Thursday, November 15, 2012

Romney on Immigration: "Immigration We Can Solve, But the Giving Away Free Stuff Is a Hard Thing To Compete With"

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 4:15 PM

ABC News has recordings from Mitt Romney's Obama-gave-away-too-many-gifts" call to donors. An excerpt from the report:

Romney: "What the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote, and that strategy worked."

Romney's campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, listed a few specifics: "Whether it was free contraceptives for 18 to 29 year-old women, DREAM Act waivers, student loan interest rate cuts for college students, and other initiatives geared toward energizing their coalition. They succeeded."

Romney: " It's a proven political strategy, which is give a bunch of money to a group and, guess what, they'll vote for you. ... Immigration we can solve, but the giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with."

The comments haven't done him much good with his fellow Republicans.

From another direction, New York's Jonathan Chait reacts:

Sadly, the reporter does not have a full transcript of the remarks, so we don't have the context. In theory, this set of facts could be Romney offering a fulsome endorsement of the Obama presidency. Look at the helpful things he has done — he's made college and health care more affordable, helped the children of illegal immigrants build a life in America, and so on! But I suspect Romney offered this in a more critical context rather than in the spirit of "all these people voted for Obama because he's actually been a really good president." It's essentially the same idea Romney offered up when he insisted the NAACP didn't support him because its members wanted "free stuff."

I think the latest Romney donor remarks ought to put to rest the debate about his sincerity. When the 47 percent remarks emerged, I argued that it was the real Romney speaking. Some moderate Republicans suggested he was merely pandering to people whose donations he badly needed. I never thought this made much sense — surely Romney had ways of relating to wealthy Republicans without launching an extended analysis he didn't believe — but the latest version of essentially the same riff ought to put that debate to rest. He's never running again. He doesn't need these people. The real Romney is indeed a sneering plutocrat.

Talking Points Memo zeroes in on comments about immigration:

Romney also suggested Obama’s support for “amnesty for those that are here illegally” was critical to Latino voters and urged the party to address immigration in Congress or risk getting beaten again in 2016.

“Going forward, clearly we have to have an immigration plan, this idea of just kicking this down the field until every four years the Democrats use it as an issue to hit us over the head with is nuts,” he said. “We have to have an immigration plan and program, and I certainly hope that our leaders in Washington are willing to put that forward.”

He sounded more hopeful on that front than others.

“Immigration we can solve,” he said, “but the giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with.”

Watching Arizona politics as the national GOP wrestles with comprehensive immigration reform is going to fascinating.

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