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Romney won't say he'll overturn immigration order

Posted: June 17, 2012 10:49 a.m.
Updated: June 17, 2012 10:49 a.m.
 

 

BRUNSWICK, Ohio (AP) — Mitt Romney is refusing to say that he would overturn President Barack Obama's new policy allowing some young illegal immigrants to stay in the United States.

The Republican presidential candidate was asked three times in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" whether he would overturn the executive order issued Friday if he's elected in the fall. He refused to directly answer.

"It would be overtaken by events," Romney said when pressed for the second time by moderator Bob Schieffer during the interview taped Saturday while the former Massachusetts governor's bus tour stopped in Pennsylvania.

He explained the order would become irrelevant "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's Rust Belt tour swept through Ohio on Sunday. He attended a Father's Day pancake breakfast with two of his sons and five of his 18 grandchildren. He told a rain-soaked crowd that the weather was a metaphor for the country and that "three and half years of dark clouds are about to part."

He planned two additional stops in the state Sunday.

In the TV interview, Romney suggested that Obama's decision on immigration was motivated by politics. "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 four and a half months before the general election," he said.

Obama adviser David Plouffe, sent by the White House to four of the talk shows, contended that Obama's action, which appeals to Hispanic voters who are critical to the president's re-election effort, was not "a political move."

Obama's order has put Romney in the difficult position, forcing him to decide between possibly alienating Hispanic voters with tough talk or stoking anger within a conservative GOP base that was slow to warm to him during the primary process.

Romney's comments represent a further softening of his rhetoric on immigration since the GOP primary campaign ended.

For example, before the Iowa caucuses in January, when he faced the challenge of winning over the right-wing base of the GOP, he pledged to veto legislation backed by Democrats that would have created a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Instead of emphasizing the plight of illegal immigrants, Romney focused on the consequences illegal immigration has for U.S. jobs.

Obama's immigration announcement disrupted the start of Romney's five-day bus tour through small cities and towns in six important states.

The tour, now on its third day, scheduled two stops are in Ohio towns just outside the metropolitan areas of Cleveland and Columbus. Romney spent the first two days in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, where he assailed Obama and insisted that he's the candidate who will give middle-class Americans "a fair shot."

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