The Republican National Committee attempted to walk back a potentially bruising, botched response Tuesday after an official said Mitt Romney is still making up his mind on immigration.

"As a candidate, to my understanding, he's still deciding what his position on immigration is," said Bettina Inclan, the Republican National Committee's (RNC) director of Hispanic outreach.

ADVERTISEMENT
Inclan was speaking at an RNC event unveiling six new regional staffers who will direct Hispanic outreach in swing states. But asked how the RNC will speak with Hispanic voters about immigration, Inclan said she couldn't speak about what policies GOP candidates would put forth.

"He's talked about different issues," she said of Romney. "There's a very diverse opinion on how to deal with immigration."

During the GOP primary, Romney tacked to the right on immigration. He embraced parts of Arizona's controversial immigration crackdown, vowed to veto the DREAM Act path to citizenship (though he later said he'd make an exception for the military service portion) and spoke of "self-deportation" as the solution to the millions of illegal immigrants who are living in the United States.

A Fox News poll released in March showed that Hispanic voters prefer President Obama to a GOP candidate 6-to-1.

Inclan said Hispanics are disappointed with Obama's lack of progress on immigration, saying that the election would be a referendum on Obama's record.

"The reality is this president has deported more Hispanics than any president in American history," Inclan said.

Within minutes, as Inclan's comments started spreading on Twitter, RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski stepped in and said Inclan's comments had been misconstrued.

"We never said the governor is still deciding on immigration," Kukowski said. "I want to make sure we are exponentially clear."

Kukowski said the RNC only started the transition to joint operations with Romney's campaign within the past few weeks, and that the RNC's task is to perform voter outreach and get-out-the-vote efforts, not to talk specific policy.

"We are going to be able to talk about Mitt Romney's position. Right now what we are here to talk about is what our outreach effort is going to be," she said.

Inclan took to Twitter after the event to correct the record.

"I misspoke, Romney's position on immigration is clear," she said, appending a link to a page on Romney's campaign website dealing with immigration reform.

Romney's campaign declined to comment, but referred to the website for question on Romney's immigration policies.

The incident was also risky for Romney because it played into a narrative pushed by Romney's opponents that he alters his positions to please the electorate.

Obama's reelection campaign called Romney "the most extreme presidential candidate in modern history on immigration," and said Hispanics and other Americans had heard his positions clearly during the primary.

"His position may be inconvenient, but it has been clear," Obama spokeswoman Gabriela Domenzain said.

— Posted at 12:04 p.m. and has been updated.