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You know the Romney campaign is worried about whether they're going to be able to break out the Etch A Sketch successfully and erase everything Mitt Romney was saying about immigration policy during the Republican primary when they're bringing out the likes of Bay Buchanan to scream to the hills that Romney's not a flip flopper.
Buchanan appeared on Wednesday evening's Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN to tout the current campaign talking point that Mitt Romney really does not believe that Arizona's SB 1070 should be a model for the country. She and the campaign are claiming that what Romney was really talking about during the Republican debate last February, was E-Verify..
Never mind that Russell Pearce said this-- Man Behind Arizona Immigration Law: Romney ?Absolutely? Called SB-1070 A National ?Model?:
Mitt Romney had the most conservative immigration policy of any Republican presidential candidate during most of the primary, but now that?s he trying to appeal to Hispanic voters as he pivots to general election, the presumed GOP nominee has been shifting back towards the center. Yesterday, he opened to door to a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act ? a law he vowed to veto during the primary ? and earlier, he said that he never called for making Arizona?s harsh immigration law a ?model? for the nation.
But that?s not how one of the key people behind that law, former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, sees it. The former Republican lawmaker, who was ousted in a recall election, was the key force behind turning SB-1070, authored by Romney adviser Kris Kobach, into law. He told reporters today that he ?absolutely? believed Mitt Romney had endorsed the law as a model for the country. [...]
Previously, Pearce has said that Romney?s ?immigration policy is identical to mine.?
Romney has tried to distance himself from Kobach, who also helped author the controversial immigration crackdowns in Alabama, South Carolina, and other states. But Kobach quickly contradicted him, saying he regularly advises senior members of Romney?s staff.
Here's what Mitt Romney actually said during that debate on CNN in February:
KING: Governor Romney, the border security is part of the equation, what to do about whether it's 8 million or 11 million illegal immigrants in the country now is another part of the equation. And Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who's with us tonight from Maricopa County -- he's in the audience -- he told me -- he told me this week here in Mesa -- these are his words -- "it's called political garbage, if you will, to not arrest illegals already in this country."
You've talked to the governor about self-deportation, if businesses do their job, asking for the right documents, the people will leave. What about arresting? Should there be aggressive, seek them out, find them and arrest them as the Sheriff Arpaio advocates?
ROMNEY: You know, I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says -- that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on e- verify. This e-verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who's here legally and who's not here legally.
And as a result of e-verify being put in place, the number of people in Arizona that are here illegally has dropped by some 14 percent, where the national average has only gone down 7 percent. So going back to the question that was asked, the right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states that are trying to do the job Barack Obama isn't doing.
And I will drop those lawsuits on day one. I'll also complete the fence. I'll make sure we have enough border patrol agents to secure the fence. And I will make sure we have an E-Verify system and require employers to check the documents of workers, and to check E- Verify. And if an employer hires someone that has not gone through E- Verify, they're going to get sanctioned just like they do for not paying their taxes.
You do that, and just as Arizona is finding out, you can stop illegal immigration. It's time we finally did it.
If Romney doesn't support the Arizona law, why did he say he wanted the law suit against it dropped? And why did he think it was a good idea to take on an extremist like Kris Kobach for an adviser? Buchanan's remarks on CNN below the fold.
COOPER: A lot to talk about tonight with Democratic strategist, Paul Begala, who's advising the -- the leading pro-Obama super PAC. Excuse me. Also Republican strategist and senior Romney adviser, Bay Buchanan, and author of "Bay and Her Boys."
Paul Begala, where does Romney stand, do you think?
BEGALA: Well, he has now for several years been on this very strong anti-immigrant position, which has helped him in the primaries, but it's hurt him desperately with Latino voters. And I think this whole strategy is old school. Nixon used to say this, run to the right in the primaries and then run to the middle in the general election. But that -- you know, that was over 40 years. And that dog don't hunt anymore.
