Mitt Romney criticized Newt Gingrich’s positions on the judiciary and immigration during an early morning campaign stop in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
The front runner in New Hampshire, Romney made a short trip to the Granite State, visiting a Londonderry eatery for breakfast and a sandwich shop in the seacoast city of Portsmouth for lunch before flying to Iowa. U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, who endorsed Romney back in November, was with him for both New Hampshire whistlestops.
A Boston Globe poll released on Christmas revealed that Romney was the favorite of 39% of repondents. Gingrich, who was endorsed by the Union Leader, the only state-wide newspaper in New Hampshire, was tied for second with Ron Paul at 17%.
Despite being ahead in the polls, the quick trip showed Romney wasn’t taking the Granite State for granted.
At Londonderry’s Coach Stop restaurant, Romney addressed a crowd of over 100 supporters and onlookers who flowed out of the dining room, Wearing an American flag pin on the left lapel of his jacket, Romney attacked President Obama for having a very different view of America than his own “patriot dream.”
Despite his harsh criticism of the Democratic President, Romney promised he would govern in a bipartisan way if elected.
For four years, Romney for served as governor of next-door neighbor Massachusetts, where he had to deal with a Democrat-dominated legislature. He owns a summer home in New Hampshire
Taking questions from the crowd, Romney articulated an immigration policy that contrasted with Gingrich’s more liberal stand.
He promised to secure the borders, then implement a system to identify illegal aliens and deny them employment.
After returning to their home countries, illegal aliens would have to apply for residency permits to return to the United Stats. They would not be shown any favoritism for having lived here, but would have to go to the end of the line behind those who have already filed their applications.
Romney also denounced Gingrich’s controversial plan of cracking down on liberal federal judges by subpoenaing them to appear before Congress. Gingrich has disputed the long settled notion that the judiciary branch has the authority to interpret the Constitution and has proposed removing judges who issue unpopular decisions.
Gingrich told Bob Scheiffer on Face the Nation that the president and Congress should be able to nullify court decisions they disagree with, as two out of the three constitutionally mandated branches of government should be able to overrule the one.
As president, Gingrich said he would use federal marashals to haul recalcitrant judges before Congress to explain their controversial decisions. He advocated impeaching and removing judges who were at odds with Congress and the president.
Romney stood up for the current constitutional system, in which the Supreme Court defines the law of the land.
“We have to have justices who strictly interpret the Constitution,” Romney told the crowd. “I want justices who follow the Constitution.”
“What I don’t want is to say we’re going to create the supreme branch of the government, known as the Congress.”
Subpoenaing judges “to come in and explain their rulings or potentially remove justices” would create “a super branch known as the Congress” which woud violate the balance of powers created by the Founding Fathers.
“We have a balance of power in the Constitution,” Romney explained. “We don’t want one branch or even the president to assume power above the other branches.”
Reminding the crowd that the Democrats would one day return to power, Romney said that Gingrich’s plan would enable a Democratic president and Congress to strike down laws of a conservative court that they didn’t like.
The correct means to ensure the proper interpretation of the law was to put the right kind of justices on the High Ccourt.
“I think the right thing to do is to appoint people with the capacity, the wisdom, and the judgment to the Supreme Court to follow the Constitution and if I’m President I will do just that.”