Romney staffer: We didn’t have to shift right on immigration

December 4, 2012

Campaign staffers from both President Obama and Mitt Romney's campaigns described the details of their operations at a forum last week sponsored by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

One issue was whether Romney’s hard-line position on illegal immigration during the primary season ultimately hurt him with Hispanic voters, who were a crucial voting bloc in the November election. The stance was an effort by Romney to position himself to the right of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom Romney criticized for allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Texas colleges.

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades acknowledged that, at a minimum, the move on immigration was unnecessary — and, in fact, was less effective against Perry than an attack that Romney made from the left.

“In retrospect, I believe that we could have probably just beaten Governor Perry with the Social Security hit,” Rhoades said, referring to Perry’s description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”

The remarks were subject to an embargo that was lifted after audio recordings were released Monday. Read the whole story here.

Karen Tumulty is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where she received the 2013 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.
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Natalie Jennings · December 4, 2012