After Mitt Romney's loss in the 2012 presidential election, the GOP acknowledged it needed to change its stance on immigration and Hispanic outreach. But conservative media figures lashed out at Jeb Bush after he expressed compassion for undocumented immigrants.
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GOP Report After 2012 Presidential Election Loss Called For Better Hispanic Outreach
GOP Report Calls For Backing Comprehensive Immigration Reform And Better Outreach To Hispanic Community. After Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential election loss, the Republican National Committee released a report called the "Growth & Opportunity Project" detailing areas the GOP needed to improve on in order to win national elections. In a section on reaching out to the Hispanic community, the report said:
If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn't want them in the United States, they won't pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn't matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party's position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.
On issues like immigration, the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community. Message development is critical to Hispanic voters. [GOP.com, accessed 4/8/14]
Former Republican Governor Of Florida Jeb Bush Expresses Compassion For Undocumented Immigrants
Bush: Coming Into The Country Illegally Is "Not A Felony" But "An Act Of Love." In an interview with Fox's Shannon Bream at the George H.W. Bush presidential library, Jeb Bush spoke about immigration reform, saying immigrants entering the country illegally were often doing so as "an act of love":
"A great country ought to know where those folks are and politely ask them to leave," he said, adding later that properly targeting people who overstay visas "would restore people's confidence" in the nation's immigration system.
But most people who illegally enter the United States do so "because they couldn't come legally, they come to our country because their families -- the dad who loved their children -- was worried that their children didn't have food on the table," Bush said. "And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn't rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families." [The Washington Post, 4/6/14]
Jeb Bush's Comments on Immigration Spark Backlash From Right-Wing Media
Mark Levin: Jeb Bush Is "The Dumbest Of The Bushes." On the April 7 edition of his show, Mark Levin attacked Jeb Bush, saying "People say Jeb Bush is the brightest Bush. I'm starting to think he's the dumbest of the Bushes. Oh no, not because he's honest. No, because his ideas when it comes to immigration are stupid." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 4/7/14]
Fox's Gutfeld: "You Know What Else Is An Act Of Love For Your Country ... Respect For An Actual Border." In a discussion about Jeb Bush's immigration comments, co-host Greg Gutfeld of Fox's The Five said on the April 7 edition of the show, "You know what else is an act of love for your country, is a respect for an actual border. That's love for your country." [Fox News, The Five, 4/7/14]
Krauthammer: Bush's Comments On Undocumented Immigrants "Kind Of Bizarre." On the April 7 edition of Fox's Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer took issue with Bush's comments on undocumented immigrants, saying "That statement he made about illegal immigrants ... is kind of bizarre." He later added, "I don't think he's going to be as well-received as he hopes" in 2016. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 4/7/14]
Karl Rove: Bush's Comments Were "Inartful." On the April 8 edition of Fox's America's Newsroom, Fox contributor Karl Rove called Jeb Bush's comments on immigration "inartful," and said "he hasn't been a candidate in a while, and it showed in his comments on Sunday." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 4/8/14]
Laura Ingraham: People Who Rob Banks Do It Out Of Love, Too. On the April 7 edition of her radio show, Fox contributor Laura Ingraham said of Jeb Bush's comments:
INGRAHAM: People do all sorts of things out of love, right? I would imagine there are a lot of people who steal, do it out of love. I would imagine that -- you could probably find a bunch of people who rob banks, who if you put them in a room they probably say, well, I can't make money, my wife is on me, my mother needed this, how am I going to make a living? I love my family, I want to support them. There is a lot of things you do out of love that are probably not in the societal interest. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 4/7/14]
Michelle Malkin Creates Twitter Hashtag: #CancelJebBush. Conservative author and columnist Michelle Malkin warned that Jeb Bush is "pro-amnesty" and created the hashtag #CancelJebBush on Twitter: