From John Boehner to Sean Hannity, from Eric Cantor to Charles Krauthammer, Republicans of all stripes have spent the last week coming to terms with how they must moderate their positions on immigration in order to win the Latino vote—or eventually face irrelevance as a party. Here are even more quotes from over the weekend from Republicans encouraging their fellow GOPers to shape up on immigration:
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) talked to the Arizona Republic about how the Latino vote will only grow: “It’s obvious that we’ll have to review the whole issue of the Hispanic voter and see what steps we need to take to regain that vote. It’s very important because that demographic is growing here in Arizona and across the country. In some of the states like Colorado and Nevada, especially those, and others the Hispanic vote was pivotal. We’ll have to review the issue of immigration reform.”
Carlos Gutierrez, an advisor to Mitt Romney on Latino outreach, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that anti-immigrant Republicans “scared the heck out of” the Latino voters that Romney’s campaign wanted to court: “The Hispanics I know were scared of the Republican party. I think it has to do with our incredibly ridiculous primary process where we force people to say outrageous things, they get nominated, and they have to come back.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told “Face the Nation” that GOP positions on immigration have “built a wall between the Republican Party and the Hispanic community.” He continued, “This is an odd formula for a party to adopt, the fastest growing demographic in the country, and we’re losing votes every election. It’s one thing to shoot yourself in the foot, just don’t reload the gun. I intend not to reload this gun when it comes to Hispanics. I intend to tear this wall down and pass an immigration reform bill that’s an American solution to an American problem.”
Former Republican Congressman Henry Bonilla (TX), talked to NPR about the impact of the Latino vote in last week’s election: ”I can’t imagine that if you’re a Republican and have any level of sanity left, that you did not feel this earthquake and want to do something about it before your whole political future craters.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told CBS’ “This Morning” that the GOP needs to understand that “the changing demographics in the country really necessitate an even bigger tent for the Republican Party…clearly we are losing important segments of that electorate and what we have to do is to appeal to those people not as identity groups but understanding that if you can get the identity issue out of the way, then you can appeal on the broader issues that all Americans share a concern for.”
Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said on the “Today” show that immigration reform is just good policy: “We not only need Ph.Ds in science and technology, we need skilled workers and we need unskilled workers. And we need to have an immigration policy that is good economic policy, and then — and then the politics will take care of itself.”
Even Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) said on “12 News Sunday Square” in Arizona that the Republicans’ push for immigration reform would be “fine and dandy” with her—before her spokesman Matt Benson later clarified that Brewer still believes securing the border should come before reform.