Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney questioned rival Mike Huckabee on the immigration issue during the last big debate among the GOP candidates and now Romney’s airing the issue on Iowa television stations.
Romney discussed his latest campaign ad during an interview with Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic. “We’re getting very close now to the time when people will make up their minds. I think Governor Huckabee was desperately hoping people wouldn’t look at his record or his positions,” Romney said. “He’s a great guy. We agree on a lot of things. We’re both pro-life. We’re both (in favor of) traditional marriage, but his view on illegal immigration is very different than mine.”
In the ad, Romney criticizes Huckabee for allowing in-state tuition breaks for Arkansas students who were illegal immigrants. In The Atlantic interview, Romney highlighted his own veto of a bill that he says would have done the same thing. But Romney went further, questioning Huckabee’s record of pardoning convicted felons or commuting their prison terms to time served. “I read he gave over 1,000 pardons and commutations. The number I gave as governor was zero,” Romney said. “My view is if a jury of one’s peers decides that someone should go to jail for committing a crime, I’m not going to step in and say, ‘I know better than everybody else.'”
Today at one o’clock, all the Republican candidates will appear at The Des Moines Register’s debate at Iowa Public Television studios in Johnston, and these subjects are likely to be aired as Huckabee’s showing in polls has risen. Romney may also question Huckabee’s record on fiscal issues, as Romney raised the issue during The Atlantic interview. “He took spending in Arkansas from $6.7 billion to $16 billion and that’s just unheard of — and raised taxes by about $500 million dollars,” Romney said. “We’ve got very different records, very different views and in the short time we have it’s important to point out differences between us.”
Iowa Public Television will carry this afternoon’s Republican candidate forum live and rebroadcast it this evening at seven.