February 23rd, 2012
08:38 AM ET
3 years ago

Democrats attack Romney over immigration

Mesa, Arizona (CNN) – Mitt Romney's top campaign advisers were pleased with their candidate's performance in Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN and the Arizona Republican Party–and so were top Democratic Party and Obama re-election campaign officials.

During the debate, Romney defended Arizona's controversial 2010 illegal immigration law, saying, "You know, I think you see a model here in Arizona."

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The former Massachusetts governor also attacked the Obama administration for its legal challenges against the measure, adding "the right course for America is to drop the lawsuits against Arizona."

While such a stance may help Romney with the more conservative electorate in the GOP primaries and caucuses, Democratic Party officials feel that if Romney becomes the nominee his stance could hurt him with Hispanic and Latino voters.

The Democratic National Committee quickly put out a web video that used clips of Romney's comments on immigration from the debate and labeled Romney as "The GOP's Most Extreme Candidate" on immigration.

"He is supporting the Arizona plan, which even other border states don't support because it's extreme," Stephanie Cutter, Obama Deputy Campaign Manager, told Soledad O'Brien Thursday morning on CNN's "Starting Point." "Mitt Romney's support of that, I'm sure it will be talked about if he's the nominee. I think he's alienated a lot of voters by doing that."

The Romney campaign was quick to respond Thursday.

"This is a dishonest smear from President Obama's liberal allies and a desperate attempt to distract from his failed record. It will do nothing to help the millions of Hispanics who have been hit especially hard as a result of the abysmal Obama economy," said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams. "Hispanics are supporting Mitt Romney because they know he has a proven record as a conservative businessman, and is the best person to rebuild the economy that President Obama has spent three and half years destroying."

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Also see:

Graham clarifies remarks on Obama's faith

New Poll: All knotted up in Michigan

Support from men and evangelicals boosts Santorum nationally

The Detroit News endorses Romney

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Slimdolla

    Some of you are surely not "your brothers keeper" based off your comments regarding immigrates...This country was established by immigrates, remember they came to this land got survival skills from natives and turned on them.....how generous. Now today you ungrateful descendant of immigrates has forgotten how you got here. Ever since President Obama took office you so called conservatives have been reluctant to help put this country back on track, probably was your best attribute, by staying the hell out the way of progress while real Americans put this country back in place.

    February 23, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. rs

    Republicans can attack all they want- but they have absolutely NOTHING for solutions to the problems we face.
    Proof- Romney, Santorum and Gingrich will baloon the deficit with their "tax cut and spend plans" (that will only benefit the rich, naturally). In other words they are George W. Bush, the revenge. Paul to his credit will reduce speding but in a remarkably radical (insane) way- doing away with the Departments of Commerce, Labor, Interior and Education (to name a few. The results of his nutiness? The end of any quality public education; no national parks; unfettered rape of the land; no regulations favoring workers; no Census (even though the Constitution requires one), and more no doubt that we haven't yet seen. At least he is one candidte who doesn't want a knee-jerk war with Iran.
    What in the world has happened to the GOP? A once fiscal conservative, socially neutral party has become the crazy party. Very sad.

    February 23, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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