Kobach no longer advising Romney on immigration?
Romney campaign: to Kobach or not to Kobach?
Mitt Romney’s campaign on Tuesday appeared to distance itself from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leading immigration hard liner who has served as an unpaid adviser on the issue.
Kobach was heavily involved in drafting immigration crackdown legislation that served as a model for controversial laws passed in Arizona and Alabama, and as a result, became a persona non grata, among many in the Latino community. Kobach was an innovator of the “self-deportation” strategy Romney endorsed during the GOP primary.
But Politico reported Tuesday that, when asked about his status with the campaign, the a Romney spokesperson described Kobach as merely a “supporter.”
The liberal blog ThinkProgress, however, is reporting that Kobach contradicted that assessment.
“No, my relationship with the campaign has not changed. Still doing the same thing I was doing before,” Kobach said, explaining that he was “providing advice on immigration policy.
“I don’t want to go into great detail, but I communicate regularly with senior members of Romney’s team,” he explained.
The Obama campaign pounced on the story, claiming it was evidence of a naked efforts by Romney to pivot away from the hard line immigration positions he adopted during the Republican primary in order to boost his appeal with Latino voters.
“Etch-a-Sketch moment? After telling donors he’s ‘doomed’ unless he picks up with Latinos, Mitt puts kibosh on Kobach,” tweeted Obama senior adviser David Axelrod.
Democrats are seeking to make Romney pay for using a tough stance on immigration as a major tool to outflank his GOP opponents on the right during the primary and Kobach has become a chief player in that strategy.
In many ways, Romney’s ties to Kobach are apparent. In a January statement, Romney said that he looked forward to “working with him to take forceful steps to curtail illegal immigration.” And Kobach said in a March interview with Univision that he would encourage Romney to adopt a national “self-deportation” strategy if elected president.
“I would encourage him to take a view toward incurred, you know, toward self - deportation and encouraging people to leave on their own,” Kobach said
But Romney’s official relationship with Kobach has in other ways been opaque. His campaign has rarely commented on his standing with Romney, whereas Kobach has been much more talkative about his influence.
While Romney touted Kobach’s endorsement in January, lately it’s been promoting the endorsement of more Latino-friendly advisers like former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.
A Romney adviser would not comment on the development to Univision News.