Martin Bashir | June 18, 2012
>>> the president has really put mitt romney into a quandary following friday's announcement on immigration, but not to worry. mitt the meanderer is negotiating with his usual combination of confusion and more confusion.
>> would you repeal this order if you became president?
>> well let's step back and look at the issue.
>> has a great allergy to specifics and details.
>> there needs to be a long-term solution.
>> it is extremely vague.
>> i won't keep on about this but just to make sure i understand.
>> this is a big problem for romney .
>> would you leave this in place while you worked out a long-term solution? or would you just repeal it?
>> we'll look at that setting as we reach that.
>> as mr. romney spoke to supporters in wisconsin earlier today he made sure to repeat his talking points about the economy. he even worked in another rousing endorsement of freedom and liberty. no word yet however on whether a president romney would repeal the new immigration order and force the deportation of nearly a million young people. we're back with our panel now. anna marie cox, julian epstein, and karen finney. julian , mitt romney says he is, and i'm quoting here, a severe conservative. so why doesn't he simply come out against the president's order on immigration, call it an amnesty, and promise to overturn it?
>> because he knows what ed rollins says is true. ed rollins said recently if the hispanic vote goes the way the african-american vote goes, republicans will never win presidential primaries. and it's just remarkable. we predicted this on the show on friday that he would try to dance around the issue and wouldn't give the american people a straight answer. you know, it's interesting because conservatives are all over the map on this even though the movement conservatives protest this in the strongest terms. marco rubio has legislation that's not too dissimilar from what the president proposes on policy. the other criticism of the president is that he should be doing this with congress but herbert walker bush and w. both supported decisions not to enforce deportation rules when it came to people in liberia, lebanon, and nicaragua, china, a whole host of other countries. so republicans are on record supporting this kind of prosecutorial discretion when it comes to not deporting immigrants. so the republicans are just in a terrible place as we predicted they would be on this issue.
>> romney won't stand up and give us a straight answer.
>> karen , he needs all the help he can get as julian has said with latinos. but i'm not sure it helps him very much when a fellow republican talks like this. take a listen.
>> you're also talking about people that came over at 16 years of age. at that point you had a say in it.
>> a 16-year-old is in a position to have a conversation with their parents about coming across the border you think?
>> believe me my 16-year-old daughter has given me input on everything the family wants to do.
>> this is one of the richest members of congress worth we believe $8.5 million, so am i mistaken in thinking he has absolutely no i dwlee it is like for families facing such a difficult decision and the idea that children as young as 16 might object to their parents and offer an alternative view if the parents decide to go across the border?
>> right. or even to be in the position to object or make choices about not going with them across the border. i mean, it's absurd. of course. you know there is another game obviously mitt romney is playing here and julian alluded to it in the other segment. that is he's not going to really directly answer any question he doesn't think he really has to. that is part of the strategy of his campaign, is to again sort of it's you not me, right? he is trying to make it about obama and therefore trying to -- he won't talk about where he is on women's issues. he won't talk about -- won't give you a specific -- there is no reason this campaign should not have been prepared for that question on sunday. this all happened on friday. granted i'm sure they had to have a little time to get over how angry they were that we'd seen reports last week that mitt romney was actually going to flip flop on immigration and stand by marco rubio . the president kind of stole his thunder there but again he should have been prepared for a better answer come sunday morning. and that's more of what we'll see from mitt romney trying to answer as few questions as possible with as little detail as possible to win the nomination.
>> is that really his strategy?
>> i think it is. he's trying to keep a blank slate as possible not even draw on the etch-a-sketch. not even have to erase it. just put nothing on it. i want to point out something i haven't heard a lot of but that this is a generational issue in addition to the issue about latinos and people of color . it's in a way the way that obama is playing a very long game here, the democrats are playing a long game. the younger you get the more you find people who are in favor of things like the dream act and it is probably because they know when they were 16 they didn't have a lot of say in what their parents did.
>> the younger you are -- the more clearly you remember that. and the democrats are really poised to be able to look at a generational shift in their favor and i don't know what the republicans are going to do. their base is literally dying off. you know, when you look at the social issues especially.
>> julian , you've been maintaining that position throughout this primary process and saying repeatedly that unless republicans come to terms with the changing demographics of this country they literally are going to become extinct as a party.
>> as i said, ed rollins just said the same thing yesterday. and it's not, i think what --
>> i think you're smarter than ed rollins .
>> he is a very, very smart guy .
>> so are you.
>> and i think what ann marie said about immigration is true of the other cultural war issues as well. same sex marriage for example. if you look at where the under 30 crowd is on that issue and on all the other culture war issues, it's not where the republicans are. so the long-term prospects of the republican party right now both in terms of the hispanic, african-american vote on the one hand, youth vote on the other handly, does not portend very well unless they do kind of what bill clinton did in the 1992 , which is understand you've got to speak to a much broader tent of people. bill clinton did that. brought the democratic party back. the republicans don't seem to have the guts to do it.
>> well, i would say, one thing i would add very quickly is that i think from the outside again karl rove does understand this friday he launched a new initiative crossroads generations geared toward going after this younger generation that they understand, you know, they're much more tolerant and feel much differently than the main stream right wing of the republican party does on these issues. so they know they have to start to appeal to younger voters.
>> karen finney, anna marie cox and julian epstein thank you so much.