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Romney Reverses Course on Immigration in Speech to Latino Officials

In a 20-minute speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Tampa, Florida, yesterday, Mitt Romney shook the Etch-A-Sketch and laid out his conditions for allowing illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. His proposal differs from President Obama's in that he would require a graduate degree whereas Obama's requires only a high school diploma. Both plans allow illegal aliens who have served in the Armed Forces to stay in the cointry.

What is remarkable about Romney's plan is not the details, but the 180-degree turn it represents from what he has been saying up to now, namely, that all illegal aliens should self deport. By making such an abrupt change in policy--which is surely going to lead to Obama making TV ads showing him flip flopping--Romney is showing that at least trying to win Latino-heavy states like Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida is worth the flack he is sure to get from the nativist wing of his base. It is also shows that Obama's decision not to deport about 800,000 illegal aliens who were brought to the U.S. as children struck a raw nerve.

Romney Sees Path to Victory Running Through the Midwest

Romney's bus tour through the Midwest in no accident. He probably sensed that today's speech notwithstanding, winning the western swing states (Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico) was going to be rough, so he is focusing on the Midwest, which is full of culturally conservative, older, white Reagan Democrats. The Midwest is also home to four potential Veep candidates: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, and Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN).

Despite a demographically friendly climate, Romney faces some challenges in the Midwest, especially in Michigan and Ohio, where his "Let Detroit go bankrupt" op-ed is going to haunt him now that the economies of those states are starting to improve, in no small part to the bailout of the auto companies. Nevertheless, he has to wage the ground war somewhere, and the Midwest is probably as good a place as any for him.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Florida 46% 42%   Jun 12 Jun 18 Quinnipiac U.
Michigan 47% 46%   Jun 18 Jun 18 Mitchell Research
New Hampshire 48% 43%   Jun 20 Jun 20 Rasmussen

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Florida Bill Nelson 43% Connie McGillicuddy 39%     Jun 12 Jun 18 Quinnipiac U.