December 11th, 2007
03:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Romney mailer hits rivals on immigration in South Carolina

The Romney campaign is going after three of its rivals on immigration.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - On the same day former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney went on the airwaves in Iowa attacking Republican rival Mike Huckabee's record on illegal immigration, his campaign in South Carolina sent out a new mailer hitting three of Romney's fellow presidential contenders on the issue.

The mail piece, obtained by CNN, is the first from any presidential hopeful in the state to draw a direct contrast with a rival on an issue. Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul have so far sent out more mail this cycle than any candidate in the state.

"Compare the records on illegal immigration" is the headline of the mailer, which blasts Huckabee ("Special Benefits for Illegals"), former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ("A Sanctuary City") and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson ("A Do Nothing Record"). Meanwhile, Romney has a "record of results" and provides "strong leadership on illegal immigration."

[Click here to read the mail piece.]

Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has suffered political damage because of his past immigration positions, is not mentioned. McCain is currently running fifth in South Carolina, behind Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani and Thompson.

The Romney campaign, which has seen Mike Huckabee sap their support from social conservatives in Iowa and South Carolina, took special aim at the former Arkansas governor: he is the only candidate featured on the mailer who receives a big red stamp of disapproval reading, "Supports De Facto Amnesty."

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Fred Thompson • John McCain • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Rudy Giuliani • South Carolina
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    Romney is a snake, a snake with money. And he lies one way or another, depending on the audience or which office he is running for.

    He'd make the perfect republican nominee. Republicans can identify with this kind of reptilian man.

    December 11, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. zack,Newton,Iowa

    Talk of Desperation from Hillaryland. No trick will work. Atleast for now...

    December 11, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Romney2008

    Go Romney!

    I am so sick of illegals getting into our country to mooch off of our hospitals, schools and other benefits LEGAL TAX PAYING CITIZENS have to foot the bill for.

    Snaps to Romney for calling out Giuliani and Huck for being soft on illegal immigrants.

    December 11, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Jean Odneal, Dallas, TX

    Mitt Romney did a great job for his state as governor, no lies there. It is well known, published in the Dallas Morning News, that Mike Huckabee is for immigration "opposed banning state services for illegal immigrants", also "favors conditional path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the country." Hurray for Mitt Romney in mailing out flyers on this subject of immigration!

    December 11, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Robert, Shelton, CT

    tasteless, I would never have voted for these other politicians, but this attack is plain and simply tasteless.

    December 11, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Jay, Montreal, QC

    Truth or lies, the first one to pull out the guns? - this could be the death of Mitt Romney.

    December 11, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Travis

    Ouch Huck, don't like your turn under the microscope do you.

    December 11, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Jessie

    I am just wondering why the Republicans did nothing about illegal immigration during their one party rule from 2001 to last year? Have they set it up to be a wedge issue since they really have no leg to stand on. Remember they tried this with Regan and he did nothing either.

    December 11, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Reality Check

    Robert in CT:

    Why is the truth "tasteless"? I would venture to say that Rudy and Huck are just plain "tasteless" choices. Romney SHOULD inform the public of their decisions, published opinions and stances on issues. Shouldn't we all get all the information on a candidate as to make the best decision?

    There is nothing tasteless about telling the truth.

    December 11, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. LB, Franklin Lakes, NJ

    So one day Romney said:

    "With these 11 million people [here illegally], let's have them registered, know who they are….those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship." – Lowell Sun, 3/30/06

    And another day Romney said:

    "One simple rule: no amnesty. If that [Kennedy-McCain bill] is not a form of amnesty, I don't know what is." – New York Times, 6/4/07

    What will he say tomorrow?

    December 11, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    Wait a minute.

    Isn't this the same Mitt Romney whose own personal "don't ask, don't tell policy" let let illegals work for substandard wages on his own property?

    It's nice that Romney called out Mike, Rudy and Fred on this issue, but the Mittster isn't clean on illegals himself. Of course that never stopped him before.

