Romney Campaign Fends Off Immigration Questions

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign fended off questions on immigration policy on Wednesday as the Republican challenger scrambled for a response five days after President Barack Obama's relaxation of immigration policy drew accolades from Hispanic voters.

Questions on the Republican challenger's position on immigration dominated a campaign conference call Wednesday that was supposed to be about the economy. The call was cut off early after what a Romney staffer said were "off-topic" questions.

After taking a hard line during the Republican presidential primary season against illegal immigration, Romney has struggled to frame an immigration message that would appeal to Hispanics and keep conservatives in his own party happy.

Romney accused Obama of playing politics with the timing of his announcement. "If he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first 3-1/2 years, not in his last few months," Romney said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

But he did not offer a plan of his own and would not say whether he would repeal Obama's policy shift if elected.

"I think it hurts Romney electorally big-time," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said.

"How Romney handles this situation is clearly going to make or break this election. Because if you look at the map, essentially this takes Colorado and Nevada and it makes them significant reaches," O'Connell said.

Read more from Gabriel Debenedetti and Patricia Zengerle at Reuters

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published this page in In The News 2012-06-20 18:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy