At the beginning of the Wolf Blitzer-moderated CNN debate in Florida, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich sparred for a solid 10 minutes on immigration, a subject of great importance to Florida’s large Hispanic community. Romney took Gingrich to task for advertisement labeling him “anti-immigrant,” which Gingrich’s campaign has withdrawn. Romney said he’s very much pro-immigration, but only when it’s legal. Romney took the opportunity to mention his family’s immigrants, his father from Mexico and his wife’s mother from Wales, and won the high ground with the audience. At a loss for a condescending remark or a clever way to spin Romney’s position, Newt actually asked Romney to “self-describe” his stance on immigration, allowing Romney to launch back into his position as being in favor of legal immigration.
Finally Gingrich got his bearings and went after Romney for claiming in a radio ad that in in 2007, Gingrich said that the Spanish language is “the language of the ghetto.” Gingrich’s full quote: “We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.”
Romney denied knowledge of the radio ad. But then Wolf Blitzer handed Newt a small victory by advising Romney that he indeed should be aware of the clip because at the end of the ad he said “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.” He said it en español.
Romney still dominated the exchange but the Blitzer moment allowed Gingrich to land one blow in the round. Here it is.