September 20, 2012 at 10:56 am
In an attempt to blunt the damage caused by his “47 percent” remarks, Mitt Romney repeatedly insisted Wednesday that he is running to represent “100 percent” of Americans.
Speaking at a Univision forum in Miami, Romney sounded a softer tone in explaining comments he made in May– captured on a hidden video and released this week—suggesting that 47 percent of Americans are government-dependent “victims.”
“My campaign is about the 100 percent of America. And I’m concerned about them,” Romney said. “I’m concerned about the fact that over the last four years life has become harder for Americans.”
During the Spanish language forum, Romney struck a more moderate tone when asked about his positions on immigration and healthcare.
Romney, who said during the primary that he would rely on “self-deportation” to reduce the numbers of illegal immigrants in the country, explained he has no intention of “rounding up” the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants thought to be here illegally.
“I said I’m not in favor of a deportation, a mass deportation effort rounding up 12 million people and kicking them out of the country,” Romney said. “I believe people make their own choices as to whether they want to go home and that’s what I mean by self-deportation. People decide if they want to go back to the country of their origin and get in line legally to be able to come to this country.”
As he has done in the past, Romney said he would favor a GOP alternative to the DREAM Act like the one Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was advocating earlier this year.
”The ideas that were being brought forth by Sen. Marco Rubio, those are things that should have been pursued,” Romney said.
Rubio advocated a proposal that would let illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children gain legal status, but not citizenship. The Florida senator dropped the plan following President Obama’s June executive order, which suspended deportations of those who came here as children of illegal immigrants and are students or serve in the military.
Romney also kept up his attack on Obama for failing to pursue comprehensive immigration legislation during his first year in office as the president promised during his 2008 campaign.
“He never tried to fix the immigration system,” Romney said. “I will actually reform the immigration system and make it work for the people of America.”
Romney sidestepped a question on the Arizona measure, which requires law enforcement officials to question the status of someone suspected of being here illegally.
“The reason there is an Arizona law, is because the federal government and specifically President Obama didn’t solve the immigration problem when he came into office, “ he said. “And so states are doing their best to try and solve it state by state and each state tries to solve it in their own way, but the right answer is ultimately to have a federal solution to make sure we have a robust and active legal immigration system, that we stop illegal immigration.”
When asked how he felt about the president calling him “the grandfather” of Obamacare, Romney said, “I don’t think he meant that as a compliment, but I’ll take it.”
Romney went on to tout the law he passed in Massachusetts, which many see as the basis of the Affordable Care Act.
“I’ve actually been able to put in place a system that fit the needs of the people in my state. And I’m proud of the fact that in my state, after our plan was put in place, every child has insurance, 98% of adults have insurance,” Romney said.
Romney also sounded a more moderate tone when asked about gay marriage, pointing out benefits that should be afforded to same-sex couples.
“I would like to have the term marriage continue to be associated with a relationship between one man and one woman, and that certainly doesn’t prevent two people of the same gender living in a loving relationship together having gay domestic partnership, if you will,”Romney said. “I can see rights such as hospital visitation rights and similar types of things being provided to those individuals.”
Univision will host Obama in a similar forum this afternoon.