    That's OK though, after the next election Mitt Romney will have the opportunity to help the GOP by hiring some of those out-of-work Republicans to keep his landscaping up to snuff.

    You know, considering how many Republicans will be looking for employment after January 2009, there soon may be no more open jobs here in the U.S., and maybe then the illegals will all go home.

    Sounds like a win-win to me.

    December 11, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Reality Check


    Do yourself a favor and watch or listen to a rep debate. Romney said no amnesty, but welcomes immigrants. He has said often that they should get in line like everyone else.

    I didn't think that was hard to follow. What are you confused on? Romney welcomes legal immigrants and isn't going to let the illegals cut in line. He has said that at least 25 times.

    December 11, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Reality Check


    You do know the difference between directly hiring illegals and hiring a company who in turn hires illegals, don't you.

    Romney didn't personally hire an illegal immigrant. He hired a company. The company hired the illegal immigrant. The company is at fault, not Romney.

    I suppose that if he were to buy a Big Mac at McD's and the cashier was an illegal, he should be held responsible for that too? Same situation.

    BTW – as soon as he found out that the company still hired illegals, he quit doing business with them.

    What else is he supposed to do. Ask for work permits for every person he comes in contact with in a business transaction? That is absolutely crazy.

    December 11, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Jo R, Buena Park, CA

    Let me tell you all who have send your comments on this issue why neither Rep. candidate will be willing to stop Illegal Immigration;
    Cuz all candidates understand how much is important to have this people on this side of the border for the best of the econom

    December 11, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix AZ

    Laying out the facts is hardly an "attack". Huckster just doesn't like it now that people are actually looking at his past and his positions.

    I think it's about time. I want to see the candidates clearly distinguish themselves. Romney needs to start pounding the experience and accomplishments drum. Besides Giuliani (who comes with a lot of bagagge–corruption, cronyism, liberal policies), none of the other candidates hold a candle to Romney's accomplishments–in business, as governor of MA, and with the SLC Olmypics. He is a PROVEN LEADER who has time after time rolled up his sleeves and intelligently solved big problems.

    December 11, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Eric, Salt Lake City, Utah

    LB from NJ, thank you for pointing out the false distinctions (and Romney's political facade).

    I'm just glad that some people realize that McCain was excoriated not for his difference in policy, but for trying to reach consensus on a problem which everyone else was happy to ignore and leave for later. Maybe deadlock is better sometimes, but there's a bit too much of that all or nothing approach in DC these days.

    For those who care about electability, you might want to look at the difference between top GOP choices, and those who have the best shot of winning over independents head-to-head against the top Dems.

    December 11, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. susan Mark, Salt Lake City Utah

    __Romney is playing an offensive strategy after being on the defense the whole campaign. No other Republican candidate has been put through the ringer like Romney has. Answering questions about his religion, morality etc.
    Because of this Romney has the RIGHT to do some questioning and reproving himself. In his mailers he seems to be confronting wrongs that need righting. He is showing that he can ask the hard questions, walk the walk and talk the talk. We don't need a wimpy President, who will just say to every Dictator, well I guess you didn't mean to do that. We need a person who will stand up to China, Terrorists and Chavez.
    Romney should ask the other candidates to explain themselves on platform points that need clarity.
    Go Mitt Go.. keep those mailers coming.

    December 11, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. John Allen, Boston MA

    The Sanctuary City of Guiliani housed millions of people. Huckeypie wants to give our tax money to illegal immigrants. Romney's the only one who has this immigration thing right. Go Mitt!

    December 11, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  19. Gary Denson Bloomington Indiana

    It looks like things are heating up and illegal immigration is fueling the fire and rightly so. Americans are fed up with wink wink look the other way and let business hire cheap labor. The theme that will win in 2008 will be just say no to business.Big business has been allowed to run roughshod over our government the past 15 years and if nothing is done they will destroy the country.
    No illegal immigrants, no privatizing social security, no free trade and no out or insourcing. Prosper America first!!!

