Mitt Romney’s campaign said Wednesday that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will “study and consider’’ the immigration bill outlined by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, but it stopped short of offering an endorsement.
Rubio, a rising GOP star rumored to be a possible running mate for Romney, said Tuesday that he is putting together a conservative alternative to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. That bill, supported by Democrats and popular among Latinos, would facilitate citizenship for illegal immigrant youths who enroll in college or enlist in the military.
The plan by Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, would allow these young illegal immigrants to stay in the United States but would deny them citizenship.
The Wall Street Journal and NBC News reported that Romney cited a Republican version of the DREAM Act as an important overture to Hispanic voters when he spoke Sunday at a private fund-raiser in Palm Beach, Fla. Romney opposes the DREAM Act as written.
Rubio said Tuesday that he did not consult Romney before drawing up his plan, but added that “it’s important for him to feel comfortable with and be supportive of whatever endeavor we pursue.’’
Though stricter than the DREAM Act, Rubio’s proposal still might conflict with Romney’s firm stance on illegal immigration.
“I’d build a fence, I’d hire border patrol agents to secure it, I’d make sure that we crack down on employers that hire people who are here illegally and make sure they use a system like E-Verify,’’ Romney said last week at a rally in Warwick, R.I.
Romney’s position on immigration has contributed to his deficit among Hispanic voters. A Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday showed that 67 percent of registered Latino voters support President Obama, compared with only 27 percent who back Romney.
Lately, Romney has stressed his support of legal immigration and has said the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party, is “the pro-immigration party.’’
“We are the party that values legal immigration,’’ he said in Warwick. “We welcome people coming here legally; it’s a source of strength for us. Theirs is the party that talks about it, but does nothing about it. I want to make sure we stop illegal immigration, so we can protect legal immigration.’’
— Callum Borchers
Poll finds voters still wary over economic outlook
A rising number of Americans see improvement in the economy, but a persistent wariness about their own financial circumstances is allowing Mitt Romney to persuade voters that he could improve their economic prospects more than President Obama, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The general election match between Obama and Romney is opening with evidence that economic conditions are providing ammunition for both candidates.
For Obama, there is a gradually growing perception that the general outlook is turning brighter, and for Romney, there are those individuals who are still not feeling substantial improvement in their own lives.
The poll found that the two men are locked in a tight race, with each gathering 46 percent support.
Nearly an equal number of voters say they are as confident in Romney’s ability to make the right decisions on the economy and to be commander-in-chief as express confidence in Obama.
While the poll shows that Romney has a significant entree with voters who are frustrated at the direction of the country, Obama may have the upper hand when it comes to economic policy debates.
A majority of voters say upper-income Americans pay less than their fair share of taxes, while half say capital gains and dividends should be taxed at the same rate as income from work — a disparity highlighted by Romney’s own effective tax rate of about 15 percent.
Nearly 40 percent of Americans say they have been falling behind financially in recent years, an 11-point increase from four years ago.
About one-quarter of people say the future of the next generation of Americans will be better, while nearly half say it will be worse.
Nearly the same percentage of Americans expressed a bleak outlook in early 1992, when George H.W. Bush faced reelection and ultimately lost to Bill Clinton.
The nationwide poll was conducted from last Friday through Tuesday on landline telephones and cellphones with 957 adults, including 852 registered voters.
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for all adults and voters.
The survey offers a snapshot of the landscape as the race begins to take shape.
The battle by his opponents to define Romney is underway, with a particular focus on his wealth, and this could already be influencing some voters.
— New York Times
Kelly, Barber will battle for Giffords’ former seat
NEW YORK — Republican voters in Arizona chose Jesse Kelly on Tuesday to face off against Ron Barber in the special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Gabrielle Giffords.
Kelly, a Tucson businessman who nearly won a bid in 2010 to unseat Giffords, garnered nearly 36 percent of the vote to emerge from a field of four Republican candidates, according to unofficial election results.
Barber is a former aide to Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a January 2011 shooting that left six people dead. He was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Giffords resigned in January to focus on her recovery. She was first elected to the seat in 2006 as a moderate Democrat in a swing district.
— New York Times