Mitt Romney told high-profile potential donors and supporters last week that he's aware he could sound like a "flip-flopper" on immigration, which is why he's dancing around the issue, according to a report out Monday by Politico's Maggie Haberman.
He told the group of 40 to 50 people that he understood the Hispanic vote was important, according to Politico, citing the fact that his son speaks Spanish and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is Cuban, is campaigning for him. But sources told the publication that Romney reportedly insisted he won't contradict the immigration views he expressed during the primary.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was present at the meeting and challenged Romney on immigration, Politico reported. He's not a big fan of the candidate, according to his Twitter, where he's written that he has not donated to Romney and criticized him for attempting to be uncontroversial.
"When is Romney going to look like a challenger?" he tweeted June 24, a few days after Romney delivered a major speech on immigration. "Seems to play everything safe, make no news except burn off Hispanics."
Politico reported that at the meeting, Univision President Randy Falco told Romney he needed to address President Barack Obama's recent immigration directive, which will allow some undocumented young people to stay in the United States temporarily without fear of deportation.
Romney has evaded the question of whether he would reverse the decision, instead insisting he wants a long-term solution -- refusing to say what would happen to undocumented immigrants until he could pass a comprehensive reform bill.
He has also stopped speaking about some of the hardline stances on immigration that he took in the Republican primary, when he said undocumented immigrants should be driven out or "self-deported" through policies that made it difficult for them to live in the United States.
Romney and his campaign repeatedly failed to give a straight answer to the press on whether he supported Arizona immigration law S.B. 1070, some provisions of which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional last week. He is in a tricky situation: trying to woo Latino voters, who largely support immigration reform and oppose the Arizona law, while attempting to avoid contradicting his past statements.
Murdoch asked Romney at the meeting about his plan, Haberman writes:
Murdoch chimed in, three sources said, telling the candidate, "You have to take the fight to Obama on this." Romney said the Hispanic vote is important, noting he has Sen. Marco Rubio on the trail for him and that one of his own sons speaks Spanish, but indicated he is not going to change positions from some of what he said in the primaries.
"I know I took some positions in the primary that are" hard to contend with in a general, Romney said, according to two sources.
"I am not going to be a flip-flopper," he added, according to one guest. He talked more about the various concerns that he has to balance in terms of competing constituencies who have different views - and noted, two sources said, the precise percentage that Hispanic voters make up in the swing states, a figure that was less than 20 percent.