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If you watched the CNN debate last night, you obviously know Newt Gingrich’s comment on immigration was the soundbite that dominated the spin room afterwards.
Listening to the Laura Ingraham Show this morning, fill in host Jaime Allman was trying to paint Romney as a flip flopper on immigration by playing a 2007 clip of Romney talking to Tim Russert on this contentious issue. When I heard the soundbite they played it sounded like it was cut off, and I was right. Why wouldn’t they play the whole thing? Because it would tell you the truth and destroy their narrative.
Rush Limbaugh, and Newt Gingrich even tweeted the same clip (owner of Your Tube clip is affiliated with the Tea Party).
First off, lets start with what Romney said last night on immigration:
“To say that we’re going to say to the people who have come here illegally that now you’re all going to get to stay or some large number are going to get to stay and become permanent residents of the United States, that will only encourage more people to do the same thing,” Romney declared.
Here is a excerpt of a transcript from the Romney/Russert exchange from the 2007 Meet the Press interview. The clip they played on the Laura Ingraham Show, Rush Limbaugh Show, and the link Newt Gingrich tweeted is in bold. Look what they left out of the selectively edited clip. And when you read further it goes into even more detail about what Romney would do—and it’s not Amnesty as they suggest. Why then does the conservative media not point this out or do their own homework? It’s another case of “Drive by” reporting on the right–a topic I have written about recently.
RUSSERT: The Lowell Sun, your home–one of your hometown, state home papers, said this. “Governor Mitt Romney expressed support for an immigration program that places large numbers of illegal residents on the path toward citizenship.
“‘I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country. With these 11 million people, let’s have them registered, know who they are. Those who’ve been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn’t be here; those that are paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.'”
This is George Bush and John McCain.
ROMNEY: Now let’s, now let’s look at those very carefully, OK, and you’re, you’re a careful reader. In the interview with The Boston Globe, I described all three programs that were out there, described what they were, acknowledged that they were not technically an amnesty program, but I indicated in that same interview that I had not formulated my own proposal and that I was endorsing none of those three programs. I did not support any of them. I called them reasonable. They are reasonable efforts to, to look at the problem. But I said I did not support–and I said specifically in that interview I have not formulated my own policy and have not determined which I would support. And, of course, the Cornyn proposal required all of the immigrants to go home. The McCain proposal required most of them to go home, but let some stay. And the Bush proposal I, frankly, don’t recall in that much detail. But they had very different proposals. My own view is consistent with what you saw in the Lowell Sun, that those people who had come here illegally and are in this country–the 12 million or so that are here illegally–should be able to stay sign up for permanent residency or citizenship, but they should not be given a special pathway, a special guarantee that all of them get to say here for the rest of their lives merely by virtue of having come here illegally. And that, I think, is the great flaw in the final bill that came forward from the Senate.
RUSSERT: But they shouldn’t have to go home?
ROMNEY: Well, whether they go home–they should go home eventually. There’s a set per–in my view they should be–they should have a set period during which period they, they sign up for application for permanent residency or, or for citizenship. But there’s a set period where upon they should return home. And if they’ve been approved for citizenship or for a permanent residency, well, thy would be a different matter. But for the great majority, they’ll be going home.
RUSSERT: The children they had born here are U.S. citizens, so do the children stay here and the parents go home?
ROMNEY: Well, that’s a choice, of course, the parents would, would make. But my view is that those 12 million who’ve come here illegally should be given the opportunity to sign up to stay here, but they should not be given any advantage in becoming a permanent resident or citizen by virtue of simply coming here illegally. And likewise, if they’ve brought a child to this country or they’ve had a child in this country, that’s, that’s wonderful that they’re growing their families, but that doesn’t mean that they all get to stay here indefinitely. We’re fundamentally a nation of laws. And let me underscore something here that I think’s awfully important, because this immigration debate can sound anti-immigrant to a lot of people. It’s not intended to be that by myself or, I believe, by the vast majority of others that talk about it. We value legal immigration. We welcome people coming here with different cultures and skill and education, but we are a nation of laws. And our freedoms and our liberty are associated with following the law. We have to secure our border, we have to make sure there’s an employment verification system to identify who’s here legally and who’s not. And then for the 12 million who’ve come here, welcome them to get in line with everybody else, but no special pathway.