It's All Politics
2:35 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Senate's Top Republican Seeks A Cue From Romney On Immigration

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 2:42 am

President Obama has certainly put Republicans in a tricky spot with his action to essentially activate parts of the DREAM Act that would defer deportations for certain young illegal immigrants.

Come out against the president's stance, popular with many Latino voters but not exclusively so, and Republicans run the risk of further alienating many of those voters.

But come out in support of the president's act, and many conservatives in the Republican base could get angry.

Also, GOP lawmakers aren't exactly all on the same page on the issue. And it appears, as we posted about earlier, that a majority of voters support Obama's position.

So it makes political sense that if there were ever a time for one party leader to allow another party leader to go out first, this is one of those times.

On Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and the Senate minority leader, told reporters he would let the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee first announce a position on Obama's decision before offering his own position publicly.

The Washington Post reported that McConnell told reporters:

" 'I think we're going to wait and see what Gov. Romney has to say, and we're going to be discussing his views on this,' McConnell told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. 'I think many of us may have similar views. Others may not.'

"McConnell said he was deferring to Romney because the former Massachusetts governor is 'the leader of our party from now until November — and, we hope, beyond.' "

During the weekend, Romney said he disagreed with Obama's decision. But he didn't spell out what he would do if he wins the White House, as in whether he would repeal the action or not. Romney may give a more definitive answer when he appears Thursday in Florida at a meeting of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democrat who serves as Senate majority leader, had fun at McConnell's and Romney's expense.

The Hill newspaper reported Reid telling reporters:

" 'I can't imagine that he's going to get an answer very soon. Romney has had four, five days, and he was asked four different times on the Schieffer program this weekend what he wanted to do, and he wouldn't answer,' Reid said in reference to CBS's Face the Nation."

Reid was in a mischievous mood. He channeled Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in answering a reporter's question as to whether the majority leader would bring the DREAM Act to a Senate floor vote to smoke out Republicans.

"That's a clown question, bro," Reid said, triggering a gale of journalistic laughter.

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