Already Republican calls to reexamine and potentially modify the 14th amendment have gone from the fringe of the party to the mainstream, with no less than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsing such efforts.
But if another illustration is needed to prove that amending the 14th amendment is firmly part of the GOP platform, it came Monday morning when New Hampshire Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte strongly hinted that she too favors looking into the issue.
A Democratic source passed on video of Ayotte from a meet-and-greet in Nashua this morning in which she raised concerns about border security, health care abuse among immigrants and (implicitly) the reach and effect of birthright citizenship.
Woman: Is there ever going to be a chance of rewriting that 14th amendment or rewording it so that they have to be legal citizens?
Ayotte: Well, I know that there's a number of proposals that are being brought forward right now to look at that issue. And I think that we should. Because one of the issues is we have to, obviously, when we look at our Constitution, if we're going to propose any changes to it we have to be very thoughtful and careful about that because it's a great document. But that said, we have people who are coming here just to become, to get healthcare and then leave. And they're not even being part of our society and there's something wrong with that. But fundamentally, I think the best thing we can do right now is secure our borders, enforce our existing immigration laws and English is the language of our country.
Ayotte, who went on to endorse Arizona's contested immigration law, isn't the first Republican candidate for office to support looking into changing the 14th amendment (and, to be sure, her wording is a bit garbled in the above remark). Kentucky Republican Rand Paul has offered full support for ending birthright citizenship (in which the children of illegal immigrants born in America automatically become U.S. citizens). So too have Colorado Senate candidate Jane Norton, Arkansas Republican John Boozman and Utah Republican candidate Mike Lee.
But Ayotte isn't Norton, Paul, Boozeman or Lee. If anything, she has been billed as a moderate Republican -- someone who would fit naturally alongside other New England GOPers. So her talk about birthright citizenship repeal (even if it constituted just flirting with the proposition) is notable for what it says about where the Republican Party is going.
The Ayotte campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.