MIAMI, Florida — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been one of the most influential figures in immigration policy over the past few years, authoring the infamous anti-immigration laws passed in Arizona, Alabama, and South Carolina. This has made him highly controversial, but GOP front-runnner Mitt Romney touted Kobach’s endorsement. “With Kris on the team, I look forward to working with him to take forceful steps to curtail illegal immigration,” Romney said in press release earlier this month.
But when ThinkProgress tried to ask two key Romney backers, who also helped organize a major gathering of Hispanic Republicans here, if they worried about Kobach, we ran into a problem — they didn’t even know who he was. At the Hispanic Leadership Network conference Friday, where Romney spoke earlier, we spoke with former Senator Norm Coleman and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who have both endorsed Romney and who both helped organize the conference as chairman of its main sponsor and co-chair of the conference itself, respectively.
Asked if he thought that Kobach’s association with Romney could hurt the GOP frontrunner, Gutierrez replied, “I don’t know Kris Kobach, sorry.”
When asked the same question, Coleman stalled for a moment before telling us, “I don’t know Kobach, to be honest.” When told who he is, Coleman replied, “I have no idea.” Watch Coleman’s response: