Romney weighs in on Arizona immigration ruling
June 25th, 2012
03:34 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney weighs in on Arizona immigration ruling

Scottsdale, Arizona (CNN) – Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney said he wished the Supreme Court had given Arizona "more latitude" in its ruling on the state's controversial immigration law, saying the high court's decision undermined states' rights on the hotly-debated issue.

However, Romney saved most of his censure for President Barack Obama, accusing the president of creating a "muddle" over the issue and failing to lead on immigration reform.

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Romney's response to the ruling came at a Scottsdale, Arizona-area fund-raiser - coincidentally, the state at the heart of the controversy.

"I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states, not less," Romney told a group of donors at a fund-raiser at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. "States now under this decision have less authority, less latitude to enforce immigration laws."

In a previous campaign statement, Romney had underlined his support for state-based solutions but had not weighed in on the specifics of the Supreme Court's ruling. Similarly, at his early afternoon event he did not address the specifics of Arizona's law or the provisions struck down by the court.

Instead, Romney said state legislators had passed the original measure because Obama had not tackled the nation's immigration policy on a federal level.

"Because he didn’t act, states and localities have tried to act and now the court's trying to get into it and sort things out and it’s a muddle," Romney said. "It’s a muddle because he failed to do what he said he’d do."

His remarks went further than the campaign’s comments on the ruling earlier Monday, when the GOP contender was barely visible to reporters traveling on his campaign plane en route to the Arizona fundraiser. After boarding the plane, the presumptive GOP nominee took off his suit jacket and sat down without acknowledging the gaggle of reporters sitting many rows back.

After Romney exited the plane in Phoenix, his traveling press secretary Rick Gorka parried reporters' questions in a roughly-seven minute exchange about the campaign's position on the court's decision. Gorka did not say whether the candidate agreed with the high court's ruling that found parts of Arizona's immigration law unconstitutional.

When pressed by reporters whether Romney was for or against the decision, Gorka repeatedly referred back to the written statement reinforcing Romney's view that states have the right "to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law."

"This country would be better served if the president wasn't suing states, but if the president was actually fulfilling his campaign promises to enact an immigration policy," Gorka told reporters.

Here's a sample of the exchange with reporters:

QUESTION: Does the Governor have a position on the Arizona law besides supporting the right of states?

GORKA: "This debate is sprung from the president failing to address this issue, so each state is left and has the power to draft and enact their own immigration policy."

QUESTION: But the Arizona law does very specific things, does the governor support those things that the Arizona law does?

GORKA: "We've addressed this."

QUESTION: What is his position on the actual law in Arizona?

GORKA: "Again, each state has the right within the Constitution to craft their own immigration laws since the federal government has failed."

QUESTION: But what does he think about the law in Arizona? You're just talking about the state's right to have a law but you're not giving any position on the actual law.

GORKA: "Ultimately this debate comes back down to the federal government and the president failing to address this. If the president followed through on his campaign promise to address illegal immigration in the first year, this debate wouldn¹t be necessary."

QUESTION: Is it fair to say that he has no opinion on the Arizona law?

GORKA: "Look, again, I¹ll say it again and again and again for you. The governor understands that states have their own right to craft policies to secure their own borders and to address illegal immigration."

As Gorka was speaking, Romney exited the plane and hopped in his ride to a nearby fundraiser, away from the view of photographers.


- CNN's Matt Hoye contributed to this article.

Also see:

Pawlenty: I'm best as a volunteer

Romney adviser: Obama immigration measure subject to repeal

Romney makes rounds at donor retreat

Jarrett to NABJ: White House bracing for health care decision


Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Immigration • Mitt Romney • Supreme Court
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Indy

    Poor little Mitts was in AZ and expected a different outcome, and once again he looks the fool. I would bet 10K that he had a fully prepared speech from the Koch Bros if the decision was different. Romney has fast become a bumper sticker candidate that can't stand on his own two feet and answer questions like a real Presidential candidate. Mitts just got caught in Arizona with his pants down and his magic underwear was not ready for this decision, no leadership qualities or abilities here.

    June 25, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Expat American

    Glad Trash Bags are Hefty Hefty Hefty
    Romney is Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy

    June 25, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Myviewis

    Here's what I don't understand as a ex-foreigner-US Citizen, why are Americans so in favor of allowing illegal immigrants into the USA when all Americans do is complain and have asked President Obama to go after employers who hire unauthorized, illegal workers??? The Arizona law allows police officers to request proof of legal entry which is the normal in the former country that I came from, it matters not to officers if you look or don't look like the locals. Any country you go to ask for papers, locals carry their papers with them. So, what is wrong with this law? Or is it that Americans don't want to angry the Mexicans who are the majority of illegals in the USA because of Voting? I can see where Romney is keeping silent and waits to have all details at hand to draw a conclusion.

    June 25, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. ghostriter

    I remember when McCain picked the Saracuda awhile back. They kept her away from the reporters as long as possible. And when they brought her out, OH BOY!!!!!

    I'm thinking Mittens is doing something similiar. Let's wait until I can come up with the perfect response.

    June 25, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. malcolm Spence

    this inability to make up his mind and have an opinion is killing him.

    What will happen when he gets a 3am phone call? More waffle and equivocation?

