GOP Pres. Debate: Perry Booed on Illegal Immigration, Romney & ALIPAC Respond


After Rick Perry’s responses on matters relating to illegal immigration, Republican presidential debate last night, Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) issued the following press release:

GOP Presidential primary front runner Rick Perry will likely experience a significant drop in support after the crowd booed him tonight at the CNN and Tea Party debate during discussions of his support for in-state tuition for illegal aliens, which is opposed by 81% of Americans according to numerous polls.

“Perry was the first GOP candidate that the crowd booed tonight, and they started to boo as he rationalized his support for in-state tuition for illegal aliens,” said William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. “We are about to see what we will call the ‘Perry Plunge’ in the polls since surveys show 81% of Americans oppose the kind of illegal immigrant support legislation he signed into law in Texas.”

A recent Rasmussen Poll released on August 23, 2011 showed 81% of Americans oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens. This poll confirms a JWP Civitas Poll run in North Carolina in 2005 that also showed 81% opposition.

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC has helped to defeat in-state tuition legislation in twenty states in the last six years by simplifying the public’s message in opposition to such benefits for illegal aliens.

“In-state tuition for illegal immigrants forces taxpayers to pay more in taxes to replace their own children in the limited seats in our colleges,” said William Gheen. “Generations of Americans have built these universities with our taxes and tuition, and it is reprehensible that our own government would give our money to help illegal immigrants displace and replace American students in college.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry contradicted himself tonight by claiming that the federal government has failed in its job to secure the border, while also maintaining that immigration matters, such as his support for the Texas Dream Act tuition legislation, is a states’ rights issue.

“Rick Perry needs to understand that no wall will stop illegal immigrants from coming in when they know they can get taxpayer tuition breaks for college, free education, free health care, welfare benefits, child subsidies, food stamps, and ballot access here in America!” exclaimed William Gheen. “Rick Perry is off base with 4 out of 5 of Americans on this issue and should thus be considered by voters to be disqualified for the position as President.”

For more information about public attitudes related to illegal immigration or to schedule interviews, please visit www.ALIPAC.us which is the world’s largest and most comprehensive source of information on these issues.

Transcript from CNN/Tea Party debate – Romney’s response to Rick Perry (and Jon Huntsman’s form of driver’s licenses for illegals in Utah):

BLITZER: All right. Governor Romney, do you have a problem with either what Governor Huntsman did in Utah or Governor Perry did in Texas ?

FORMER GOV. ROMNEY (R-MA.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah, with both, actually. The question began by saying how do we attract Latino voters. And the answer is by telling them what they know in their heart, which is they or their ancestors did not come here for a handout. If they came here for a handout, they’d be voting for Democrats. They came here for opportunity and freedom. And that’s what we represent. And that’s why we’ll win collecting support from Latinos across the country.

With regards to illegal immigration, of course we build a fence and of course we do not give instate tuition credits to people who come here illegally. That only attracts people to come here and take advantage of America ‘s great beneficence.

And with regards to giving driver’s licenses to people that are here illegally, that creates a patina of legal status. There are sanctuary cities in some parts of the country.

One of the things I did in my state was to say, look, I’m going to get my state police authorized to be able to enforce immigration laws and make sure those people who we arrest are put in jail, to find out they’re here illegally, we’re going to get them out of here.

We have to recognize that this is the party that believes in supporting the law. We’re going to enforce the law. We’re the party of opportunity, we’re also the party of legal law abiding citizens. And that’s something we’re going use to attract people of all backgrounds.

(emphasis added)

H/t Crystal, ALIPAC

► Jayde Wyatt

CNN/Tea Party Pres. Debate: Favorable Reviews for Mitt Romney

GOP presidential candidates appear on stage at the CNN/Tea Party debate last night in Tamp, FL. 9/12/11 (photo by David and Holloway/CNN)

What a night for Mitt Romney at the GOP CNN/Tea Party debate in Tampa, Florida! He more than held his own and by some early accounts – won – in a crowd that clearly had a likin’ for Rick Perry (although Perry faded in the last half; the crowd didn’t like his gardasil vaccine mandate and he received boo’s on his immigration stance.)

The reviews…

The Weekly Standard – Fred Barnes (my favorite article)

Romney’s Win

If a debate more than four months before the first vote is cast can influence the outcome of a presidential nomination race, the debate last night among eight Republicans should aid Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Seldom has there been as clear a winner.

Romney was crisp and succinct, prepared and focused, and aggressive in going after his chief rival for the GOP presidential nomination, Texas governor Rick Perry, when he needed to be. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, showed once again that he’s a far better candidate now than he was four years ago.

He did well in these instances, among others: spelling out the differences between the health care plan he championed in Massachusetts and Obamacare; explaining the problem with the Fair Tax is that it gives short shrift to the middle class; pointing out the built-in advantages Perry has in Texas in governing successfully; and refraining from boasting, except to say that “if America needs a turnaround, that’s what I do.”

Romney challenged Perry on Social Security at the outset of the debate, which was held in Florida and billed as a collaboration of CNN and various Tea Party organizations. It was Tea Party people who asked the questions, mostly better ones than a panel of reporters or pundits would probably have asked.

The first question was on Social Security, which Perry has called a Ponzi scheme and a failure. Romney has suggested Perry’s view makes him unelectable.

When Perry didn’t back down from those comments, Romney jumped in with questions, and host Wolf Blitzer let him proceed. Romney asked Perry about his recent book in which he said Social Security is unconstitutional and might be better run by the states.

Perry didn’t have a ready answer, or at least not a persuasive one. Nor did he offer the one thing that I expected from him in the debate: a Perry plan for fixing Social Security’s looming insolvency. [...]
[...]
Back to Romney. The candidates were asked what they’d bring to the White House – what thing. Romney gave the best answer after repeating the Winston Churchill quotation that America always does the right thing after trying everything else first. He said he’d bring the bust of Churchill, sent away by President Obama, back to the White House.

The Daily Beast - Howard Kurtz

[…] Romney seized control of the tempo in what may have been his strongest performance so far. He seemed at ease taking the fight to Perry and got the better of their heated exchanges. The former Massachusetts governor was clearly trying to position himself as the reassuring grownup on stage and Perry as the fearmonger.

Let’s unpack their verbal clash and see what it tells us about each man and his strategy.

Perry tried to clean up his mess from last week’s MSNBC debate, when he attacked Social Security as a Ponzi scheme without suggesting how he might fix it. This time he offered those near retirement age a “slam-dunk guarantee” they’d get their benefits before hailing his own “courage” in criticizing the ailing system.

Romney didn’t miss a beat, calling Perry’s Ponzi language “over the top” and “frightful” before delivering his strongest punch: that the Texan had called Social Security unconstitutional and “not something the federal government ought to be involved in.”

The Fix (The Washington Post) – Chris Cillizza

WINNERS

Mitt Romney: Four debates. Four times Romney has wound up in the winner’s circle. It’s not a coincidence. Romney proved yet again that he is the best debater in this field with another solid performance in which he effectively downplayed his liabilities on health care and accentuated his strengths on jobs and the economy. Romney played more offense than he has in previous debates, taking the fight to Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Social Security. He also got a major assist from Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), both of whom relentlessly bashed Perry. But that’s how debates work. Romney also, smartly, ignored the tea party audience in the hall — who occasionally booed him — and focused his messaging on the much broader audience of people watching the debate on CNN.

More good reading after the fold…

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