Clinton is smart to steer the blame for immigration woes to employers – it’s a great political strategy for addressing this thorny issue.
The core of the immigration debate is the naturalization process Clinton described tonight – is that amnesty? She’s appealing to emotions; Obama’s going for the logical arguments. It’s tough for Obama to argue to people that they’re not seeing what they think they’re seeing – that immigration itself isn’t the problem.
Obama has a big problem with the Latino vote. The problem isn’t Latino racism – it’s that Latinos have strong ties to the Clintons. This is where his stronger views on the issue – in favor of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, and other measures – can help him gain credibility with the base on the issue.
Another path to the Latino vote: Ted Kennedy’s support. Obama’s raising Ted Kennedy tonight the same way his Republican counterparts raised Ronald Reagan’s last night – in hopes of roughly the same results.
Obama’s also using the issue to point attention to one of Clinton’s biggest perceived weaknesses: her reputation for political calculation.
Still: they’re spending more time calling attention to their similarities than they are to their dofferences – a huge contrast with the Republican field.
Related: Watch the candidates debate immigration
–CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider