From NBC/NJ's Erin McPike
Romney has been upping the ante recently against his top rivals on immigration policy this morning, outlining on Laura Ingraham's show his differences with Giuliani and Thompson on the issue.
After his recent focus on fiscal issues, having spent the majority of October touting his record on taxes and spending, Romney's recent criticisms of his rivals -- including Giuliani, Thompson, McCain and Huckabee -- have centered on their records on illegal immigration.
Speaking to Ingraham this morning, Romney reiterated his accusation that Giuliani turned the Big Apple into a "sanctuary city" while serving as mayor. He also was asked to draw out his distinctions with Thompson, who has been using much the same language about the issue on the trail recently.
Romney suggested that while it's "fine" that Thompson has adopted a similar position, he was wrong to misconstrue the former governor's stance. Romney explained that he never supported Bush's plan for comprehensive immigration reform, and he has made clear that the topic is a key area where he opposes the president. He was an aggressor in stating that he campaigned on securing the borders in his failed Senate run in 1994, but Thompson, who was elected that year, doesn't have a strong record on the issue. He directed Ingraham to his own record later as governor.
Romney has also gone on the offensive recently against both Huckabee and McCain over immigration. Asked last Thursday how he would work with an "out of touch" Democratic Congress in accomplishing what the public really wants, he pointed to the comprehensive immigration legislation that McCain championed and the public outcry that in effect helped defeat the bill as a way to show the senator was wrong on the matter.
On the stump in Iowa the next day, he inserted his own record as governor in opposing in-state tuition breaks to contrast with Huckabee's support for the same measure as governor of Arkansas, telling the audience that Huckabee was wrong, and that's a major difference between the two.