    December 11, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  20. Liberal Chic

    Romney is such a strait-laced sort of guy. I hate seeing how that crazy looney Huckabee has stolen his thunder. Romney's gotta do what he's gotta do to overcome the stupid Mormon-fear among our dumb public.

    December 12, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  21. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    It is almost unbelievable that Mitt Romney would try to use the subject of illegal immigration to criticize anyone.

    People who are concerned about illegal immigration need to know something about Mitt Romney that he isn't going to tell you.

    Here in Utah — a state with which Romney has deep philosophical and emotional ties (remember who saved the 2002 Olympics, everyone?) — we already have what basically amounts to a "sanctuary" policy in place. We are one of the mere handful of states that actually permits an illegal alien to obtain a driver's license, which in turn opens the door to automobile loans, rental arrangements, mortgages, bank accounts, etc — in other words, all those things that people who have broken our laws need in order to be able to continue to function in American society. Even employees of government agencies — welfare workers, law enforcement, child and family service workers, etc — are all "strongly discouraged" and many times forbidden outright from reporting illegal aliens to ICE when they encounter them (as I know first hand, being a state employee who has received just such admonitions).

    But wait. Is this because Utah is such a progressive state, so well known for its tradition of liberal thought?


    Utah's sanctuary policy stems directly from the influence and control of the LDS Church, whose members make up 99% of the State Legislature. The LDS Church (of which Mr. Romney so recently reminded us that he is an active, fully believing member) openly encourages this "don't ask, don't tell" approach to illegals largely because of such people's Hispanic origins, based on the church's desire to counteract the theme of racism toward native Americans contained in the Book of Mormon. (Please don't take my word for this — you can go to any search engine and enter the words: Mormon, Indian, skin, white — and you will learn that the Book of Mormon casts God Himself as a white-skinned racist who curses people by giving them dark skin in order to promote segregation. Little known, seldom spoken of, but true.)

    So even though Mr. Romney may say one thing on the subject of illegal immigration in order to try to win over your vote, he has another master to serve with different ideas that he will have to consider. So I'd like to issue the following challenge to Mr. Romney on the matter of illegal immigration:

    Governor Romney, if you truly are opposed to the sanctuary policies you accuse your opponents of, then please put your actions where your current rhetoric is. You may not have ever been the governor of Utah, but you know perfectly well that you carry weight and influence in the Beehive State. I challenge you to publicly call on Utah's Governor John Huntsman and the Utah Legislature to repeal the sanctuary policies mentioned above, and to henceforward require all persons acting in any official capacity in state or local government throughout Utah to vigorously assist ICE and other federal agencies in the enforcement of existing immigration law.

    I further challenge your own staff to bring this situation to your urgent attention, and I invite your opponents and the media to monitor and report on whether you are willing to confront the sanctuary policies encouraged by your own religious leaders in Utah or not.

    If you don't, can't, or won't do this, then anything you have to say about anyone else's positions or actions concerning illegal immigration must be taken as the empty words of a mere politician.

    December 12, 2007 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  22. K Wilkinson MG TX





    December 12, 2007 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  23. Alexis, Northampton, MA

    I am not a super liberal or anything, but I do understand basic politics, economics, and basic human rights. As far as I can tell, Romney will just be another dogmatic politician who won't get anything passed on immigration that will please either side of the aisle. His unwillingness to compromise and hardline attitude on the issue in unrealistic and not deserving of any sort of praise or respect. Also, the fact that Romney has been proven to have employed multiple firms with illegal immigrant workers simply highlights the fact that even if you are an uber-conservative, immigrants are a part of this country and economy that won't be going anywhere soon, no matter what legislation they pass in Washington.

    December 12, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Kristy Sanborhn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I don't know where you were for months this year, when our Republican President and several others (even some democrats) worked very hard on an immigration reform bill, but Congress didn't pass it. The vote was close, and only a few more votes would have had it, but it didn't pass.
    Its not like they didn't try to resolve the illegal immigration problem this country has, but our country's congress wouldn't let them.
    Thats why its an issue now, where if it had passed, it would be a resolved issue right now.

    December 13, 2007 02:15 am at 2:15 am |