Reaction to Newt Gingrich’s performance at the November 22nd GOP presidential debate continued to play out on conservative talk radio this weekend.
“If you’ve been here 25 years and you’ve got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out,” Gingrich argued last Tuesday night.
Kudlow embraces Gingrich
A former Associate Director in President Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget, Larry Kudlow has long been at odds with the Republican Party on immigration reform.
Using his Saturday morning radio program as a platform, Kudlow took the opportunity to criticize the GOP grassroots on November 26th.
Airing on New York’s WABC 770 AM from 10AM to 1PM, Larry Kudlow was ecstatic with Gingrich’s debate performance, fawning, “I love the quote from Gingrich. I love the quote. This could be a turning point quote.”
“This should forever end the Republican obsession on the far right restrictive immigration policy of deporting fifteen million people,” Kudlow insisted while speaking with Robert Costa of National Review, CNBC contributor Jimmy Pethokoukis, and John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics.
Costa affirmed Kudlow’s enthusiasm, commenting, “When he went out on a limb on immigration and made a humane gesture to all Americans…he showed the entire GOP electorate that he was going to take bold positions.”
“He wasn’t going to care about what every single conservative block thought. And I think he’s taken the right position.” the National Review writer concluded.
McIntyre concurred, indicating he believed Gingrich’s show of leadership on the issue would ultimately help his candidacy.
2012 vs. 2008
The politicos also highlighted Romney’s use of illegal immigration to weaken presidential rivals Mike Huckabee, Rudy Guillana, and John McCain during the 2008 GOP primary.
“Because they had very similar positions – and they had the same positions that Gingrich has and Perry has – it didn’t go anywhere. But this is the first time in a debate where someone was able to articulate the anti-Tancredo position.” John McIntyre explained while faulting Texas Governor Rick Perry’s inability to defend his opinion on in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants.
Jimmy Pethokoukis declined to contradict the consensus of Kudlow’s Money/Politics panel.
However, he underscored Romney’s investment of greater resources in Iowa as a sign that the former Massachusetts governor believed he could gain traction on the issue.
Pethokoukis intimated Romney would blunt Gingrich’s recent momentum in the Hawkeye State – despite the former House speaker’s strong communication skills.
Parrying better than Perry
To be sure, the GOP establishment remains wary of engaging Democrats on illegal immigration. And most conversations on the AM Dial were far less complimentary of Gingrich’s performance at the GOP foreign policy debate last Tuesday night.
Though on balance Kudlow’s Money/Politics panel seemed overly optimistic in their political prognostications, it’s probably correct that Gingrich’s oratorical abilities leave the former House speaker better equipped to rejoin attacks than Rick Perry.
Part II of “Larry Kudlow supports Gingrich on immigration; others not so sure” is available here
Follow John Goodman on Twitter @ Literalville here
A free podcast of the Larry Kudlow Show is available here. The Money/Politics segment appears at the end of the podcast
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