We have the miracle of videotape. I think this is causing him grievous damage. And I don't think he's going to be able to undo it. I think Latino voters --
COOPER: So you think he's clearly trying to pivot?
BEGALA: I think -- I think he is what my Spanish speaking friends would call (speaking in foreign language), a liar. He was -- he's lying now just to try to get the Hispanic votes. And I think voters see through that.
COOPER: Bay, where does -- A, what Paul said and also where does he stand on SB 1070?
BUCHANAN: He supports it. He's made it very clear, he supports Arizona's right to pass laws and try to enforce them when -- when the federal government is refusing to do so. So he supports that.
COOPER: But he talks about the E-Verify -- the E-Verify law, not SB 1070.
BUCHANAN: No, no, no. If you -- he supports this law. It's what the states are going to do. He believes the states have a right to do this. And he supports their designing whatever they think is necessary to protect their own citizens. He said that the law for E- Verify is a model. He likes that. He thinks all states should take a look at that and see.
COOPER: But we specifically asks --
BUCHANAN: And implement that. That the E-Verify as a model. He didn't say he doesn't support these others.
Let me make a point --
COOPER: Right. But we specifically --
COOPER: We specifically asked his campaign about SB 1070 and they gave this answer which you just gave about he supports the rights of states to make the laws.
COOPER: But that's not saying you support SB 1070. He then talks about E-Verify.
BUCHANAN: He -- but he does support this. In other words, he supports this. And if it's what the state feels is right for them, and Arizona obviously does, they passed it overwhelmingly, then he supports that. He has no problems with that. But the other thing is, he didn't say it should be a model for all states. He said the E- Verify should be a model.
But let me tell you, Paul said he's anti-immigrant. He -- Governor Romney is not anti-immigrant. He's opposed to illegal immigration. He believes the federal government has an obligation to enforce the laws of this land and secure our borders, something Barack Obama has failed to do year after year after year. And that's why the states have to take the action they do.
COOPER: So, Bay, did you say that he does believe SB 1070 should be a national model or he doesn't?
BUCHANAN: No, he never said SB 1070 should be a national model. He said E-Verify should be. But that does not suggest he doesn't support this. He thinks that North Carolina's bill is a little bit different. He supports the right for North Carolina to design what's best for North Carolina. Utah, other states, Georgia, Alabama, there's other states doing the same thing, making a little different.
He doesn't believe that this particular bill should be a model for all of the states. He thinks those states should decide for themselves. But he does think that the E-Verify law in Arizona is exceptional and would be an excellent model for other states.
BEGALA: We can go check the record, Bay. But I distinctly remember Governor Romney saying the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, is a model for the nation. He didn't say that E-Verify was a model.
BEGALA: He said SB -- well, so -- we'll look that up. We know this.
BUCHANAN: You just saw it. You just saw it. We just saw the clip.
BEGALA: That's what he say today. I know. That's what he say today now that he's lying. But when he was campaigning earlier, he said, he attacked Rick Perry on immigration.
BUCHANAN: You check that and be careful when you -- be careful when you call someone a liar. That's a little serious.
BEGALA: It is very serious. And I mean it.
BUCHANAN: You check it, if you were wrong, and you -- he's owed an apology from you, Paul Begala.
BEGALA: No, no.
BUCHANAN: If you're wrong.
BEGALA: Bay, first, he attacked John McCain on immigration in '08 from the right. He attacked Rick Perry, a very conservative guy, for signing a dream act for the state of Texas.
BEGALA: He even attacked Newt Gingrich for wanting some sort of legal status less than citizenship.
BEGALA: He attacked Rick Santorum for confirming Sonya Sotomayor to --
COOPER: We haven't been able to find him saying this should be a national model.
BEGALA: I'll check. OK.
BUCHANAN: He's made no change to his position. He continues to be opposed to any amnesty. He continues to believe that enforcing the law is essential when you're the -- part of the federal government, that that is only fair. And he believes that E-Verify is an excellent program that should be used by all businesses in this country. He has not changed his position one bit.