Mitt Romney senior adviser Carlos Gutierrez dodged repeated questions about the candidate’s position on Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law during an appearance on CNN Tuesday morning — just one day after the Supreme Court invalidated its key provisions and reiterated that the federal government has authority over immigration policy.
Instead, Gutierrez blamed President Obama for failing to lead on the issue and reiterated that Romney believes states should be given more latitude to enforce immigration laws. He refused to say if Romney actually supports the law:
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.
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Romney was far more direct about his support for SB 1070 during the GOP presidential primary. At a CNN debate in February, the former Massachusetts governor said that the state’s law should serve as “model” for the nation and promised to drop the federal government’s challenge to the law, adding, “just as Arizona is finding out, you can stop illegal immigration. It’s time we finally did it.”
He initially refused to opine on the Court’s decision on Monday, but later told funders, “ I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states not less.”