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Romney Tells Ailing GOP Not To Change ‘Principles’ On Immigration

After hedging his bets and unsuccessfully campaigning for the GOP presidential bid on an anti-immigration platform, Mitt Romney announced this past weekend that the Republican Party should not change its principles on immigration.

Mitt Romney

During the 2007-2008 election cycle, Romney was said to have been taking cues from anti-immigration zealot, Pat Buchanan, who warned Republicans that “pandering to Hispanics has cost them white votes.” Romney spent upwards of $1.5 million on harsh immigration ads and is now saying that repairing the GOP’s relationship with Hispanic voters is simply a matter of “messaging”:

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re also facing a demographic problem. Mike Murphy, the Republican strategist, points this out in Time magazine this week. He says the Republicans are facing an ice age. And what he points to is the fact that in the last election and if you look at polling today, the Republican Party is losing young people. It is losing Latinos. It is losing well-educated Americans. That this really is a time, that if the Republican Party doesn’t reform, Mike Murphy says, it will die. How specifically should the Republican Party expand its outreach right now, become a more inclusive party for those voter groups that it is now losing?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, what you don’t do is try and change your principles. But what you do is make sure that you’re communicating your principles in an effective way to the audiences of America that are listening…You got to make sure that you fight very hard to get your message through. And you’re right, George, in many cases, the people on the opposition said that Republicans were anti-immigrant, which - nothing could be further from the truth. Republicans celebrate immigrants coming legally into this country, even becoming citizens…We’re a party that loves legal immigration.

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Romney’s new messaging also involves flip-flopping on immigration reform for the second time. After conveniently changing his stance from favoring a path to citizenship to outright opposing comprehensive immigration reform in an attempt to drive a wedge between himself and his opponent John McCain, Romney recently suggested that “one way to attract more minorities to the GOP is to pass immigration reform before the next election.”


Romney was labeled the “hypocrite of the week” in late 2006 when it was discovered that not only did his family flee to Mexico and stay there for three generations, he also hired undocumented Guatemalan workers to clean up his yard.

Andrea Christina Nill

Republished with permission from the Wonk Room/Think Progress