Thursday, November 29, 2007

Immigration Fireworks at GOP Debate; Romney and Guiliani as the "Newest Nativists"?

188pxromney1 195pxrudy_giuliani There were some immigration fireworks last night at the CNN/YouTube GOP presidential debate last night in St. Petersburg, Florida. Unlike previous debates in which the candidates focused their attacks on Hillary Clinton, Wednesday night saw the candidates attack each other. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney traded jabs over immigration, which they have been arguing about on the campaign trail. As CNN described it,

"Romney attacked Giuliani's record, saying that as mayor, he promoted illegal immigration. And Giuliani shot back, accusing Romney of having a "sanctuary mansion" at his own home. "In his case, there were six sanctuary cities. He did nothing about them. There was a sanctuary mansion -- at his own home, illegal immigrants were being employed," Giuliani said.

Romney denied Giuliani's allegation, and the two raised their voices as they tried to talk over each other.

In his quest to appeal to the hard-line immigration wing of the party, Romney also turned some of his fire on the same topic toward former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has been rising in the polls. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has anchored his candidacy on securing the borders and cracking down on illegal immigration, seemed delighted with the give and take, saying the other candidates were trying to "out-Tancredo" him."

For the YouTube question and the heated Romney/Guliani exchange on immigration, click here.


The immigration discussion at the debate has brought forth much commentary.  NPR's "All things Considered" interviewed Susan Gzesh (University of Chicago) on some of the legal and ethical issues facing homeowners (or mansionowners) hiring workers.  The Washington Post comments on the Romney/Guiliani immigration tiff and refers to them as the "newest nativists," while offering some kind words to Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee.


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