    June 25, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. sumedha

    pathetic
    wants to be a president but has no balls or spine to take a position on anything.
    we do not want a spineless president

    June 25, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    He is waiting for his handlers rove and norquist to tell him what he should say.
    Maybe he can talk to the lying senator from Florida. BTW – beefcake (barf) Floridian was supposed to be on the Daily Show last week and he rescheduled for this week because he wanted to spend time with his family.
    Unfortunately, he didn't make it back to Florida because he had to go visit other states and spew more lies.

    June 25, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Lee

    Mitt Rmoney = Professional Coward

    June 25, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Gurgyl

    Nasty idiot. I hate this stupid. Bain capital.....yes, obama12.
    PS: all say yes on obama12. God bless ye'. Middle class America, god bless us all.

    June 25, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. texasgreenacres

    dang didn't know so many folks thought of him as a snake like he really is. he's so down to earth he'd have to jump up to kiss a earth worms bottom

    June 25, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Curt

    I"ll bet his answer will be " well I would have handled it differently than Obama ". Seems to be his standard response without giving any details. Also depends what audience he's talking to at the time. Can hardly wait for the debates when he"ll have to actually give details.

    June 25, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Thomas

    @Anon
    Cowardly wimp.

    What did you expect from a Father who's five sons avoided voluntary military service during Americas longest wars .

    Romney / Rice
    Avoid , Obstruct and Delegate 2012

    June 25, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    So, he refused to ackowlege the "gaggle" of reporters on the plane several rows behind him? Get used to the aristocrat and his superiority complex, if he's elected. He had a public elevator roped off in the state capital building in Springfield MA for his exclusive use because he can't be bothered to communicate to people, unless its on his terms. His arrogance and cowardice never cease to amaze me. When he gets bored with the presidency, will he go MIA the way he did with the governorship? Will he go to Mt. Sinai to interview for his next job?

    June 25, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. realitychecks

    Evasion is his star quality..g.o.p. #1 requirement ....evasion and blame it on the other guy. in the debates im thinking he will follow in silly sarah stating, im not gonna answer that question....i wonder what he reads on a daily basis?

    June 25, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    Do not cry on immigrants all the time....they are better than you, lazy bum....

    June 25, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Susan

    Romney's main tactic so far seems to be not to take a position on anything and to simply ignore questions. Why does the media let him get away with this. Isn't it their job to push candidates to get an answer?

    I suppose I shouldn't complain, until about a month ago the media wasn't even reporting on the fact that Romney was failing to take positions or answer questions. At least now they are pointing it out. Maybe if we give them six more months they will start pointing out when his facts are wrong, outright lies, or conflict with his previous statements.

    What happened to our history of using unbiased reporting (unbiased not meaning reporting talking points but actually reporting the facts) and hard-hitting investigative journalism, which for so long served as the public's check on politics and politicians? Why is it that our mainstream media has abandoned such true journalism for the easier task of becoming an entertainment and public relations media group for whatever cause those in charge choose to promote? Why do we have to search out sources of truth, rather than be able to rely on the daily news to give us the facts we need to know? We once had many credible news sources in this country, and CNN was one of the best. What has happened?

    June 25, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Norm

    The decision is fairly recent.
    Mitt hasn't been coached on the correct answer yet.

    June 25, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Jean

    Romney just repeats the same old mantra over and over ..." the president didn't do this, the president did that. Blah blah over and over. But WILL NOT answer and questions that stray from the script, he and staff just repeat the same line. When are people going to notice that this guy is an empty drum? Beat it and just one note comes out. He offers no solutions and can't even tell the public why he seems to support policies now that are opposite of what he said in the past. We will be SO sorry if this lame brain is elected. Has anyone noticed that he was a ONE term governor? Why wasn't he re-elected if he was so great?

    June 25, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -Myviewis

    Here's what I don't understand as a ex-foreigner-US Citizen, why are Americans so in favor of allowing illegal immigrants into the USA when all Americans do is complain and have asked President Obama to go after employers who hire unauthorized, illegal workers??? The Arizona law allows police officers to request proof of legal entry which is the normal in the former country that I came from, it matters not to officers if you look or don't look like the locals. Any country you go to ask for papers, locals carry their papers with them. So, what is wrong with this law? Or is it that Americans don't want to angry the Mexicans who are the majority of illegals in the USA because of Voting? I can see where Romney is keeping silent and waits to have all details at hand to draw a conclusion.
    *****************************************************************
    By the way, what country did you come from, and how can we be sure you are here legally? Would you like someone to arbitrarily stop you and detain you because you clearly are not native born? Feeling annoyed at this line of questioning? I hope so.

    June 25, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. SafeJourney

    Mitt has not been told what to say by his BUSH advisors yet. What a lame person mitt is

    June 25, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Jim, San Antonio

    Romney is absolutely GUTLESS! Does he really stand for anything?

    June 25, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Gloria

    Mitt, Sarah & Michelle make a great trio of cowards, avoiding any questions that require serious thought & knowledge.

    Go Obama/Biden 2012!!

    June 25, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. warley

    Fodas essa porra tinha de ser pra todos que vale uma lei pra uns e outros nada

    June 25, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    Those are clown answers, bro!

    June 25, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. wade

    As well he should remain silent. He has already backed Rubios Dream Act the one Obama stole but did not allow congress the right people to rule on. I happen to agree with the act but hate the KING who thought it did not require Congress.

    June 25, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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