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In last night’s Republican presidential debate, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) continued his hard right tack on immigration, trying to portray himself as the true immigration hard liner in comparison to fellow GOP top contender, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX). In the debate, Romney said:
With regards to illegal immigration, of course we build a fence and of course we do not give in-state tuition credits to people who come here illegally. That only attracts people to come here and take advantage of America’s great beneficence.
(As if a fence can beat tunnels and ladders…and as if undocumented immigrants really risk their lives to come to the U.S. so their children can pay in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education.)
Watch the clip from last night’s debate:
This is the man who is supposed to be “the thinking man’s candidate”? This rightward tack on the issue and plan to attack Perry on immigration is remarkably boneheaded and contradicts the Romney campaign’s attempt to portray him as the Republican candidate best equipped and most electable in the general elections against President Obama – an assessment shared by many in Republican establishment circles, according to a story in today’s New York Times.
Driving the primary conversation further to the right will not help the Republican nominee repair the GOP’s tattered brand image among Latino voters.