Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has still not come up with a clear response to either President Obama’s executive order halting the deportation of DREAM Act eligible youth or the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down much of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law, but it was prepared with an immediate statement on Obama’s joke about the Boston Red Sox.
Romney — who took widespread criticism for failing to come up with specific response to Obama’s executive order — has doubled down on his refusal to say anything that could upset either Latino voters or the Republican party’s nativist fringe, by essentially ducking Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070. Romney refused to answer media questions on the subject, although he eventually told donors that “I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states not less.”
Romney’s advisers have had a hard time explaining their candidate’s position on the subject. Case in point: senior adviser Carlos Gutierrez spent a full four minutes dogding questions about Romney’s stance on SB 1070 during an appearance on CNN’s “Starting Point” Tuesday morning:
Think Progress has a partial transcript of their exchange:
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN (HOST): Does Mitt Romney support SB 1070, yes or no?
GUTIERREZ: Soledad, it’s a little bit more complicated –
O’BRIEN: It’s not.
GUTIERREZ: But what the governor has said and made a statement yesterday, he supports the right of border states to do what they have to do according to the law –
O’BRIEN: Does that include — does that include stopping and detaining anyone and check the immigration status of that person, if they have reasonable suspicion if the person is in the country illegally? […]
GUTIERREZ: This is not about Governor Romney –
O’BRIEN: It is if he wants to be president…I want to know what his position is.
GUTIERREZ: His position is that we have a mess and need a national policy.
Although the Romney campaign can’t come up with a coherent response on immigration, it had no trouble finding the words to blast President Obama over the latest made-up “gaffe” of the campaign.
On Monday, Obama joked to a Boston crowd “I just want to say thank you for Youkilis,” in a reference to the recent trade of the Red Sox first baseman. The crowd of Red Sox fans booed, leading Obama to laugh and remark “I’m just saying, he’s going to have to change the color of his socks.”
To the Romney campaign, this was apparently a grievous error. It fired off an email this morning smugly declaring that Obama “went to the heart of Red Sox nation and committed an error,” and ripping the president for choosing “to mock them for trading away one of its favorite players at a time when the team is struggling.”
So, to recap: Romney can’t come up with a coherent answer on immigration over the course of several days, but he can instantly get involved in an argument over baseball.
Diversions like this reinforce the notion that Romney doesn’t have the courage to take a stand on tough issues, a perception that could badly damage him in the campaign. Additionally, given Romney’s well-established problems talking about “sport,” the whole episode comes off as rather disingenuous. Maybe Romney’s impassioned defense of Red Sox fans would be easier to believe if he actually knew anything about the team.