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POLITICS: PennAve

GOP gaffe muddies message on immigration

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Beltway Confidential,Immigration,Senate,Republican Party,PennAve,Tim Mak,Gaffes

An interesting quote from National Republican Senate Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring Thursday morning in The Hill: Asked if support for the Senate immigration bill would be a net positive or negative for vulnerable red-state Democrats, he said this:

"It's just another sign that even vulnerable Democrats like Landrieu, Begich, Hagan and Pryor are more loyal to Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama than they are to middle-class men and women struggling in their home states."

The problem: What about Republicans supporting the immigration bill? Couldn't that same criticism — that a yes vote demonstrates an allegiance to national party leaders over constitutents — be extended to GOP senators who support ongoing immigration reform efforts, especially in states where public opinion is mixed on the issue?

The question was muddled further by the story, which suggested more broadly that Republicans were targeting red-state Democrats who support immigration reform.

Dayspring tells the Washington Examiner that the quote was placed a "bit out of context," and that he was neither asked about targeting any member on the immigration vote, nor about NRSC efforts related to the vote on immigration reform.

"The question wasn't about the national implications of immigration legislation — it was about individual and specific senators," Dayspring said.

Someone like Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., would be going against popular opinion in his state if he voted for comprehensive immigration reform, he argued, while Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be representing his constituents in Florida if he supported it.

The polling on support for immigration reform is often inconclusive: A Public Policy Polling poll in June showed that 67 percent of Arkansans support comprehensive immigration reform; another by Pulse Opinion Research found 60 percent opposed the bill before the Senate.

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