Romney to push anti-illegal-immigration stance after debate

Mitt Romney's campaign has invited a trio of anti-illegal-immigration advocates to act as surrogates in the spin room after Monday's debate in South Carolina, according to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), one of the surrogates.

Kobach is best known for helping Arizona lawmakers to write a controversial anti-illegal-immigration bill that has since been adopted in other states — including South Carolina.

He said he will be joined by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has said all illegal immigrants should be deported and won his seat by hammering then-Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) for supporting amnesty for undocumented immigrants, and Bay Buchanan, a longtime conservative activist who was a senior adviser on former Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-Colo.) 2008 presidential campaign. All three have endorsed Romney.

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"The governor’s campaign has asked me to be a surrogate with him to represent him in the spin room after tonight's debate," Kobach told The Hill after clarifying that he would not be speaking at an event with Romney on Monday, as he had earlier indicated. "There will be a couple of his endorsers here — Bay Buchanan and Jason Chaffetz."

Romney's campaign did not respond to requests to confirm their selections, or for the full list of surrogates who would represent the candidate after the Monday night debate.

The former Massachusetts governor has led in recent polls in South Carolina, and if he wins the state many believe the nomination process is all but over. While many conservatives question whether Romney is as conservative as the other candidates in the field, he has positioned himself to the right of both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry on immigration. Kobach said on Friday that he would stress Romney's immigration positions while in South Carolina.


"Gingrich and Perry, with their pro-amnesty positions, are not acceptable on their issues to me or the vast majority of Republicans," Kobach told The Hill on Friday. "All of the other candidates stand to the left of Romney on immigration."

The issue could help Romney in South Carolina, a state with many blue-collar workers that passed a strong anti-immigration law similar to Arizona's that the federal government has sought to block. But the topic could hurt Romney with Hispanic voters in the general election. Democrats have been hammering him for accepting Kobach's endorsement, and Somos Republicans, a Hispanic Republican group that endorsed Gingrich Monday, also blasted him for the move.