Apart from Mitt Romney‘s weird confusion over his first name last night’s GOP debate was more or less gaffe-free.
Instead the big take-away moment was Newt Gingrich‘s vehement defence of a “humane” immigration policy. An almost identical stance to Rick Perry, who practically tanked his campaign early on when he described those who believed all immigrants should be deported as “heartless.”
“I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century…And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.”
Whether or not last night’s moment will tank Gingrich’s run — if you in fact believe he actually has a shot — has thus far divided the political punditry. Gingrich had a strong debate otherwise, but immigration is a hot button issue in both Iowa and South Carolina and this stance will not play well in either key primary state.
Some think he was playing to a national general election audience, some (including the ‘Morning Joe’ crew this morning) think he stumbled and then realising what he’d said decided to double down….come what may.
That said, this is the same Gingrich who lost his staff in a mass exodus this spring and is now atop the polls so perhaps recent history (and the party’s deep, deep dislike of Romney) are on his side.
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