The renewed spotlight on immigration comes as Romney tries to narrow Obama’s wide lead among Hispanic voters. The candidates will address a national group of Latino officials this week in Orlando, where Romney will face pressure to further define his position.
Romney made his first extensive comments in the CBS interview about immigration policy since Obama’s announcement Friday regarding the citizenship status of child immigrants who go on to become law-abiding residents.
When anchor Bob Schieffer asked Romney whether he would repeal Obama’s policy, he said: “Well, it would be overtaken by events, if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution, with legislation which creates law that relates to these individuals such that they know what their setting is going to be, not just for the term of a president but on a permanent basis.”
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, suggested that Obama’s decision was motivated by politics, not policy.
“If he felt seriously about this he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn’t. He saves these sort of things until 41
2 months before the general election,” Romney said. Campaign politics, he added, was “certainly a big part of the equation.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been trying to draft compromise legislation for young immigrants, but Romney largely has been standoffish, declining to take a position on the outlines Rubio has described.
And in his campaign appearances Sunday in Ohio, Romney never mentioned immigration. Instead, he focused almost exclusively on the economy and sharply criticized the president’s stewardship of it.
In a sign that the campaign is intensifying, though, Romney was followed by hecklers at two of his rallies; at an event in Troy, about a dozen Obama supporters shouted, “Romney, go home!” and “We are the 99 percent!” throughout Romney’s eight-minute speech. Earlier Sunday, Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted: “I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt’s route.”
When Romney’s bus drove in dramatic fashion onto a rolling apple orchard in Brunswick, his breakfast crowd was drenched and the pancakes were soggy. But the candidate — accompanied on Father’s Day by his wife, Ann; two of their five sons; and five grandchildren — pointed to the weather as a political good omen.
“I didn’t know it was going to rain this morning,” Romney said, as the storm clouds began to drift east. “It looks like the sun is coming out. I think that’s a metaphor for the country. The sun is coming out, guys. Three-and-a-half years of dark clouds are about to part.”