some being returned, and some beginning the process of applying for citizenship and establishing legal status,” Romney said during the March 29, 2006, session.

The comments contrast with the position Romney took last week when he challenged Gingrich’s assertion during a televised debate that the U.S. should have a “humane” immigration policy that allows some people who entered the country illegally long ago, have no criminal record, and have family, civic and religious ties to stay and get legal status. Romney called the approach “amnesty” and a magnet for illegality.

Romney is a joke. I sometimes think he’ll be the easiest opponent for Obama as he has become a caricature of the spineless politician. I guess he looks good to some next to the current, pathetic GOP field, but he has avoided interviews with major news organizations, even FOX News, as he seems to be afraid to answer questions about previous positions. It’s hard to imagine how he can do that in a general election.

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Could Romney help McCain out West?

Due to the large Mormon population in several Western states, it raises the question of whether adding Mitt Romney to the ticket would help McCain hold these states.

Romney performed well in many Western states during the GOP primaries, but his faith proved to be a big liability among the evangelical Christians who make up the base of the Republican Party. Many are deeply suspicious of Mormons, forcing Romney to give a speech explaining his beliefs in an effort to quell their concerns.

For the general election, the West, especially the Southwest, rises in strategic significance for both candidates, and Mormons are gaining more attention given their wide dispersion across the region. Although church members are heavily concentrated in Utah, where they make up more than 70 percent of the population, according to church figures, they also top 7 percent of Nevada’s population and 2 percent of Colorado’s, enough to tilt a tight race.

Romney should give McCain a boost in the Mormon community, though McCain should already be doing well with those voters.

As Janey Napolitano points out, the Hispanic community is much more important.

“Obviously, if he picks Romney, it makes a strong play for the Mormon vote, but I don’t know that that decides the West,” said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, an immensely popular Democrat in McCain’s home state. In an interview, Napolitano said Romney’s reputation for changing his position on issues will not play well with Western voters, who she said tend to like independent pragmatists.

What matters more, Napolitano said, are Latinos, who constitute more than 38 percent of the voters in New Mexico and about 27 percent in Arizona. She argued that McCain’s disavowal of his own failed attempt at immigration reform will cut into his support with this more powerful voting bloc.

Romney was outspoken on the immigration issue, and this would further alienate Hispanic voters. Thus, he could be a net negative in those states.

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